Lucky 13th Classics Scrabble Invitational

For the first time in its new location at 4 West Lafayette Street in downtown Trenton, Classics held its 13th Annual Scrabble Invitational, where the top 16 players from 2012 met to battle it out for the title of Grand Champion!

After a rousing America the Beautiful, non-lip synched by Trentonian Cherry Oakley (as befits all great sporting events), and after 5 consecutive rounds of play, the winner was determined.  Last year’s Grand Champion, Trentonian Megan Iurilli and number-one seed, Trentonian Eric Maywar, failed to make the final four.

The winners were

  • Tim Walker in 4th Place
  • 2-time Grand Champion Bruce Gross in 3rd Place.
  • 4-time Grand Champion Daniel Robinson in 2nd Place
  • and the 2012/1013 and Current Grand Champion is Barbara Keogh

Scrabble is played at Classics every Friday from 6:30 to midnight at 4 West Lafayette.  All skill levels are welcome.


Love, Scrabble and Bookstores

Najah Masudi once asked me if there were any love stories about Classics Books.  There are.  Little did she know one of them was about her own daughter!

Dan Robinson and his wife Sarah Ohls play Scrabble at Classics Books.  Sarah taught Dan how to play Scrabble years ago, and since then he has become the most feared player at the club on Friday nights.  They are often each other’s most dangerous competition: Dan has won the Annual Classics Scrabble Invitational Tournament three times; Sarah has won twice and earned a commendation from Trenton City Council for her skill.  But despite this bare-knuckled rivalry, their love is strong.  They have two young children and they are still married.

Kimberly Brennan uses Scrabble at Classics as a love barometer.  One cannot put on airs while they are being beaten by a 12 year old. So, she brings dates to the bookstore to test their mettle. It’s like placing a new ingredient into a stew pot and seeing what flavors come out. She’s brought four dates so far and is curious to see if the fifth one is the charm. 

Kallah Masudi once had this boyfriend, brought him to a bookstore, and found that he didn’t like to read. She filed him under “C” for “CU later!”

Here’s a short story about love and Scrabble by Ganga Moongilan.  The year was 1978, the year of the horse, and also the year in which all of the stars in all the galaxies aligned perfectly and two babies were born. One of the babies was born in India and the other in Poland, two lovely bundles of joy and poop for their lucky parents to feed and feed some more. As the two grew up in their respective lands and cultures, playing and frolicking about, little did they know that their parents had bigger ideas for the respective families’ futures. Thus, sometime in the late 1980s, when clothing styles were rather questionable as most of us can see by looking at our family albums, just as the two children were ready to take their frolicking up a notch, they were unceremoniously whisked away on big planes and transported to America, the land of promise and immigration. One ended up in Chicago, the other in New Jersey, which raised their chances of meeting to about one in one million. Eventually the Indian child moved to New Jersey as well because apparently New Jersey was the place to be at that point and time in history. The two blossomed awesomely, approximately 45 minutes from each other, one into an Americanized Indian woman, the other into an Americanized Polish man. They went to school, worked at jobs, and did many things their parents would greatly disapprove of if they ever found out. They even hung out in the same neighborhood without ever meeting. Eventually though, all of those same stars in those same galaxies that aligned perfectly in 1978, aligned again in 2010, and the two met for the first time, a meeting that mathematically should not have had the slightest chance of ever occurring. Yet it did happen, and eventually led to a pretty exciting romantic connection that led the two of them to stumble into Classics Bookstore on a random Friday night. They literarily stumbled too because earlier in the evening the two of them enjoyed a responsible amount of adult beverages. They sat down to a game of scrabble, and the rest is history.  The End.

Of course things didn’t really end with the initial scrabble game. Afterwards they visited the bookstore a bunch more times, sometimes to play more scrabble, sometimes to buy some books, and sometimes to just say hello. It’s a nice place, you know. And the two still work jobs, and read books, and do things their parents would greatly disapprove of if they ever found out.


Bookstore People: Activists and High School Students

This is part four in my series of cool bookstore people.  Links to the other installments can be found below.

Darren Freedom Green

Darren Freedom Green is a Trenton community activist of the first order.  He maintains an active FaceBook presence, calling people’s attention to civic issues and steps they should take to get involved whether finding their voice at City Council meetings, or supporting Bruce Boyd’s work with youth, or stepping up in emergency situations (like when elders needed help getting water and other basic needs met after an emergency), or volunteering to help make the walk home from school a safer time for our kids.  He hosts a Trentonian broadcast highlighting community members who are working to benefit Trenton.  He is one of the hosts (with Yolanda Robinson) of On the Reel Radio.  And he is a big booster for the Trenton Books at Home Program, that provides free books to kids in Trenton’s struggling school district.

A great Freedom quote: “I miss My Beautiful Grandmother who is no longer physically here. She NEVER placed any of the Babies in a “kids room.”  She made ALL of the FAMILY sit together.  She didn’t talk foolishness, or gossip, but she poured the history, the legacy, the TRUTH.  NOT of us coming from slavery, but of the pyramids, Mansa Mussa, and the GREAT KINGS/QUEENS of Mali/Kemet. She NEVER allowed us to disrespect ourselves, for she said ALL represented ONE FAMILY.”  

Kallah Masudi

Kallah Masudi is a student at Foundation High School.  She grew up at the Classics Scrabble Club.  Starting when she was 9 years old, Kallah was never afraid to mix it up with adults on the Scrabble board, holding her own with Trenton’s best.  She currently holds a club record—most points for a non-seven letter word.  A lover of anime and manga, she introduced me to Deathnote, which was really good!

A great Kallah quote-requote: “We are number one.  All others are number two…or lower.”

Earlier installments of Bookstore People

Scrabblers and Playwrights:

Poets and Lawyers:

Scientists and Photographers: