Judy Kay-Wolff

Tossing out the Trash …

So many of us have trouble parting with old memorabilia, clippings, letters, photos, condolence notes, personal tributes, creative invitations, column hands, WBF and NABC bulletins, monthly issues, etc. — and I am one of those culprits who must plead guilty.  Having owned trotters and pacers with my late husband Norman and operating a wholesale baseball card business for twenty years each, I have amassed a ton of unique sentimental collectibles (though not necessarily of any great monetary value).   Besides, our trophy room houses momentous bridge reminders of both Bobby’s and Norman’s combined plaques, trophies and priceless other commendations.  So, what is one to do with a an over-cluttered garage warehouse packed to the ceiling with dozens of boxes – including, among other things, cartons of cyberspace copies of emails on every imaginable subject — as Bobby says “from A to Izzard (izzard being the dialectic reference to the letter Z.)”   You get the picture.   It was really a sight for sore eyes – but that is going to change.

The first decision was to discriminate between the ‘worth saving’ and the ‘trash.’  It wasn’t as hard as anticipated (but I started only this morning and have made a miniscule dent).  The first things I rummaged through were boxes of Super Bowl Party Decorations (saved and accumulated from Norman’s and my last four years in Philly) where we entertained and hosted up to seventy people with the customary casino propositions:   “who scored first?” “who got the first penalty?,” “which team scored the first field goal?” etc .”   We did have one fun-packed SB Party here in LV but I have neither the strength nor desire to repeat the ordeal, so I am awaiting a return call from a friend who has been throwing them here in Vegas — hoping 2011 (and my complimentary decorations offer) will elicit a positive response.

I made a painstaking decision to ‘get rid’ of the nonsensical collectibles I had been saving (but being an old legal secretary and the daughter of a lawyer, it is difficult to part with anything for fear of needing to produce it forty years later).   But today I am proud to say I embarked upon my Project of Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish Campaign.

The first several boxes were an outstanding collection of email excretions concerning my abominable AWMW by an inept AC (based on an even worse case scenario where my opponents got away with homicide) and eventually Bobby appeared before some committee sixteen months later who voted to rescind the AWMW but not before sending my blood pressure skyrocketing — never to return to earth.   However, I know I am not the only one who innocently suffered at the hands of some unqualified knuckleheads and I won’t be the last!

Now on to the actual inspiration (if you can call it that) for this blog (an ugly belligerent letter found isolated in one of the cartons),   Following the publishing of The Lone Wolff, we received hundreds of calls, notes, letters and emails from ecstatic readers (plus handshakes, hugs, kisses and backslaps at tournaments) in appreciation for Bobby’s much called-for candor for unleashing so many of the bridge skeletons.  In addition, the reviews from the columnists were astoundingly positive — except for one standout nit-picker who shall remain nameless.  (You know there’s always one in every crowd).

Before copying and pasting this infamous email sent to Bobby two and a half years ago, out of the goodness of my heart, I was compelled to omit the writer’s name, country and other give-away references.   However, when I checked with one of his countrymen, this was the reply:

  “____  ______ is himself an angry embittered old man.   He is a retired lawyer and probably one of the most disliked people in the ____________ bridge community.”   (Not a great shock!).   Incidentally, the complainant doesn’t believe in the use of capital letters, paragraphs or Spell Check.

It is a DOOSY, I warn you.   So – with tongue in cheek — here goes:

dear mr wolff,

i recently read with great anticipation the lone wolff, expecting to be enlightened & enriched about many of the behind the scenes aspects of the bridge world of which many of us are not aware.

instead, regretably i was subjected to the ramblings of a bitter & obviously very angry old man who had so many negative things to report about so many people.

some of this negativity was in no way even related to the supposed spirit of the book. why you would shed criticism on the bridge abilities of your former deceased friend jim jacoby or the very famous charles goren. this

accomplishes nothing other than to portray you as a childish gossip. are you really trying to plant the seed that meckwell cheat or that hamman dumped you because of a few bidding misunderstandings? based on the way you portrayed yourself in the book it is a wonder that the nickell team coped with you as long as they did.

you may be surprised to know that there are so many of us who are ethical & contribute to the game only for its joy & not for personal gain or prestige. you are not its only saviour although it might be difficult to convince you otherwise.

you are particularly critical of _____s. i do not know if it is because of a ruling given by a _____ or because the inflammatory email originated in ______or if it is just general ignorance about who we are.

it would however be most helpful if, when reporting, you got your facts straight.

i was conduct & ethics chairman of unit ___ in the late _____s & had direct contact with you over an incident involving a regional swiss where 2 of our very best teams squared off in the 7th match when both were totally out of the event. they inadvertently sat in the same direction & out of ignorance reported the result as a tie. there was no incentive of master points or financial gain. after a long investigation i felt that the apology recieved was appropriate. this was discussed at great length with ________ & yourself & you both agreed with me. yet in your book you accuse the ________s of ulterior motives. the teams in question had some of our very best–____________ (eight names).

for this misrepresentation, you owe the ________s an apology.

you on a number of occasions criticize the quality of the teams represented by _____internationally. we are a much smaller country whose teams are not sponsored & whose players are for the most part not professional. yet we go through a gruelling & lengthy process to choose our international teams. i was fortunate enough to be on the open team that went to______  in ____. i consider myself a competent player but certainly not in your category & certainly not world class on any regular basis. the thrill of being there will never be forgotten by any of us & the ability & opportunity of any player to achieve this is one of the virtues that distinguishes bridge. from so many other games. i simply shall not allow you to belittle _____’s international accomplishments.

your book is totally silent on this issue. sometimes bridge appears to be your own personal game. we do not have a nickell or cayne or brackman to sponsor us.

for a moment i considered airing this letter publicly in the bulletin or bridge world etc but on reflection & at this late stage in life i do not wish to resort to your level of childish & immature behaviour.

yours sincerely,

____   ______

Tomorrow, I will follow up with Bobby’s magnificent teeth-clenching, self-restrained response — manifested by undeserved civililty.  JKW


ChuckSeptember 5th, 2010 at 6:00 pm


Can’t wait to read Bobby’s response tomorrow — but how can an old geezer obviously with little knowledge of rules or laws, far from a bridge authority and having so little personal information of specific situations, be such a harsh critic of one who has been there in spades! Beats me.

By the way, loved your story of Susi and Harry — such an incredible tale and magnificent tribute.

Your blogs are so varied!

Judy Kay-WolffSeptember 5th, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Thank you, Chuck.

There are few advantages to growing older, but having storage units in both head and house, rarely allows one to run out of stories — mostly bridge related.

My most memorable visions are from the Sixities … of the great ladies and gentlemen of the game — in talent, prominence, dress and stature. The bridge innovations of today have undoubtedly improved — but much of the class, decor and elegance fell by the wayside.