• 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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I Sometimes Wish I’d Never Been Born at All

My mother wanted to be a writer. She even had a pen named picked out. She never acted on that desire, but she loved reading and going to readings. As she put it, she loved hearing articulate people speak. She religiously read her New Yorker. She didn’t have a literary vocabulary per se, but she knew what she liked. She made us look up every word we didn’t know on a dictionary with a broken spine that took up residence on the pass-through between the kitchen and den. I was much older before I connected my love of poetry and writing with my mother.

What did you get from your mother?

9 Responses

  1. “Never buy food at a bake sale. The baker may have cats who walk on the kitchen counters.”

  2. Betsy, I’m no psychologist, but I wonder if you see a connection between your mother’s wanting to write but not writing, on the one hand, and the questions you often pose here asking why we write despite all the crushing difficulties, on the other hand. If I recall correctly, you have several times suggested that you yourself feel compelled to write despite all of the obstacles and problems and griefs, the failures and gnarled fingers. Your brief recollection suggests that your mother was actually rather content with not writing, and for her sake I hope that she was.

  3. Mirror, mirror on the wall
    I am my mother, after all.

  4. “What did you get from your mother?”

    Fear. Religious superstition. Low self-esteem. Anger. And a love of reading. And a fierce desire to be heard, to matter, to escape.

  5. My mother was an unsold painter, an unpublished writer and a musician without and audience. I’ve accomplished two. She created the artistic paths I love.
    To bad exercise wasn’t her thing because maybe I’d be less plump.and more active..

  6. My suspicious nature. I didn’t, however, acquire her thirst for vengeance and appetite for unforgiveness.

  7. My love of reading for starters.

  8. As far as I can tell my mom raised me to be an editor.

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