Mark Blumenthal

The Smell of Success

Many bridge players think I an from Philadelphia as I learned how to play started and being successful when I lived there. However, most of my very good friends are aware that I was born and brought up in Boston.  As my mother lived there virtually her whole life until she passed away in 2007 at the age of ninety six, I often looked for an excuse to go there. In 1969 Boston had its usual Labor Day regional. I talked Don Faskow who was from Pittsburgh into going. Most importantly, probably the best of Philadelphia’s female players at the time, Helen Smith and Gloria Cohen (soon to be Rabinowitz) also agreed to go as the the final event was a mixed team. We were successful only in that as our team won the event.
I was staying in Boston for a few days after the tournament ended, but Helen and Gloria had reservations to fly back that night.  I had managed to get a bridge player friend of mine from the area, Marshal Spitz, to agree to drive them to the airport so they wouldn’t miss their plane. Throughout the tournament Marshall had parked in an alley behind some apartment buildings nearby. I agreed to walk the three of them to Marshall’s car. Evidently some of the building’s  residents were upset at Marshall’s having parked in their space for almost a week. When we got to his car we found it encrusted with manure.

At that point Gloria and Helen didn’t have time to find another ride or a cab. They had to keep the car’s windows open and their hands on their noses to keep out the smell throughout the almost half hour ride to the airport. Gloria now thinks it was hilarious. I doubt if she felt that way then.

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