The paper trail for sociable bridge playing women is to be found in old cookbooks and women’s magazines of the 20s through the 60s. One particular women’s magazine–the Ladies Home Journal of October 1960–was the trigger that led ultimately to getting hooked on the topic of bridge history.
Back then, I subscribed to the Journal. I had already learned to play bridge and was in a neighborhood bridge club. The article that month was part of the Journal’s “How America Lives” series and about a Texas housewife named Janice who played bridge all day long, four days a week.
It’s difficult to put one’s self back in time and try to understand my reaction to the article–what on earth was I thinking? Why did it inspire a spurt of activity that would have consequences for me decades later?
Looking back I think I found the article intriguing because Janet was not typical of the housewives featured in that “How America Lives” series. Kind of a rebel, with an “outside the box” way of dealing with the job of housewife. And I loved the idea of an all-day bridge party! [Our club only met in the evening.] Most of the families featured in “How America Lives” had one problem or another that was worked out with assistance from Journal experts. Janice seemingly had no problems.
I was intrigued by Janice’s lifestayle but turned off by the tuna-noodle casserole and canned mandarin orange salad menu Janice routinely served when it was her turn to be hostess. I loved to cook and experiment with the trend into gourmet cooking that began to emerge in post-WWII America. Janice seemed to be oblivious to that whole trend. Her husband did most of the cooking.
Whatever the reasons–I decided then and there, that day, to one day write a bridge-themed cookbook myself.
I never did write the exact cookbook in my head back then–but that single article in the Journal did lead decades later to writing and self-publishing other books and even more decades later to Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? An Affectionate Look Back at Sociable Bridge & Ladies Lunch.
And ultimately to this blog of Bridge Table Chronicles.