Monday, September 17, 2012

The Good Old Days

Bridge in the olden days sounded so lovely. I didn't start playing until the 21st century and therefore never knew olden day bridge, but I yearn for it nevertheless. 

From the beginning, I learned contract bridge and its myriad conventions and I have the copious books, notes, crib sheets and headaches to prove it. But there was a time, I am told, when bridge was pleasant and lovely and much easier and there were no books telling you how to bid, play or defend. 

In those days all you needed was a manicure, three other players and a pitcher of martinis chilling in the "electric refrigerator" to sip on between playing and chatting. If I sipped martinis and chatted while playing today's bridge, well, I was going to say I wouldn't be able to tell a heart from a spade but that can happen to me sober and quiet.

Ladies would start with luncheon at noon, play throughout the afternoon, stop at 4 o'clock for coffee or a fresh batch of 'tinis, then play until 6 o'clock clearing out before the man of the house returned. Then the Mrs. would set up the vacuum so the afternoon appeared constructive.

It turns out I have two people to blame for this change in bridge from pleasant to petrifying - Harold Vanderbilt who invented contract bridge and Ely Culbertson who mercilessly promoted it.
After these two scoundrels got involved, social bridge turned into serious bridge and!

To be continued.... 

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