A bridge club in the Darlington area has been around since 1960, with several local women playing the game during the past 55 years.
Currently, just six ladies are part of the club: Mildred Burke, Sally Friske, Mary Jo Mottley, Rosie King, Jean Belanger and Rita Purcell. Among those six, three were part of the club when it was first started: Mildred Burke, Mary Jo Mottley and Rosie King.
The ladies meet on Thursday afternoons around 1 p.m., taking turns hosting the weekly event, and playing bridge until that evening, usually around 6 p.m.
Things have changed somewhat through the years the club has been active. In the beginning, the ladies played for prizes, then just for small amounts of change, but now they just play for the fun of it.
The meetings also used to be a little more elaborate with the hostess providing snacks or desserts, but now they usually just have coffee.
“It used to be a little more difficult to host,” said Rosie King. “Back when we had families with children and had to take care of lunch before hand, but now it’s simpler.”
The club roster went down from the typical eight members (allowing for two tables of the game to be set up) to just six about two years ago, when one member passed away and another decided to stop playing. Now the current members just take turns playing in rounds.
Back when the club was first formed, members learned to play bridge from some of the older ladies around town at that time, and Mary Jo Mottley explained that some of them even bought a book instructing them in how to play.
Women who have been a part of the club through the years include: Margaret Wanderscheid, Florence McNett, Jean Mottley, Millie Taschek, Elaine Bredeson, Patricia Haverty, Norma Bahowick, Dorothy Ehrich, Wilma Braun, Sandi Reichling, Mamie Donahue, Peg McKinley, Doris Daves, Lois Grange, Eileen Engelke, Ethel Schulz, Mary Peart, Hazel Stauffacher, Joanne Reichling, Mary Jo Mottley, Rosie King, Mildred Burke, Rita Purcell, Sally Friske and Jean Belanger.
Substitute players through the years have been: Mildred Chellevold, Mary Boyle, Irma Proctor, Grace Zaloudek, Lola Rielly, Jackie Ruf, Mrs. Ruf, Phyllis Sonsalla, Midge Steger, Kitty Wilson, Ruth Thompson and Ruth Hirsbrunner.