37. Sociable Bridge: It’s a subterranean sisterhood

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Back when I was writing my book on bridge, I came up one day with that phrase “subterranean sisterhood” to describe the uncounted and uncountable millions of woman who have played bridge over the decades–subterranean because they’ve left almost no paper trail.  I have to say I love that phrase still — I have used it in publicity, on the back of the book, elsewhere.

Then I came across an article in which its author, Tatiana Quiroga, used the word “sisterhood” to describe a 50-year friendship of bridge-playing Jersey girls who now live at The Villages here in Florida. There’s is quite a story! It’s from the Villages Daily Sun, and titled: “‘Sisterhood’ of friendship spans more than half a century.'”

To quote the article: “It started on the Jersey Shore, where a group of young moms spent summer days at the beach and a few hours a week playing bridge. In fact, it’s those two activities that the women said bonded them.”

Kids never get tired of being at the beach–and so they could have companionship, and play cards, while making their kids happy at the same time. “We practically raised each others’ kids on the beach,” said one of the women–Maggie Bilanin.

Over the years they stayed in touch even as they dispersed. Amazingly one by one, starting in 1994 and ending in 2009, they’d all came together once again–this time in The Villages.

“Amazing and wonderful” they say to end up together. Kids (15), grandchildren (19), great grandchildren (4) are all over the country, and their own families are not here. They are their own family — and playing bridge weekly.

Would not life be great if all could have a friendship and bonding like this lasting a lifetime? Bridge, I believe, is especially good at creating decades-long friendships. You have something to DO when you get together that can be mentally challenging and competitive or casual and social–depending on the group’s choice. It doesn’t have to cost anything. And you need one another–whether a foursome or an eightsome–your presence is needed!

One of the dreams I used to have for Bridge Table Chronicles was to include a separate section where the subterranean sisterhood of bridge-playing women could tell their club’s story (or someone could tell it for them). Way over my head to pull off — I procrastinated too many years — too old! Just finishing 52 blogs is all I can manage–perhaps a revised edition of  my book — that’s it for me.

I persist in believing, however, that one day some perceptive student of popular culture, looking for a women’s history theme for her Masters or Doctoral Thesis, will come across my book, this blog and say — Eureka, I found it!

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