Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bridge Club

I am purging. I am shedding. I am getting rid of stuff that has followed me around for many many years. I have my stuff, my kid's stuff and some of my parent's too. It's normal for a woman my age. My kids are helping and their more modern attitude of shredding and pitching is an obvious result of one fact: their parents did NOT grow up during the depression. Mine did.

This process has had many hilarious moments. "Mom? Really?" I have heard it over and over. going through these things has also stirred up some wonderful memories, those tenacious thoughts that are velcro-ed to old stuff long packed in a box, away from everyday life and attention. It's interesting how the most common items can bring a flood of laughter, tears and stories. And it fascinates me how many common household items are now unrecognizable to the next generation. Times change.

"Mom, are you keeping these? They weigh a TON! Why would you ever need them?" The card table. A simple device, it quickly becomes the child's table at a big family dinner, (and I did come from a big family, all those cousins...double cousins too!) Set up in the kitchen, it makes a great surface for drying those delicious noodles that only a mother can make, or a perfect place to create that watercolor or other work of art on a rainy afternoon. (Resourceful mother) Sales table at rummage sale, I can go on an on. But this middle age woman 's memories ran straight to the chief purpose and name sake for this piece in the storage room, Bridge Club.

My mother played bridge. Like thousands of other women her age, in her time, she belonged to a card club. They took turns entertaining their friends, round robin-ing their visits to each other's houses, dressed to the nines and ready to win. I simply loved the nights my mother had bridge club. I looked forward to it and I committed each night to memory. These ladies seemed so sophisticated and chic. They wore hats, they drank cocktails and some of them even smoked! I was named after one of them. It was sublime. My little sister and I would hide at the top of the stairs and watch this social event until we were forced to go to bed. I would silently pray that they did not eat all the bridge mix and salted mixed nuts. They would gently stir their mixed drinks with colorful swizzle sticks and decide what to bid. It was a place in time, an institution, and I loved it as much as my mother. I remember.

"But Mom! Really! They weigh a TON!" Happily, our memories only weigh on our hearts. We can carry them with us and they won't take up much room. Those same swizzle sticks sit on the wet bar in my kitchen. I look at them and smile. And the card tables? My own card tables I have carried for 30 plus years? I'm not getting rid of them just yet. I might need them. You just never know.

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