Tuesday, June 8, 2021

52 Ancestor - BRIDGE: No-trump

“No trump” – I always loved to hear my Bridge partner bid a no trump hand but it scared me to death to play it myself. I enjoyed the game but never advanced enough to truly understand the intricacy of the bidding conventions and complexity of hand evaluation. 

My parents were very good Bridge players. In their college days, they spent hours playing Bridge. It was THE game in dorms and dining halls and student centers. Lectures took a backseat to a no-trump hand. During their early years of marriage, they continued playing Bridge with their friends. I remember them getting together with Betsy and John Lumsden for Bridge Night, but I have no idea how I entertained myself while they shuffled, dealt, bid, laughed, and calculated scores above and below the line.

Momma and Daddy were not partners.
I wonder if this was Men vs Women.

While Bridge was still a popular game among students at James Madison University when I was there, I didn’t learn to play until years later.  When our girls were young, we sometimes vacationed at Fairy Stone State Park in Stuart, Virginia. My parents joined us a couple times. After the girls were tucked in at night, the cards came out and instruction commenced.

Daddy and Momma 
with Zoe and Jordan 
outside our cabin 
(Zoe had a style of her own - don't judge!)


We were hooked!

Not that we played that often or even that well.

Several couples from Sunday School expressed an interest in playing Bridge, and before you could utter “One peek is worth two finesses,” we had ourselves a dedicated Bridge Club. We alternated hosting each month. One spring we rented a beach cottage together for a weekend marathon of Bridge playing.

Bridge group at Duck, NC
Standing: Barry, Lou and Pat, Sue and Eddie
Seated: Moi, Kathy and Perry
Probably mid 1990s - none of us can remember

When one of the men in the group suddenly died, the club died with him. It was too awkward to leave out his widow or find a substitute.

My mother’s Bridge Club quite frequently needed subs and I was happy to oblige. Everyone contributed a quarter creating a pot of $2.00. The high-scorer of the day took home $1.75 while the low-scorer got her quarter back. As the ladies’ health declined, so did the Bridge Club.

I have not played in years, but I have wonderful memories of evenings spent at two tables of Bridge players.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” 


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. First, I've been to Fairy Stone State Park, and even went along a creek behind a service station and picked up lots of fairy stones...neat little crosses or "ex" formed iron. And second, I could only play bridge with the plastic table cloth my mom had that fit a card table, and gave lots of clues as to what to bid! It never got through to my memory, and I didn't play bridge again, though lots of other card games have been part of my life! "Uno" anyone?

  2. I was going to write about learning to play bridge, too. My parents played constantly - we should have gotten them together to vie for the World Series of bridge!

  3. My parents also regularly hosted, or attended, bridge parties. The card tables, bowls of tidbits and the ash trays came out and we were relegated to the basement until bedtime. My father taught us to play "teenage" bridge, a two player version where you have a "dummy" for a partner. Thanks for bringing back this memory and sharing yours!

  4. That must have been the day momma and daddy picked up Zoe on the road! Hahahaha

    Playing Bridge always sounded so grown up to me.