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Project Resilience: Cards And Friends With Mary Heers

Mary Heers

In this Project Resilience vignette, UPR producer Mary Heers tells us how card playing has helped her meet new people and make connections over the years.

On a family cross country driving trip, my brother, sister and I played a nonstop game of gin rummy in the backseat. When we got to Yellowstone, my parents suggested we look out the window. But then it was back to the game. It passed the time. 

When I started working in the Detroit Chrysler trim plant, I found the break room filled with whist players. I was the only white person in the room, but my Black co-workers let me into the game. Eventually, it led me into their homes, playing cards with their family and friends. 

When I retired from teaching at Preston High, I wandered into the bridge playing crowd- and found myself surrounded by older women, sharp as tacks, some in their nineties. 

Now in the midst of a pandemic with time on my hands, it’s a rare day I don’t spend a couple hours playing bridge. One game seems to lead to another. Just a game? More like an invitation into an ever-widening circle of friends.


Mary got hooked on oral histories while visiting Ellis Island and hearing the recorded voices of immigrants that had passed through. StoryCorps drew her to UPR. After she retired from teaching at Preston High, she walked into the station and said she wanted to help. Kerry put her to work taking the best 3 minutes out of the 30 minute interviews recorded in Vernal. Passion kicked in. Mary went on to collect more and more stories and return them to the community on UPR's radio waves. Major credits to date: Utah Works, One Small Step, and the award winning documentary Ride the Rails.