BY SALLY GRACIE
I was saddened to find notice of Mary Mattison’s death on the post office door. Her family had found a lovely photo of Mary, looking sweetly into the camera, cane in hand, in an outdoor setting. A service for Mary will be held on March 9, Saturday, at 2 p.m. at the Methow Valley United Methodist Church.
When I was living on Canyon Street, my first Twisp friends were my neighbors, Elva Scott and Ed Dunkin, and because Elva was a member of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), I began to attend Tuesday morning meetings at the Methodist church.
Mary Mattison was a member of TOPS for many years (she was more disciplined than I, and she was still there the several times I dropped out and when I returned). Through some of the women at TOPS, I was invited to substitute at Mary’s Friday bridge club.
My personal (private) title for the club was The Dowager Ladies Bridge Group. Several members were widows. Many were older – my mother’s generation – and respected in the valley community.
Besides Mary, two of the eight that I know of – Marty Groulx and Marian Court – have since died. As a bridge partner, Marty Groulx was the most intimidating, as she was a life master at duplicate bridge. My rusty skills were improved by playing across the table from Marty. On the other hand, Marian Court played “by the seat of her pants” (according to others and Marian herself).
As I remember, Marian Court generally made her bids, but she wasn’t an orthodox bridge player. (Marian also rang the bell at TOPS when our talk got out of control.) Mary Mattison was neither intimidating nor unorthodox with the game. She took her bridge seriously and was an excellent player.
Those Friday afternoon bridge games will be part of my memory of Mary because of one terribly misplayed bridge hand. The last time I substituted we played at Mary’s house on the hill. I remember having terrible cards all afternoon, and just wanting to stir things up.
Mary was my partner. When it came time for me to raise her opening bid, I threw all I knew about bidding out the window. I bid a baby slam. Mary looked skeptical. The fact that our opponents had opened, too, gave her good reason to be.
When she laid her hand out, I could see that, unless our opponents did something dumb, I would go down several tricks. They didn’t. Do anything dumb. I went down three or four tricks. I was ashamed of myself. Dear Mary didn’t say a word. She must have been distressed with me, but the only sign was a near imperceptible raising of her eyebrows.
Mary was a lady. Of the old school. Her manners were impeccable as were her clothes and grooming, especially her pretty white hair. Her treatment of others was kind, always thoughtful. She loved reading – she was one of the members of the community who got the Twisp Library started. She loved her dogs, the big one and the tiny one in the years I’ve been in Twisp. I am happy that I got to know her – if only a little bit.
A few changes have been made in Twisp Library’s routine. Storytime on Tuesdays begins at 1:30 p.m. from now on. Books ordered from NCRL may arrive on Wednesdays, when the library is open until 5:30 p.m., or Fridays, when it’s closed. For a small system, NCRL does a heroic job.