…And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it’s seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past.
I am four, maybe five years old and it’s dusk and it’s summer and I’m barefoot. I’m walking with my sister, and I’m wearing a dress and it feels like we’re far from home. We’re on the bad side of suburban wasteland, somewhere we don’t belong. House after house, pastel stucco. California. Treeless streets and smog.
My sister and I take a shortcut over a pedestrian bridge — a footbridge in Southern California. She tells me if we tell our parents where we’ve been we’ll get in big trouble. The bridge has a protective cage, but I don’t feel protected. I am so afraid.
The kids’ school let out for summer break yesterday. I’ve been making lists of things I want to do with them over the next nine weeks. First on the list (since the pools and spray grounds aren’t open yet) was the pedestrian bridge at Oklahoma City’s Woodson Park. I thought they’d get a big kick out of crossing it and boy, was I was right. Crazy, too, because it scared me to death. All those cars whizzing by underneath me got my adrenaline pumping.
Don’t look down!
The bridge crosses I-44, and connects Woodson with some soccer and baseball fields. Sullivan wasn’t afraid to cross it at all, and Bridgette wasn’t half as scared as I was! They laughed and giggled and thought it was thrilling. I closed my eyes and white knuckled the hand-rail from one side to another and back.
So, my plan is to document a mini summer adventure, The Footbridges of Oklahoma County. I’ve located six major pedestrian bridges in the region, and I want to take pictures of the kids crossing them all before the end of summer.
I’ve lived in Oklahoma City since I was 17. I’ve passed the footbridges over I-44 every week for more than 25 years. Every time I see them, I think of that day in Hacienda Heights when I was so afraid. I don’t like this memory. It stirs feelings in me that I associate with other unfortunate events. I want to forget it once and for all, and since I can’t, I want to confuse it with happy memories.
From now on, when I drive under the pedestrian bridge at I-44 and Woodson Park, I’ll hear the sound of Bridgy squealing with delight and remember Sully smiling big and saying, “I’m not scared at all.”