• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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You Don’t Look Different But You Have Changed

I went to Whitlock’s over the weekend. It’s a converted chicken coop and barn that’s home to thousands of used books. The floors slant, the books are full of dust, the people who work there use pencils and brown bags to tally your purchase, and on the counter by the door is a hen-shaped candy dish made of milk glass that holds slightly stale gum drops. The place was my sanctuary when I was in high school, and it’s where I found many books that would shape me. It was up for sale a few years ago and I dreamed of buying it, and began worrying about the slanting roof and floors as if I’d already owned it. It’s only one of my escape fantasies. Thought probably the best or at least right up there with becoming a powerful Hollywood screenwriter and living at the Chateau and hiring twins in matching stewardess outfits with their own fold away dancers’ poles.

What’s yours?

53 Responses

  1. Mine is to get my stupid back operated on so I can drive again, and go back to drifting around this beautiful country in the tiny little bus I’ve built my home in.
    It’s 20 feet long by 6 feet wide, has everything I need to live happily in it, and Australia is one beautiful backyard.
    Sometimes people ask what I’m running away from, and I feel sorry for them, because they don’t understand that I’m actually running towards what matters… not away.

    • Goodonya, Harry. Hope it all happens, and soon.

      • Thanks Frank. I’m not too good out on the water, but I love hearing little bits about your life, because I know how you feel. You’re a free man, and you’re living a life, not giving real life away to keep up the appearance of one.
        We float and dream, and sometimes melt, the hard edges of us blurring into the fine substance of what’s real, all around us. Home.

  2. Before it was tragically converted into condos, I also had an escape fantasy that included a building. A grand 1840s-era townhouse with a balcony built over a porte-cochere that opened into a deep, paved courtyard flanked on one side with a three-story dependancy. For years, it sat, derelict yet dignified, across the street from a property I managed. While I was on hold with a call, I’d sketch out my ideas for the floor plans. Many nights, rather than “counting sheep”, I’d mentally list all the repairs and improvements, the color schemes, the clever parties I’d host in the room that opened onto the balcony, the fountain and pots of flowers I would install in the courtyard. Exhausted from tallying the cost of such a project, I was always guaranteed a good night’s sleep.

    Alas, the developer who purchased the property had much more money than imagination. I’ve never seen one person on that balcony and the porte-cochere was closed off to be used as an equipment room. The building is now restored, but it seems to no longer have a soul. Meanwhile, I’ve kept all my sketches. Sometimes dreams will eventually come true.

  3. Living in the bell towers of Notre Dame.

  4. not havin to work for a livin no mor

    though i should be careful what i wish for cuz i could like die right now and then i wouldn’t have to work for a livin no mor

  5. Mine? Leaving my material self behind to live a year of self actualization. Taking pictures and writing. Writing some more. Tiny apartments, Hradcany castle, the edge of the Earth. But it’s not a dream. I’m doing it. Two months and counting.

  6. Holy shit Betsy, that so weird because I spent the weekend at Whitlock’s separated-at-birth B&B. http://www.millinn.com/.

    We stayed in the Romance Suite, soaked in the pool-sized hot tub, and had their 7-course breakfast all for the discounted rate of $100 because we paid in cash.

    My escape fantasy used to be to own a horse farm and have six kids. I got halfway there–three kids and a hot-spring fed RV park in the Oregon desert (I divorced out of that nightmare, thank god–the RV park, not the kids).

    My current escape fantasy is pretty close to the pole-dancing twin one. I really wish I’d been born into the leisure class, but barring that, I’ll take a NY Times bestseller and a cottage in Provence.

  7. Oh just Paris, always has been. Can’t decide which neighbourhood. Bohemian or opulent, cramped or vast, dunno.

    • You can have Bohemian AND opulent there. You need some sort of shelter for the garbage strikes…

  8. An apartment overlooking the Thames – preferably as near to the Houses of Parliament I can get – maybe on the Albert Embankment. It’s so beautiful there. The apartment would have one long wall of glass so I can watch life unfolding on the river – little boats scudding by, ferries taking Londoners to their daily grind, and the lights from the gothic buildings and ornate street lamps twinkling into the night. Lovely. And I would write…and write…and write.

  9. same as yours screenwriter chateau marmont twins but in catholic school girl uniforms. Japanese one week, idaho blond the next.

    but bubbele there’s no such thing as “a powerful hollywood screenwriter.” so let’s start over. Keep it simple. A Pulitzer and a blow job.

  10. Witness Protection–but I’m not sure I could be that lucky.

  11. A small dream, but it’s happening this week- 110 miles down a river, with no towns, few people, lots of life. Sleeping on sandbars, or on a boat I helped bring to life, maybe finding shards of ancient pottery.Cold beer and fresh seafood at the other end.

    All the comforts of heart.

  12. 8am- 3pm Monday-Friday, minus the holidays.

    • Make it a 7am-3pm day job so the full-time perks kick in and this works for me.

    • This block of time was my dream a few years back. I used to crave peace, quiet and solitude like a starving person. And school vacations were the worst, esp. February. They do grow up at some point. You will have time to yourself again.

  13. Lately, at my advancing age, it’s owning a penthouse apartment in a civilized American city that has a library and an excellent grocery store on the same block. Although with Amazon.com selling everything under the sun and Fed Ex delivering it, I guess I’ll continue to shelter in place until my house falls down. I wish I had a dog, though.

  14. A year at the end of the world: Capt. Jack’s Wharf, Provincetown, MA, back in the day. My mom took me there on her escape jaunt in the 70’s when it was a hippie enclave. Now, it’s still funky but it’s gone condo. I still dream about the ocean beneath our floorboards, the faded india curtains, the scent of weed and other herbs. My mom, happy and almost carefree. She died in my 20’s but at least she had this.

  15. I used to run a rinky dink golf course in the mountains, 18 holes, back nine built in 1895. If you watched the Masters, this course looked nothing like that, but it had character, was a lot of fun and some of the members were women. Alas, the property (golf course, 4 mile long lake and hundreds of wooded acres) is owned by a multi-national corporation who care little for golf history — a course built in 1895 was one of the earliest in this country–and apparently have more money than sense. They raised the price of the lease until we no longer could afford it (nor could anyone else) and now the old course is fallow. After 8 years, shrubby trees are growing on the fairways and the tee boxes and greens are lush with wild raspberries, tangled weeds, mullein plants and some long, hardy strands of bentgrass. I’ve gone out strolling the course with my 7 iron and a half dozen balls, but it’s just not the same. I even mowed and maintained a secluded par 5 for a few seasons, but evenutually other obligations and responsibilities demanded the time I gave to this hobby.
    I would love to bring that old course back to life.

    • Mike, that’s a worthy dream, for sure. Good for you for taking care of that patch.

      I’m not a golfer, but appreciate the fact that they are are haven, often where there are few places left for wildlife. It’s also very cool that lots of courses in Florida us greywater, reducing the demand for treated water, and keeping it out of the bays.

      Good luck, and here’s to dreams.

      • Watched the Masters yesterday, loved that Bubba won. The guy is a natural with a ball and stick.

      • Thanks, Frank. We didn’t use pesticides, which is a rarity in the unnaturally green United States golf world. I kept the greens pretty lush with an organic turkey shit fertilizer. Worked well and stinked to high heaven after a rain or sprinkler session. Golf courses are often the only contact people have with the natural world. Also probably the only places left where you can drink and drive, even if it’s in a gas or electric powered Flintstone type car.
        I agree with you WryWryter, Bubba is a natural. He was determined and agressive, but at the same time seemed to be having a lot of fun. I just wish he wasn’t wearing that silly Good Humor/Man from Glade white outfit and I hope he’s done hugging everybody by now.

  16. I want to be holding quad Kings against a Royal Straight Flush at the Borgada in Atlantic City with the Bad Beat jackpot at one million dollars so I can, for once, win by losing.

  17. This is my fourth attempt to send this. It gave me time to edit but I think I’m being shunned.

    My top ten ‘My Fair Lady’
    Wouldn’t it be ‘loverly’ fantasy escape list, (in order):

    1. Oscar winning screenplay, (I get to make the speech)
    2. Ranch at the base of the Tetons
    3. Pulitzer
    4. Huge house on Long Island Sound
    5. Movie
    6. Book
    7. Column
    8. Article
    9. Legal Pad and sharp pencil
    10. Indoor Plumbing

    I am ALMOST half-way up the list to my goal. Seeing that the bulk of my years, and my ass, are behind me means I’ve got to get crackin’. Yes, that was a Monday morning ass-crack comment.

  18. Is a wise crack a smart ass? Gosh, there’s just so much to think about.

  19. I’d kind of like for my stuff to be read and for people to maybe want to read more of it.

  20. Well, off the top of my head, the house where Diane Keaton lives in “Something’s Got to Give.” But that sounds pedestrian next to Paris. So, the house, plus the ability to get to Paris, regularmente.

  21. I am invited by George Clooney to write THE screenplay in his Italian Villa. He acts in the movie and we both win Oscars. That’s it for real, I have spoken to Matt Lauer about it many times in my bathroom.

  22. My dream has always been to get out of Vegas and live in a rainy climate, surrounded by pine trees, with the ocean nearby and a vegetable garden in the backyard. The dream’s been alive for forty years and I’m two months away from seeing it realized.

    Oregon or bust, June 2012.

  23. My escape probably is best described as a long – a very long – nap.

  24. To build my house on my ridge at 7100 feet outside Santa Fe. The views, the skies, the smell of the pinon, the silence. I got as far as buying the land but I’m not sure I’ll make the rest of it come true. So occasionally I visit with my lawn chair.

  25. I want to see my book published.

    Sure, I’d like to be financially successful (I just want buy a couple pinball machines and go to Spain, the mountains, like Hemingway). Sure, I’ve thought of who would play who In a movie inspired by my book. I won’t say no to any of that, but I just want to see a published copy of it.

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