Friday, June 12, 2015

Bowled Over by Bowling Pins

As some of you already know, my Grandma Doris passed away earlier this year. Technically, Doris Elizabeth (Reid) Shepherd was my step-grandmother – my mom’s stepmother – but she’s the only grandmother I’ve ever known on that side of my family. My biological grandma, Elnora Mae (Cooper) Shepherd, passed away when my mom was 5 years old. (In a strange twist of metaphysical fate, both grandmothers passed away on April 1st, forty-eight years apart.)

One of the things Grandma Doris’ passing has meant is that a ton of her stuff is now at my parents’ house. Now that it’s yard sale season, we’re going through boxes and bags to see what can be let go, and what we want to keep (which, it turns out, is basically anything with sentimental value). Look what came out of one envelope of costume jewelry:

Grandma Doris was a bowler. Actually, that fails as a descriptive statement. Grandma Doris had a deep, abiding and passionate love of bowling and she gave a lot of her time and energy to both playing the sport and supporting it. Among her many bowling commitments, she was a member (and sometimes officer) of the Washington, DC Area Women’s Bowling Association for many years.

A love of bowling was something that my grandma had in common with her husband, my Granddad Louis, and my mom and aunt remember family trips to places like Lebanon, PA and Aliquippa, PA so their parents could compete in bowling tournaments. I didn’t find any Lebanon pins, but I did find a few from the Virginia State Women’s Bowling Association and the Ocean County, New Jersey Women’s Bowling Association:

She also had more than a few from the Women’s International Bowling Congress, plus one from the National Duckpin Bowling Congress:

(I’m not gonna lie – I had to look up what “duckpin bowling” was. According to, it is “a variation of 10-pin bowling where the balls and pins are significantly smaller making the game much harder.”)

In total, I counted 26 pins in that one envelope. I wonder if there are more hiding somewhere else? Either way, maybe we’ll come up with a good way of displaying these – my dad has already suggested mounting them in a nice frame for a conversation piece.

This is just a sliver of my Grandma Doris’ bowling story – I’ll be coming back to this topic more than a few times, so stay tuned! In the meantime, do you have a story or memory about Doris Shepherd the Bowler?

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