Plain City card club friendships bridge decades

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
A group of women from Plain City and Powell meet regularly at Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City for lunch and a rigorous game of bridge. Some of the women have been playing in clubs throughout the community for more than 60 years. Here, members (from left) Pat Cooke, Barbara George and Nicky Mayer take part in the bidding process.

(Posted Nov. 7, 2018)

By Dedra Cordle, Staff Writer

When the doctor called Sally Petznick to schedule a series of physical therapy appointments, his request was to meet on Mondays. In turn, Petznick requested that he find a different day.

“Mondays are bridge days,” she explained. “And I won’t miss it for anything.”

For more than a decade, the Plain City resident has been meeting with a small group of fellow bridge lovers at Der Dutchman Restaurant for a nice lunch and then a robust game.

“It’s something that we all look forward to,” she said. “We’re just a bunch of old ladies who like to sit around and joke and catch up and sometimes even get serious [about playing the game].”

Currently, there are eight members and a number of substitutes involved in the no-name bridge club that meets every other Monday. Most have been playing and participating in clubs for a majority of their lives.

Barbara George was first introduced to the popular card game when she was a little girl.

“I remember seeing my mother, all dressed up, walking down the stairs and the scent of her Estee Lauder perfume filling the room,” she recalled. “She was going out for bridge and probably wasn’t coming back until midnight.”

While George had no interest in playing bridge at that time–her journey to bids and tricks came years later at the prompting of a friend–the sight of her mother dressed to the nines and going out for a game of cards with friends set the tone.

“I think I developed a love for it then,” she said. “I just didn’t start playing until I was in my 20s or 30.”

Bridge player Paula Williams gives a hearty laugh during a hand gone wrong.

Nicky Mayer, who is 89-years-young, recalled a similar experience in her introduction to bridge.

“I think for a lot of us, we became interested because we saw our parents play,” she said.

Judy Boden-Bender agreed.

“It was very much a social club in some respects,” she said. “I learned because we didn’t have a television and sometimes there was nothing else to do.”

All of the club’s members said they that when they were younger, they never foresaw themselves playing the game into their 70s and 80s.

“I think what has kept us coming back is the friendships and the camaraderie,” said Carolee Fugate, who grew up in Plain City but now lives in Powell.

“And it’s great for our brains,” said Boden-Bender. “What’s funny is that we’ve had members who were struggling with their memories but they never forgot how to play bridge.”

The group of women has known each other for many decades but that hasn’t lessened their competitive natures when the lunch plates are cleared.

“We all want to win, but we will help each other out,” Pat Cooke said.

“Most of the time,” George chimed in.

It’s not all business though, despite some moments of intense bidding.

“We used to play in clubs where it was taken very seriously,” Mayer said.

“We have been scolded for laughing before,” Petznick added.

This club, however, is more about levity than bravado.

“We just like to have fun and enjoy ourselves,” said Cooke.

“And each other,” Boden-Bender added.

“Well, we’ve spent hours together so we better,” Cooke replied.

As this back and forth was taking place, George shook her head and laughed.

“It’s indicative of this club,” she said. “We joke, we get serious, and we support. Some of us don’t have any or many family left, some of us are going through health issues, some of us have relatives going through health crises, but we’re all here for each other for everything. We just happen to be playing cards while we’re doing it.”

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