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Archive for January 3rd, 2009

Bridging a life

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At Cabot Cove near where I grew up in western New England, the Millers River meets the Connecticut. The Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio, erected a one-lane bridge over the Millers in 1898 for $7,000 — or so an old plaque on the cross-beam over the western end used to proclaim. Standing on the bridge, you can see the Connecticut rush by 100 yards downstream of the bridge. In spring, the Connecticut sweeps the surging effluent of Millers to the south and eventually inhales it, adding the silt of the Millers to its own.

The bridge connects East Mineral Road in Montague to River Road in Northfield. It’s no marvel — just a turn-of-the-century, strut-and-truss iron bridge with a paved roadway. Montague had the bridge inspected in 1989. The engineers from the state said the abutments – then made of stone — were unsafe. They had begun to shift and collapse, the engineers warned. The town closed the bridge, saying it could not afford to pay $100,000 to repair it, given how little vehicle traffic crossed the bridge. Years later, the bridge was modestly renovated as a pedestrian river crossing.

I think of 1988 as the year I left home. That’s the year I screwed up the nerve to leave the newspaper and go to graduate school at Evergreen, sight unseen. Whenever I return home, I visit this bridge. I love this bridge, but I can’t explain why. I only know that I am irrevocably connected to the bridge, and it is irrevocably connected to me.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized