• 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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Life Used to Be So Hard

Photos slipped from their right angles, the ghostly glue a Rothko rectangle. A world in a shoebox. A balled up piece of waxy paper. A chewing gum chain. A postcard from a distant port. A coupon. A kiss. Diaries scrawled in a mad hand. A phone number. A book mark. A photo strip. A typed letter on lined yellow paper. From you.

What do you save ?

34 Responses

  1. Pebbles from the beach in Corsica this summer. Just to feel them.

  2. Odd flotsam from beaches.Boat gear, because you never know- shackles, cleats, halyards, bits and line, boar bristle brushes that come back like old friends, spreading thinned varnish in fine layers. Pictures, 35 millimeter and other formats, old black-and whites.

    Books, because they are books, because they are good, because they are great, because when I was reading it I met this person, or this happened, or didn’t. Books can be used, but rarely used up, and I find them hard to give up.

    I’ve missed you, Betsy and friends.

  3. Missed your jib too.

  4. I save books, photos, letters & cards, my diaries & writing. All the sentimental stuff.

    In the weird/morbid dept.: a few kids’ teeth, some of their hair, my cat’s ashes, my dead mother’s raincoat, holy water from Lourdes (collected by a dying friend,) a sugar cube from Cafe de Flore, Paris.

    I love my stuff.

  5. Cleaned out my closet last weekend; it’s a large walk-in catch-all. Three large black garbage bags, four full pillow cases, four file boxes and three huge piles of donations later, I found, among other things, eleven old purses, inside were wadded up tissues, a few Werthers and .62 cents, two out-of-style winter coats, in pockets wadded up tissues and a couple of Mento-liptus cough drops. There were three pair of flip flops that I never wore because they were too big and a pair of black dress shoes which were so big I stuffed the toes with tissues. And a light lavender Martha’s Vineyard zip-up hoodie, I haven’t worn in four years, guess what was in the pockets.
    So along with the many memories, the archeological dig into my closet evoked, is that for years I have been living under the assumption that my feet are bigger than they actually are I suffer from post nasal drip.

  6. Apparently, I’m holding on to this stupid head cold . . .

    But beyond that, a couple of dreams, a marriage, a 2005 Honda with low mileage and high dentage, the dubious idea that I can write a three paragraph synopsis without going insane . . . and a purseful of ancient receipts.

  7. I save all of the notes Mathair would leave me in my lunchbox. I was bullied really bad in high school and she would leave me notes of encouragement, like: “You are beautiful and I love you.” I have a huge drawer stock full of them. Mathair saves every story my brother and I have ever written for her/school/fun ect.

  8. “What do you save ?”

    Portals.

    Portals of glass fashioned, portals of cloth cut and sewn, portals of paper penciled or inked, portals of wood carved, portals of stone cut and polished.

    Portals all, each opening onto a vanished world.

  9. Drawings and little notes from my daughter, a long ago letter from my mother, pieces of driftwood washed by the rain and dried by the sun, a broken pipe from Nepal and coins from all over (my favorite is a lightning bolt Shazam! coin — a dirhin? — from Morocco); clothes that no longer fit and never will, a singing bowl and the stick to play it with bought from a Tibetan market, a prayer wheel and a thanka wove with golden thread and nibbled on by sacrilegious mice. Guitar picks made of old plastic. An old, faded blue sheet of note paper with the lyrics and chords to Hey Good Looking on one side and Truck Drivin’ Man on the other and transcribed in the improbably beautiful handwriting of my old rambling around buddy Johnny that somehow remained when my house was broken into and my guitar stolen. Must not have been a country loving thief. Pieces of garnet, chips of crystal quartz and a sizeable chunk of the Berlin wall. Old love letters and photos that bring me back and then forward to present day valentine, birthday and anniversary cards and drawings and notes from my daughter…

    • Oh, I’d kill for a sliver of the Berlin wall. As a little girl, that thing creeped me out.

      • It’s a piece of concrete. jagged on three irregular sides and smooth on the other, with just a bit of faded red/orange graffitti paint on it. I love what it is and what it represents, one of the greatest acts of freedom in the late 20th century.

      • Seriously.
        One of the greatest acts of freedom ever. Glad you treasure your memento, and thanks for the detailed description.

      • I was a kid in Germany when the wall went up and the cold war got colder. The Vopos and Stazi got meaner, so we heard, and people died in tunnels and on the wire. Years later, maybe 1987, I watched on TV as the wall came down, and I stood and cried.

        It was a great day.

      • About this time in 1989, I think, Frank. It’s a glorious feeling to cry with happiness.

      • I have a piece of the Berlin Wall too Mike. Being only 10 years old in 1989, I didn’t grasp the complete meaning of what was happening, but it was sent to me by a soldier to whom I had written a letter. The fact that a soldier had sent it and it was from another country was enough to make it important to me at that time.

        Mine is smooth on one side and rough on the other – all edges jagged and has a swipe of red on one side…it’s pretty small but has always captured my imagination of the stories it holds. If these walls could speak gains a whole new meaning.

      • That’s a great story, Jennine! You’re right — the stories that little piece of concrete could tell….

      • I was in Germany in 1990. Broken glass littered the ground around Checkpoint Charlie. The supermarkets in what was East Berlin were still sparse and quiet. Bars were still hidden from view. It was definitely a strange time.

  10. Very little.

  11. Vulgar jewelry design from the 1970s. Sara Coventry is my Goddess of Bad Taste.

  12. At the moment, I am attempting to save a small ember of happiness.

  13. Race results, medals, race t-shirts (collected enough to have the first haul sewn into a blanket) school report cards from my kids, their immunization records, all of the cards my husband has given me, the kid’s school pictures and all pictures in general and last, manuscripts.

    BUT, I wish I’d thought to save something from my dogs Bella and Kiwi. In my grief I purged my house of all their belongings – beds, bowls, toys, leashes… Regret, regret, regret. So, because I now only have memories and pictures, I still haven’t vacuumed the spot where I can see Bella’s footprints in the carpet – in a corner upstairs where she tucked herself to sleep sometimes. I also haven’t been able to bring myself to scrub up a small food stain from Kiwi. I wish I’d given myself time to think before I acted.

  14. I have always held on to many things. Anything that captured my attention at the time. Clothes that didn’t fit right, just in case. Knick knacks, fancy pens, blank journals, candles, any little thing I could make into a collection. Recently, such collections make me feel crowded. I did a sweep of my kitchen over the summer, where I got rid of only half of the strawberry decor, including some decorative shelving and I felt amazing in the new spaciousness. I’ve randomly gone through different parts of my house and cleaned out, taking things off to people with little kids (toys and clothes) or Goodwill.

    All I purposely keep now is my books.

    • Wow, you did the inside and outside of your house. This must have been one monumental summer. I’m jealous.

      • Lol, well the inside part has been more sporadic than the outside. (Speaking of the outside, we just stained our deck too 😉 Usually a room gets cleaned out because I walk in and suddenly feel like “Arghhhhhh, too much stuff!” And clean it out, out of stress.

  15. Autumn leaves in pink and gold, drying on the hearth.

  16. Rocks from walks. They rattle in my pocket.

  17. I save the tags from my youngest daughter’s clothing. I have to cut them off before she’ll wear anything. You could say she’s a sensitive type. I save them because they remind me that challenges come in all forms.

  18. My first communion prayer book.
    Memories too clear.

  19. I’m a tosser (of the throw-away variety, not the objectionable human sort). I inadvertently save the remnants of large-portioned takeout Indian food for months; singular pieces of paper-wrapped chewing gum for years. Purposefully but randomly, I’ve saved samplings from my children’s art class portfolios, love notes from my husband scrawled across punny cards, and recipes written by my grandmother’s blue pen.

  20. String. Though sometimes it’s too short to be
    saved.

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