• 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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Some Have Gone and Some Remain

We’re moving our office, going paperless, scanning and shredding, packing books, emptying files. More than thirty years worth of editorial letters, submission lists, publicity kits, contracts, royalty statements. And in the pages of every book the untold story of how it came about, how many tears spilled, hopes dashed, how many mantrums and meltdowns. How many needles threaded, moments of fleeting happiness, a paragraph falling into place, prizes won, prizes lost, long lists and runners up. Finding just the right title, jacket, the fan letter that says you changed my life. Welcome letters, break up letters. My famous asshole file. So much water. So much bridge.

Are you sentimental?

21 Responses

  1. Yes, I am. I have a full file cabinet that I haven’t needed anything from in over a year, but most of it, I can’t seem to part with.

    I have a coffee cup that my mom lifted from the cafeteria when she was in college. A plumb bob my dad gave me years ago. I hang my sentimental attachments on the wall like Christmas decorations left up all year.

    A bottle of sand my nephew gave me from the beaches of Normandy sit on my window sill and I look at them and wonder if my dad walked on any of that sand on D-Day +5.

    There is a piece of the brass from the twenty-one-gun salute at my brother’s funeral that sits in front of me as I type. And my dad’s scotch tape dispenser.

    I was working in the kitchen one day when my husband brought in a seven foot snake shed he found by the tractor. He just wanted to show it to me. I thought that was so sweet of him that I kept it and it hangs on my office wall.

    Yes, I’m weirdly sentimental. But when I look around, I see love. And that’s not such a bad thing.

    • I love this inventory, Carol. The snakeskin reminds me of a flower my daughter gave me when she was about three. I still remember the warm, scented grass, her little hand plucking the dandelion and offering it up. Such a small thing, a found object like yours, but the moment was so dear. I pressed it in a journal and wrote around it.

  2. not really, but really, I don’t know.

  3. No. If even a little bit of stuff starts to pile up, I watch five minutes of “Hoarders” and out that stuff goes, along with things I need and have to rebuy. My memories are stored in a little cupboard in my mind. When my mind goes, so be it. I won’t miss a thing.

  4. “Are you sentimental?”

    To a fault. I read somewhere once that sentimentality is a form of insincerity. From some other source I read that sentimentality is a mask for cruelty. I do not know if either of these assertions is true.

    I have so much crap. It accumulates over the years, you know. Absent catastrophe such as fire, flood, war, etc., etc., it seems most of us can’t help but pile up idols to worship with sentimental reflection. Why, I think I still have my high school ring tucked away somewhere.

    I still have a cache of letters written me by a girl whom I heartlessly betrayed. I haven’t read them since she sent me them over 45 years ago. Why have I kept them? Sentimentality? Trophies of something I care neither to name nor to face? Guilt feelings? Fear of death? Residual effects of toilet training, lingering long in the psyche? I could gaze at this navel for a while.

  5. Not really. I have a few things. Evidence of a warm hand on paper, oddly shaped ceramics from when my kids were young, a tassel of hair clipped from the plume of my dog’s tail just before we put her down. My grandmother’s paintings. My mom’s diamond ring. Boxes and books of photographs, gradually colorized. And I did cut out a panel of my dad’s leather jacket to make the cover for a traveler’s notebook that goes with me everywhere…

    Oh, who am I kidding. I’m a mush.

  6. Another name for hoarder. Yes. Luckily an outside office is easier than a closet filled with must-keep stuff. Apparently, it’s in my genes. I’m working on it. If I leave my stuff for my son, who also has it in his genes, he’ll have to rent a 2nd apartment or more storage units. There will never be enough square feet. The things will continue to accumulate. Still, as long as I’m alive, I have hope.

  7. I bet I’m in the blog asshole file!

  8. I have a bundle of love letters stored in a box under my bed from 1969. He was my first true love. We met in Jo’burg South Africa the land of apartheid. When I had to return to the states he sent me a telegram asking me to marry him. I loved him with all my heart and couldn’t wait to return to him – but our relationship was doomed. Though we adored each other we eventually knew it would never work.

    This is the first time I have written about him. Though i have been married more than forty years to a wonderful man I do think of my first love from time to time. Broken hearts sometimes never heal the old wounds. We both knew that what we offered each other would never be enough. My beloved was gay.

    • This is a novel.

      • Over the years I have started our story many times, not only because it is a story that should be told, but because it is a story that shreds my heart each time I wonder what could have been. Don’t get me wrong, I would not change the wonderful life I have had, it’s just that because I was half way around the world from him, I never got to hold him and heart to heart tell him how wonderful he was and how much I loved him. In a way, I guess I still do. A mix up in letters adds a tragic twist I know must have devastated him.

        I certainly would write about us but at my age no one in traditional publishing would commit to our amazing yet heartbreaking story. Someone would have to transcend the unwritten rules of age bias in the industry and believe I am the Grandma Moses of writing.

        Oh Christ now I am in tears.

        • Go for it, Carolynn; always remember Norman MacLean.

        • Angela’s Ashes was written by an older man. A love letter to his mother. I would write this love story, for sure. Besides, you are young at heart. It comes through on your posts here.

          • Ya know what, fuck it, I’m gonna do it. A few days ago Betsy posted about truth. Well this may break my heart again but I’m going to tell the truth of our story. I deserve it and so does he. If nobody takes it on fuck ‘em. Sorry Betsy for all the fucks but I’m determined.

  9. My famous asshole file. LMAO!!! I have one too. Now I have to name it. Thanks!

  10. Definitely sentimental. I made coffee in my mom’s old percolator pot just the other morning b/c I remembered seeing it on her stove as a kid. Best coffee I’ve had in years. It took 40 minutes to make – on our gas stove – so I invested in an electric percolator pot. Still reminiscent of mom as she had one of those too.

    I also have and office filled with publishing stuff. Cards, magazines with articles, and other memorabilia. The other day I began to think about who would care about it except me. You know, b/c of that article written in the past few years about “Your kids don’t want your junk.” That one. That’s fine. They can trash it when I’m gone. 😐

    • I too have an office FILLED. First I told my two kids to check every box of papers because I hid money in them so they’d read my papers. LOL! If looks could kill, I’d have died on the spot. Then I confessed. They’re going to have a house sale. Anything you can put into a brown grocery bag, $5.00. The rest, call Salvation Army and take it all.

    • When we downsized,( I used to hate that word but now I like it), our kids wanted nothing. I have hundreds of tear-sheets (album-ed) from my articles and columns. They are my footprints across time in case one of the grand-kids wonder, what the hell was going on in the world and my mind way before they were born.
      The oldest is a hell of a writer and very curious. I’m thinking that I will be stored in the corner of an attic somewhere until they too downsize.

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