• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

When I wanted to go to London for my junior year abroad, my mother sensed that I was trying to run away from my problems. I know this because she said, “You’re trying to run away from your problems.” Somehow  I finagled my way there and for the first time in my life I had my own room. A single in a dormitory in the south of London. I put up exactly one poster. I had my shelf of books (lots of Thomas Hardy). And most nights, I holed up with a novel, a bottle of cheap red wine and a sleeve of peanuts. I nursed my depression in my happy cell.

What did your mother say?

13 Responses

  1. Stop it, I’m already depressed as it is.

    (that actually works on both accounts: me now and her then)

  2. Has there ever been a more loaded question? I stopped listening many years ago.

  3. My mother’s favorite expression was, and still is at 93, “hmmmmm….”

  4. “Frankie! Your room looks like Fibber McGee’s closet!”

  5. “The amount of time you spend arguing about it, it would be done by now.” My mother was rarely ungrammatical. I must have driven her to it.

  6. “Sit up straight.”
    “Don’t sniffle.”
    “Clean your plate.”
    “Don’t talk back.”
    “Don’t drag your feet.”
    “Do what your teacher says.”
    “Do what your father says.”
    “Go ask your father.”
    “Put things where they belong.”
    “Put things back where you found them.”
    “Always carry a kleenex in your pocket.”
    “Always carry a dime for the phone.”
    “Let me know if I can help.”

  7. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

  8. Don’t be disappointed when you don’t make it.

  9. “As you’re traveling the world, be careful and also see if you can find out why Diane Arbus didn’t do color photography.”

  10. What did my mother say? Mostly, lies.

  11. I wish my mother was here to say something soothing, such as “It’s gonna be alright”. Now it’s my task to reassure my daughter. Instead of words, I think we’ll walk, while I look for dandelions.


    YES, she often spoke in capitals with lots of exclamation points.

    Also she said quietly:
    “Have children or you will never forgive yourself.”
    I have two. On that she was spot on. They and their little ones are my life.

  13. Never tun after a man or a trolley–there’s always another.

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