Sunday, October 17, 2010

There are bridges, and then there are bridges

While a huge population of the mystery community is gathered in San Francisco right now, we're seeing lots of pictures of the famous, beautiful, Golden Gate Bridge.

(taken by Tasha Alexander)

And rightly so.  It's gorgeous.  And brings with it a lot of history and romance.

But there's another little bridge that has a very special place in my heart.  

It's not well known and even to the people who know it well, it probably rarely sparks the emotion it does for me.

It's this wonderful bridge that takes you into Cambridge, Maryland across the Choptank River.  

The second our car wheels hit that bridge heading toward Cambridge I start crying.  It's just so beautiful, and my heart knows it's home.

We won't even talk about how hard I cry when the car wheels hit that bridge when we leave. 

Although I've always heard it referred to as "The Bridge," the real name of the original bridge is The Emerson C. Harrington Bridge.  

The Emerson C. Harrington Bridge began construction in 1933 and was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935.  Prior to that, ferries were used to cross the river. Presiden Roosevelt was on board his presidential yacht Sequoia, when it became the first vessel to pass through the draw.

The President delivered a congratulatory speech at Long Wharf in Cambridge, which is now the site of the Harbor.

A memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the faux smoke stack (it was actually an elevator shaft) from his later Presidential yacht, U.S.S. Potomac, is located there.

The Emerson C. Harrington bridge that was there all my life while I was growing up was this reallllly really narrow, scary narrow, 2 lane bridge.  Plus there was a sidewalk that ran the entire length of it that people used to stand on to fish.  I swear to God - you never knew when someone might reel in a fish with too much enthusiasm and it end up slap on your windshield.  (well, okay, I made that part up.  I never ever heard that this happened, but it could have, right?!)

When they built the new bridge in 1987,  they used remains of the old bridge to build a fishing pier adjacent to the new bridge.  Which I thought was very cool.  That old bridge has a lot of memories attached to it.  Memories I'll never accumulate with the new one, since my only forays across it are the visits we now make home every few years.

I remember sitting in the car waiting while the bridge gate keeper would open the swing span long enough for boats with tall masts came through.  Traffic would back up pretty often for this.  And that was all that man did all day long.  Sit in that little room on that bridge and wait for big boats to come by so he could open and close the swing span.

Give me a stack of books, sit me in that room on that wonderful bridge with a view across my beloved Choptank and I'd be one very happy camper, I do believe.  

for real.

So long as this cute guy wasn't too far away . . . 

oh yeah - or this little guy - - -


Mason Canyon said...

A wonderful tribute to a bridge that does hold a lot of history. It was neat that they used parts of the old bridge to make the fishing pier.

Thoughts in Progress

Peg Brantley said...

The bridge that lives in my heart? That I pray is real?

The Rainbow Bridge.

In case you haven't heard of it, on this side of the bridge are the beloved pets who have gone before you. They're waiting. For you.

If anyone would like a copy of the story of The Rainbow Bridge, I'm happy to oblige. It'll just take you a few clicks to get there.

Or, leave a comment here with your email, and I'll oblige.

Kaye George said...

I connected with you when you said you cry when you reach the bridge. Mine isn't a bridge, but anywhere with tall trees, real grass, and real dirt. Like where I grew up in the Midwest. I cry when I see towering trees. In Central Texas, a tall tree is not very tall!

Jill said...

What a sweet post Kaye!

Vicki Lane said...

My favorite bridge is the Barnard bridge across the French Broad River. It means I'm only two miles from home. It's such a laid back bridge that I can pull to the side and take pictures -- always trying to catch a good shot of the blue heron that's usually there ... or look for the osprey I saw recently.

I like it so much that it shows up in all my books...

Kaye George said...

I love the sound of your bridge, too, Vicki. I'm an amateur but avid bird watcher.

I grew up on the Mississippi so there are several I'm attached to.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Mason, I thought that was very neat too.

Oh Peg. The Rainbow Bridge ALWAYS makes me cry. I have quite a few little buddies over there.

Kaye, isn't it funny the things that can stir our heart strings? My heart strings and my tear ducts are connected somehow.

Thank you, Jill!

Vicki - I love this. This is pretty special that a place you enjoy can be a part of each of your books. It's sort of like putting your favorite picture in a locket.