January 18th, 2004


Why I don't play bridge

So I was stuck home alone while rsc was playing bridge at bitty's and had nothing better to do other that watching the Patriots win their way to the SuperBowl so I caught up on some camera work. Vanderbilt Cup I haven't played bridge for almost 40 years - the culminating event was that a colleague at work during a lunch time game called me an idiot (for good reasons) and I decided to stop playing then.

Actually I had my fill of bridge as a youth because my parents talked about it just too much since they both played a lot. My father was an expert and won the prestigious and extremely competitive Vanderbilt Cup in 1939 (I was too young to remember) but I do have his cup. Inscription Harold Vanderbilt was a key figure in the refinement of bridge playing earlier last century (he was also a yachtsman and won the America's cup as well).

During the depression when my father was laid off from Manufacturer's Trust (a bank) he made his living for several years playing bridge. So my father knew all the other experts in the 40's and 50's and played a lot although he didn't play any more high stakes tournaments.

He remained a serious bridge player and in fact had his fatal heart attack playing Duplicate (he'd just made 6 diamonds redoubled! I was told.) Interestingly enough both he and his father died at the age of 55 while playing bridge! After I passed 55 I figured it was safe to play, but I didn't.

pencilsMy mother was also a serious player. They didn't play together much and she got into playing duplicate very regularly at various bridge clubs in New York - she outlived him by 35 years. My pencil drawer has many pencils she took home with her.

I conducted her memorial service in 1997 at the Manhattan Bridge Club in front of this mural. Most of her friends were bridge players so I figured that this was the equivalent of her church. I'd discussed doing it there with her ahead of time.