Pair Fare

News from Northwestern Illinois Unit 239

Editor: Linda Jacobson, Bartlett IL

While swimming in a pool in Mexico, I saw a person reading her “Bulletin.” Aha! Another bridge player! At the end of her first year of duplicate bridge, she was happy to talk about her new love.

Why do we keep playing?

I asked people at a St. Charles game and this is what they shared.

Mary Johnson likes the sociability.

Tom Prucher appreciates that everyone plays the same cards. It doesn’t matter whether you get a good hand or a bad one.

Marilyn Croft plays duplicate because it is challenging and gets the mind working.

Janet Branch wants the socializing and trying for the next rank.

LaVern Hoy says she is addicted.

Peter Cooper said he had been playing bridge for over 60 years; his parents needed to fill the table. Nick Cordell enjoys the challenge and meeting people.

Julia Kelley said, “I like to say I don’t have a life. Actually, I do, but bridge is a very big part of it. It’s the challenge of the game.”

Dorothy Berg said she loves the game and having her daughter for a partner.

Neil Whittle plays to keep his mind challenged; he likes the competition.

Joyce Hunter said, “I enjoy bridge because it keeps my mind active, and I like the people. It’s a good way to enjoy retirement. I enjoy the competition.”

An anonymous player stated that other than playing the same cards, she liked completing with herself. The people make the difference so she does not like playing online.

Tom Drouin and Doug Shuman like duplicate because it’s brain food!

Joe Schatz likes the competition.

Van Stone shared that when he retired while his wife was still working, she told him to go play bridge. She said, "You are not going to sit in the house!"

Unit 239 welcomes three new members:  Deborah Fisher and Randy Fisher (Aurora) and Terry Hodges (Cherry Valley).

Congratulations to the many Unit members who have achieved new ACBL levels:

Junior Master: Michael Chakoian (Crystal Lake,) Paul Paquette (Carpentersville,) and Dennis Cotter (Aurora)

Club Master: Nancy Martin (Rockford,) Linda Bubnack (Stillman Valley,) and Elaine Burnette and Frank Burnette (Algonquin)

Sectional Master: Emily Davis (Lake in the Hills,) Douglas Giloy (Rockford,) Karen Lewis (Rockford,) Kathleen Ordway (Rockford.) and Susan Seaver (Crystal Lake)

Regional Master: Edward Bonkowski (Bartlett,) Greg Maccoubrey (Crystal Lake,) Van Stone (Geneva,) Karen Weedman (Rockford,) Rod Johnson (Huntley,) Eileen Schumann (Rockford,) and Raymond Tower, Jr. (Crystal Lake)

NABC Master: Renee McNitt (Roscoe,) Tim Kleimeyer (Sleepy Hollow,) and Elaine Sebastian (Huntley)

Life Master: Gregory Rozborski (Plano) and Susan Powers (N. Barrington)

Bronze Life Master: James Williard ( Arlington Heights)

Silver Life Master: Susan Hilllberry (Cherry Valley) and Charlene Whiney (Winnebago)

Ruby Life Master: Becky Chance (Rockton)

Susan Powers is a Life Master

She wrote about her love of bridge:

My parents were social bridge players, also my aunts and uncles. Bridge was popular when I was growing up. When I was ten years old and my next youngest sibling was nine, we became a bridge team for my parents at home. We learned Goren.

Subsequently, my other younger siblings learned and boyfriends who came to the house, including my future husband. When Bob and I bought our first house and needed to meet people in the area, we joined our church's couples' bridge league.

Shortly thereafter, life, children and work eliminated bridge from our lives. I didn't play for over thirty years. When I retired, and, at the same time, we moved to a new area, I again wanted to meet people. I phoned some local senior centers and found bridge games.

Wow! Bridge had really changed - lots of new conventions! About six years ago, I was "toying" with the idea of joining the ACBL. We were taking care of our grandchildren in Pittsburgh for two weeks, and it was the first time we did this that they were in school all day. I found the closest bridge club to our son's house and told Bob he would be my partner. I could make a total fool out of myself, and in two weeks I would be back home and never see these people again.

We went. I paid the money and went back to the table. Bob said, "I don't know what these people are talking about," and he took the car and left me! I found different partners for the two weeks, came home and joined the ACBL. I was "hooked!"

Thank you to all my wonderful partners.

Gregory Rozborski is also a Life Master and shows his love of this game!

I first learned to play bridge in the late '60s, kibitzing at the 30-minute lunch time games where I worked. When a fourth was needed, I got a chance to play, you know .... a warm body, knew my way around a deck of cards, and had a Goren "crib sheet" to guide me.

It didn't take long to get hooked on the game. In the early '70s, I was transferred to the then-home of the ACBL, Memphis TN. My first partner there introduced me to money bridge. He knew many partnerships eager to play and they were mostly single women. I thought .... bridge, what a game! You think it could get any better?

In the mid '70s, I was introduced to duplicate. It took a little time to get used to playing for points and not money. But back then, at least you could smoke and drink at the clubs. I made do.

The highlight of my time in Memphis at that time was meeting my wife of 42 years. In the mid 1980s, I was again transferred, to New Iberia LA and went back to playing money bridge. In the group I was invited to play in was a parish priest, a mayor, a councilman, a banker and a professional gambler. I held my own money-wise, but mostly enjoyed the single-malt scotch and fine cigars that were an integral part of our game.

While in Louisiana, I also found a duplicate club. On my first visit, with a pick-up partner, we won some silver points in a STAC game, I think. She convinced me to rejoin the ACBL to record these precious pigmented awards. Little did I know at the time ,,,

From the 1990s through 2010, I reverted to playing lunch time party bridge back in the Chicagoland area. In 2011, I found the Yorkville Duplicate Bridge Club and rejoined the ACBL for a third time. By 2012, I started to accumulate a significant number of points, and was encouraged to play in tournaments for gold and silver. (Could I make Life Master?)

In the 5+ years hence, I DID IT. And early on, with the help of great partners -- notably Pat Leatherwood, Rich Gunderson, Ginny Fulton and currently Matt Sinkovits -- I accumulated enough gold and silver to qualify for Silver Life Master, but alas, I only have 500+ total. 500 more to go … one must have and set goals!

Susan Hillberry is a Silver Life Master!

She shared her story:

I was raised in Galena IL but spent most of my adult life in Chicago’s south suburbs working for 39 years and retiring from the Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad.

I did not have any time for bridge at that time in my life as I was heavily involved in Sweet Adeline's singing as a bass. My ten years with them was wonderful. With my chorus, we sang at Carnegie Hall and sang the Star Spangled Banner on home plate at Wrigley Field before 36,000 people and received a standing ovation. Too fun!

We also went to Scotland and sang with several choruses there. A wonderful experience, they treated us like gold.

When I retired, I moved to Rockford because a lot of my family lives here. A couple of old friends who played bridge, not from Rockford, encouraged me to go to the Rockford Bridge Center and take lessons. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

I LOVE BRIDGE!!! It has been my life since I retired. The Rockford Bridge Center calls itself the “King of Clubs” and believe me, it is just that. They are warm, friendly, encouraging and willing to play with you no matter your level. I certainly would not have attained Silver Life Master status without lots of help from everyone there, and I must say I am proud of achieving that level.

I have made many wonderful friends at the club who have given me a huge social outlet in my retirement years. I am grateful for all of them. I hope to have many more years of trying to beat my opponents at the table