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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back in the day: The bridge party

When I was a kid in the 1950s, all the ladies on our block belonged to a "bridge club" that met regularly. The bridge party was a nighttime version of the morning coffee klatsch, with the notable exception that the ladies dressed up in heels and their best pearls and cleaned their houses for days when it was their turn to host the get-together.

My mom had a Cosco Fashionfold card table with matching chairs like the ones below, which also did double duty as the "kids' table" at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She had fancy hand-embroidered linens, cute little score pads and special serving pieces with matching coasters, and almost everything was decorated in a playing cards theme.

Of course, no bridge party was complete without bowls of nuts and the ever-popular bridge mix candy, an assortment of chocolate covered morsels that were consumed by the pound and regretted the next day.

Bridge party night at our house was usually a grand occasion for my brother and me. Dad would take us to Griff's Burger Bar for a 15-cent hamburger, and then we'd go to the movies or go bowling. This kept us from bothering the ladies. After all, the only TV we had was a behemoth Zenith in the living room where the party was held, so that left us with nowhere to entertain ourselves, unless we wanted to lock ourselves in our bedrooms and read or listen to the radio. A special night out with Dad sounded like a much better prospect.

And, if we were really lucky, there might even be a little bridge mix left when we got back home.

Bridge mix
Cosco Fashionfold card table and chairs - libertysales2
Playing cards with Raymor pottery design - modmarket
Fabric-covered scorecard books - debsplethora

Playing card-themed plates - bluemalchut
Playing card-themed pewter bowls - dentalteacher
Quilted paper coasters - bluemalchut
Hand-embroidered napkins - pattycake480


  1. What a great post! We've tried starting a bridge club at the Casablanca but apparently my friends and I lack the patients (we play spoons instead). I wish I had about a dozen of those folding chairs and quilted napkins!

  2. @Mick: Both my parents loved to play cards. They had a couples' bridge club too. Strangely, I have never been a card player at all, unless you count solitaire. I have a Cosco card table and chairs from a few years back, and they aren't nearly as sturdy...or as good the ones my parents had. I'd love to find some of the old ones.

  3. My grandmother was a bridge player. I loved how they incorporated that into the movie "The Help". My parents however were pinochle players.

  4. My grandparents liked to play dominoes. They played a game known in other parts of the country as Texas 42, but here it Texas they just calling it "playing 42." I guess cable TV has all but killed the regular weekend card and domino parties of the mid-Twentieth Century.

  5. What an interesting nostalgic read, thanks for sharing this with us.
    Those playing-card pewter bowls look awesome.

  6. @I dream lo-tech: Those bowls appeal to me too, and I'm not even a card player.