Mark Blumenthal

Tales of the Giant Crab – 6

Walt’s fortunes in love may have been worse than many of his results in bridge until he won Kathie’s hand many years later. When I met him in college he claimed to be engaged. Supposedly, he and his fiancé had actually once run away to Maryland intending to wed but had not gone through with it when they got there, and after that had lost contact.

Several years later they had happened to meet accidentally and started dating again. Since Walt was at loose ends at the time, her father, who owned a restaurant in Atlantic City, hired Walt as its manager. By this time Walt was playing bridge. In June there was a regional there. Walt played in an afternoon session, and married the girl after the first session and resumed play in the evening without telling his partner ,  Don Smolen,  what had done.

Walt happily finished playing in the tournament and went back to work. However, three days later his wife asked if she could see her mother for a day to tell her personally about the marriage. Walt agreed. That was the last he saw of his wife. Her parents, angered at the way Walt had wed their only daughter, had the marriage annulled. Of course, her father no longer wanted Walt to be his restaurant’s manager. By marrying the boss’s daughter Walt lost his job!

Undeterred, Walt found another love when he moved to Washington. Her name was Carolyn Gillis. Walt knew her because she was teaching in the area and occasionally babysat for the Parkers. Unfortunately, she moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Walt piled up a near fortune in telephone bills as he talked to her for hours virtually every night. On many weekends he drove to Providence to be with her. He was even talking about marriage plans. It happened that there was a regional in Long Island, New York at that time. Walt already had a date to play in it with a partner of his, Bill Daly. As Bill lived in Boston and Providence was more or less on the way to Long Island for him, so Walt, not relishing driving the extra three hundred miles to pick up Carolyn and drive her back, thought of having Bill give her a ride to and from the tournament site. Walt gave careful instructions so Bill could find her house and so they would know each other.

Bill successfully found Carolyn and took her to the tournament. Walt and Bill played together as had been planned. When Walt asked Carolyn how she had liked Bill, she indicated he seemed like a nice guy. Walt continued calling Carolyn as much as he could , and everything seemed fine. About a few weeks after the tournament Walt was talking to her one night, and she said, “Oh by the way, Bill and I are getting married in two weeks.” Never one to hold a grudge, Walt offered to be the best man at the wedding.

1 Comment

Don SmolenFebruary 4th, 2009 at 4:35 am

Hi Mark,

Great stories. It’s a real pleasure to read about the ‘old days’, so please keep them coming. I was Walt’s partner on the day of the marriage you described. I recall this very pretty young woman showed up and kibitzed during the afternoon session and left with Walt right after the session ended. They were late returning for the evening session and we almost had to get someone to fill in. And as you said, I didn’t find out what had happened until much later. I was oblivious to much that went on around me in those days and this is one of the best examples of that.

Hope you are well. If you ever write an entry on Losing Smolvick, I will leave this earth feeling that I have seen everything.

dsmolen at comcast dot net

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