The Card Party
No one remembers when or how it got started or how it evolved.
It was just known as the Card Party. Every Wednesday night the women would gather at a member's house -- pennies in purses for the poker. Refreshments were served, usually, half way into the night.
From each pot, money was taken and put in a "pushkee" which paid for the annual dinner at Everett's restaurant, located between Spring and Canon streets on the approach to the old Ashley River bridge.
The Card Party roster was Mama, Aunt Heika, Aunt Golda, Luba Brickman, Gussie Feldman, Luba Gretenstein, Mary Solomon, Anna Rosen, Fanny Golden and Rose Feldman, the first to die. (Gussie Feldman was the last to die).
All except one,Anna Rosen, were European born. All except Mrs. Solomon and Mrs. Brickman were wives of grocers. Mrs. Brickman's husband had a clothing store; Mrs.Solomon's husband had a dry-goods business.
Mrs. Solomon was also the only one to live outside of Charleston -- in Moncks Corner.
With few exceptions, the women brought up families above their husband's businesses.
For most, Yiddish came easier than English. Accents were heavy.
Their families numbered from one to five -- with Mama and Aunt Heika the leaders at five. The" kiender" were always a topic of conversation between the "raises" and "calls" of the poker activity.
These "kiender" grew up and rarely stayed in the family business. They became lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers and even a newspaper man.
There were many family ties in the group. Mama and aunt Heika were sisters; aunt Golda was married to their brother, Harry; Golda's brother, Zavel, was married to Heika. Gussie Feldman and Mary Solomon were sisters. Their brother was married to Anna Rosen. The brother of Bill Feldman, Gussie's husband, was the first husband of Mrs. Gretenstein. Bill Feldman was the brother of Rose Feldman's husband, Ruby.
The "keinder" united, too. Frances Solomon, Mary's daughter, married Lester Gretenstein. Fay Cohen, Heika's daughter, married Jack Brickman, son of Luba.
Not all the ladies drove cars so there were car pools. Nearly all the offspring remember having the driving duties -- and not always fondly. Conventional family wisdom is that Jack didn't learn to drive until he went into the Army because he didn't want to drive the ladies. Jack says this is a
Bennie Goldberg remembers that the conversation in the car pools could become heated. "It was always the same thing.
Everybody wanted to be dropped off first."
The children were recruited as drivers because the husbands were at their businesses. Occasionally, a husband would show up as the game was close to finishing and take his wife home.
No one knows when the game ended -- only that it lasted a long time.