Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bridge Ladies of Palm Harbor gather weekly — since 1969

PALM HARBOR — In 1969, Alice Giamo had just moved to the Spanish Trails subdivision in Dunedin and was looking for a way to pass the time while her two children were at school.

She had always enjoyed playing bridge, so she gathered a group of her neighbors and they started a weekly bridge club.

Forty years later, they're still at it.

Every Wednesday morning, eight women gather at the Thirsty Marlin Grill and Bar for cards, coffee and conversation — not necessarily in that order.

"Over the years, this has become a very social group," said Giamo, 76. "It's not just about bridge."

On a recent Wednesday, topics of conversation ranged from politics and the economy to purses and sports. Someone mentioned a familiar phrase and two women broke out in song.

The Bridge Ladies, as the group is informally named, has 18 members but not all of them play every week. Most of the women are now in their 70s and 80s and many of them have been playing for 30 years or more.

Several of the original players are still involved, but age-related pain and illness sometimes keep them away.

"We have one woman who is on 24-hour oxygen and others who use canes and walkers, but they still come out to play," said Carol DeRoeck, 75, who has been playing bridge with the group for 30 years.

The card-playing ability varies, but the women agree that they come out more for the fun than the competition.

"We have good players and crummy players," said Pearl Engel, 85, who is affectionately known as "Pearly May" by the ladies.

"We don't play for blood," said Lucy Carter, who, at 88, is the oldest player. "We try not to be critical."

The stakes aren't high in their weekly card games.

Each player pays $1 at the beginning of the game. They play five to six rounds of bridge, alternating partners, and the winner takes home $5. Second place pays $3 and the loser takes home a pile of pennies, which are accumulated throughout the morning, when a player underbids.

They enjoy playing bridge for a number of reasons, but they all agree it helps keep them mentally sharp.

"This is a thinking man's game," Engel said. "And I need it more than ever these days."

Most of the women in the group are from Dunedin, but there are players from all over North Pinellas.

Although the group has played together for years, they are always seeking new members.

"Bridge players are a dying breed," DeRoeck said. "The young people are not taking it up."

If you want to play

Interested in joining the Bridge Ladies? If so, call Carol DeRoeck at (727) 787-9685.

Bridge Ladies of Palm Harbor gather weekly — since 1969 03/31/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  2. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  3. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended


    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  4. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  5. The two Ricks tangle at what may be final debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — In what was likely the last mayoral forum before the Nov. 7 election, Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker started out small, discussing neighborhood issues like recycling and neighborhood funding. They ended tangling over familiar subjects: the future of the Tampa Bay Rays, sewage …

    Ex-Mayor Rick Baker, left, and Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, debated familiar topics. The Times’ Adam Smith moderated.