15-4. Nonagenarian Notions: Defense Secretary Gates’ mom plays bridge

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Google Alerts are a recent discovery for me–fun! I used to regularly Google some key words and come up with a long list of citations to go thru, as part of finding out what’s going on in the bridge world. With Google Alerts you don’t have to go in search of citations–the citations COME TO YOU and you never know what you’ll find in your email each morning. How else could I ever find this bit of bridge trivia?

I know, I know! He’s now the ex-Defense Secretary, but the day I came across mention of his mom he still was the Defense Secretary. Not only that, I’d just heard a discussion about him on the cable news channel I’m addicted to and have on as I work on this blog at my computer.

It was several weeks ago, routinely checking my email in-box, when up came a headline: After  50 years, former WSU staff still gather to play bridge.

Of course I went there to read the full story–it sounded like just the kind of thing I like to include under Nonagenarian Notions now and then. Turns out to be a story written in 2010 by Lainie Rusco for the Wichita State University News, about Jean McClure and her bridge group made up of former Wichita State employees. [http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/wsunews/news/?nid=1214]

This bridge group began in 1962 as a lunchtime activity when they all worked together. Over the years, members came and went and retired. Eight of them continued to meet once a month after retiring as a way of staying connected. The group tries to meet where its two nonagenarians–Isabel Gates and Carol Krebbs–live, just “to make things easier on them.”

I liked this story. It’s the second decades-old bridge group I’ve come across and written about in this blogezine that was begun by a people who worked together rather than from a neighborhood or social circle.

What is it that keeps bridge clubs going so long?

In this WSU news article, Jean McClure says: “It’s probably more about fellowship than anything. It keeps our minds going but it’s the connection and friendship over the years that really keeps us going.”

I’m inclined to believe it’s also the nature of the card game. One NEEDS a foursome or an eightsome to play. I think people don’t casually NOT show up for bridge as they might in other clubs where you won’t be missed if you’re not there. Your presence is  needed in a bridge club.

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