A Bridge Too Far (Down)

181127 RichPete

[ Brothers Rich and Pete ]

November 27 – Awhile back, my nephew sent me a couple photos of a bridge near the town of Cambridge Springs some miles from Erie which he had just taken. Boy, did that bring back old memories of some things that he had never heard of before. So many things happened way back in the old days, and I never remember them until somebody brings up things that really fit together! So now you can sit there and read about why I remember that water in front of me.

I always wanted to be with my brothers, while my sister Skeets would rather stay inside with Mom. One day, Uncle Frank, I think it was, drove a number of us out to a bridge near Cambridge Springs. I can’t remember if all five of my brothers were there or not. Wouldn’t be surprised if Uncle Pete was too young to be with us. I was squashed in the front seat of the car with our cousin Bill and a couple brothers. You can be sure that I was pretty glad when we reached the bridge, parked the car on the other side, and took off for the bridge.

181128 Bridge 1909

[ The old bridge circa 1909 ]

Suddenly one of the guys decided to jump from the bridge to the water below, as it was no great deal to him. Then another, and another, till I was about the only one standing up on the bridge. Then I heard several of the guys shouting from way down in the water, swimming around, “C’mon, Sis, jump! You can do it! Don’t be afraid. We know you can’t swim, but we’ll get you out of the water when you jump.”

I don’t remember which meant the most to me! To look good in the eyes of my brothers, or just to show I really could do some things that I hadn’t tried before. Whichever it was, I decided quickly that I would jump and would have to do it right away before I got scared and would not be able to give in to my stupid desire of showing off! Now that bridge had railings or whatever that kept cars from driving off into the water, so I had to pull myself up till I would be able to jump. (Just now thinking of that dumb thing I did, I had a few old shivers go up and down my arms and back!)

181128 Bridge 3

[ View from the new bridge today ]

So I was now on the way down from the bridge to the water where several brothers and one first cousin Bill, were waiting for me. But they didn’t have to save me! While they started swimming towards me, I shot out of the water and started flinging my arms around and kicking, just to save my life. Well, I really WAS scared!

Finally, I reached the place where I could get out of the water, and my brothers caught up to me. I can well imagine that they were afraid I wouldn’t make it and that I might drown! When we had climbed back up to the bridge, they thought no more that I might drown. Instead, they kept telling me how really brave I was and that I could always save myself if need be. Then came their question. “Want to try it again? Betcha no other girl could do that once, let alone twice. We sure will tell all of the kids at school what you did, and you didn’t even act scared.”

181127 Bridge

[ New bridge, same location ]

Crazy me – strange how situations change when you hear that you can make even a greater impression on those about you, even though you might not live through the second time! Shorter story this time. I got up onto the bridge, looked down on my brothers way below, and JUMPED! No help from the brothers same as earlier. Instead I kept kicking my legs and trying to jump forward towards the shore, until for the second time that day, I had “saved” my own life.

As I continue writing this tale, I wonder if I would do that now. Of, course not – not because I would be scared, but because I am a little smarter in what I choose to do. I am also somewhat older than ninety, but not dumb enough to do such a crazy thing. I don’t think my mom ever knew what I had done that day. Why? Because my brothers had made me promise not to tell her, and I never did! Just another escapade suggested by my brothers, each of which pointed out that should I tell her, we would no longer be in future adventure together! – CHRIS

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