• 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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It’s Not Time To Make a Change

metal20suit20hangerToday was a double-header. A reading in the morning and  the evening. That’s a lot of Bridge and Betsy. I’m chillin’ now with MSNBC in an overly warm hotel room in Fort Lauderdale. No mini bar. I love the ladies who turn out for these events. They’re major readers and book buyers. It’s easy to make them laugh. They come with their stories of daughters who don’t talk to them, mothers who criticized.They ask a lot of the same questions: what does my mother think; has my daughter read the book, how long did it take to write? Are you working something else? Tonight a first: a fan gave me doobie!!! My mother was not amused.

What did your mother do to you?

 

 

14 Responses

  1. She blessed me with a love for Shakespeare, gorgeous fabrics, and the baby grand Steinway she purchased in 1943 for $1500, now in my living room. She was my backbone, and her legacy was approval.
    How lucky I was to have her! Not sure I measure up to my own daughter, but I try.

  2. Late one night after drinking with some friends back when I was 18 or 19, I came home, quiet as a dream, and loaded up a bowl. Then my mother came downstairs before I could fire it up. She was just checking to make sure I was okay. I was three sheets to the wind, so I guess that was okay. I quickly stashed the pipe in my pants, forgetting about the hole in my pocket. My mother was eyeing me suspiciously, trying to see through me, to gauge how twisted I was and I felt the pipe slide down my leg, bounce off my foot and spill out on the floor. I reached down in what seemed like slo mo and grabbed the pipe, brushing away the dried leafy pot. This was back in the day when Mexican pot ruled, sticky buds just a glimmer and a dream in a pothead’s eye. “What was that?” my mother asked. “Nothing.” And then she looked at me with a gaze of disappointment and went back upstairs. I felt terrible and thought, maybe I should just stop smoking this shit. Mad was one thing, disappointment a whole ‘nother beast. Felt bad for about a minute or two, shrugged, refilled the bowl, went out back and smoked it up then passed out on the couch. She was the queen of guilt and I never reacted well to feeling bad.

  3. She empowered me, showed me how to speak for myself, how to think critically, how to take a hit and not collapse. I’m one of the lucky ones.

  4. Damn, Betsy, just missed you. We left the Keys Monday, but crossed over to the Gulf side, with a stop in Cedar Key. I would have given you a chunk of square grouper.

    My mother loved me, and kept me on course with a gentle hand and soft voice. She taught me without telling me to respect and love the women who have graced and filled my life. She maintained her dignity while a cunning brain tumor allowed her to continue thinking while stealing her ability to put those thoughts in words. Her frustration was palpable, and the most sadly terrifying thing I’ve seen

    Thinking of her in better times, I smile and laugh.

  5. Good question. I’ve spent too much time trying to determine if she really HAS loved me all these years, or if I am just a catnip toy in her performance as the Cheshire Cat.

  6. It’s in my book…..

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  7. Nothing. When I was eight, my 1-year-old brother was diagnosed as mentally disabled, and all of my parents’ attention shifted to his care. I didn’t realize this at the time — I just felt a distance, an emotional abandonment, and being a shy loner, buried myself in books and art and imagination (and turned to the family dachshund for comfort).

    In my mid-30s, I asked my mother about this, and why she and dad never provided me any kind of support as a child. She said, “You were so smart and independent that we thought you’d be okay on your own.”

    Stunned, I replied, “Mom, I was *eight*.”

    She said, “I know. I’m sorry.”

    So today I have a passionate love of books, and art, and imagination, and a devotion to dachshunds that knows no bounds.

    Thank you, Mom.

  8. You continue to make me laugh. Keep on keepin’ on, Betsy.

    My mother taught me love and how to make friends. The best gifts of all.

  9. My mother read to me.

    On car trips, while my dad drove the ’67 Rambler across the Badlands, she never succumbed to motion sickness. She taught me to memorize poems. The rhythm of tires on the highway accompanied the cadence of Frost, Sandburg, Whitman and Dickinson. Nature was golden. Love was elephantine. My America sang. Hope had feathers.

    Later, she marked pages in the books she gave me. I found marginalia for years, even after her death. It was her way of speaking from the Beyond.

    In her honor I named my children after Alcott and Cather. My mother made me a writer.

  10. Today? She shared a slice of lemon meringue pie with me. I’ll just rest there for a while.

  11. No one has ever loved me more. No one ever will.

  12. She read to me, incessantly. And I was reading on my own by age 3.

    She brought me into family cribbage games. And I was confident with numbers by age 5.

    She was beset by a variety of demons. And I learned that the world was unreliable by age 10.

    She did her best. God bless her.

  13. She fucked me up. But she knows she did and she’s sorry. She’s tried to make it up to me without ever having to come out straight and apologize. But that’s okay. I forgive her. She made me the man I am. And I am she as she is me and we are we. I wouldn’t trade her for a truck of puppies.

    • The Blitz folks mirdd-asessed the package containing my jewelry cleaner, and so it got delivered to the wrong address and was destroyed by the dogs in the yard. My email complaint to the Blitz customer service was answered almost immediately, and a new bottle shipped out free of charge. I just received the second shipment, used the cleaner, and it’s great!!! Highly recommend doing business with Blitz!

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