Friends mark special day with party

Published 5:00 am Monday, March 26, 2007

Very few people can say they have had the same hobby for threequarters of a century, but 94-year-old birthday girl KathrynCameron can.

She has been playing bridge since high school, which is quite afeat, since she graduated about 76 years ago.

She continues her hobby to this day, however, playing bridgewith the group at the Brookhaven Recreation Department. On Friday,she celebrated her birthday with her bridge buddies.

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“I’m 49… turned backward,” she said. “That sounds a lot betterthan 94.”

She had some good-natured ribbing for her friends, too, whosurprised her with a birthday cake and snacks in between bridgegames on Friday.

“I can beat them in my sleep,” Cameron said, laughing with herfriend Mary Nell Smith of Brookhaven.

Her friends say they know she’s joking, but that it’s thetruth.

“She’s a lifemaster,” said Smith, speaking of the Masterpointsrating system used by the American Contract Bridge League for itsmembers’ card games.

Cameron, who used to play in tournaments, has almost 1,000Masterpoints in her lifetime, an achievement of which she’s veryproud.

“It’s almost 1,000,” she said. “I haven’t got 1,000 yet. I’m notsure that I will though, because it takes too long.”

Terry Reid, director of the Recreation Department, said Cameronis a regular and a favorite.

“She’s here faithfully, and usually we have about 30 people thatcome play,” he said. “The others just wanted to do something forher birthday because she’s so special.”

Cameron has lived in Brookhaven since 1930 and has played bridgeever since.

“It’s my life now,” she said. “I don’t do a lot of other things.I do it for fun, but also because it keeps my mind up andgoing.”

And Cameron said the idea that her friends at the recreationdepartment cared enough to remember her birthday was nice, but thefact that they honored her with a party was an added bonus.

“I am truly surprised and honored,” she said. “This wascertainly not expected. It’s a shock.”

Katherine Huckaby of Bogue Chitto was also instrumental inarranging the affair.

“We were happy to do it for her,” said Huckaby. “She’s a greatlady and a good friend.”