Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bridging the Gap

Los Angeles State Historic Park has been in the news a lot lately. This park is being forced to scale back because of California's budget problem. It's funny timing because I've been wanting to tell my story about about my connection to this place and it's place in L.A.'s history so here it goes.
I was thinking back to when I was a kid and remembered some of my dad's wacky ideas about cool things we should do while we were on his weekend. Looking back even now, I wouldn't agree with my mom ("He's just trying to get out of paying child support"). The guy wasn't trying to kill me. On the contrary, on this occasion (at least) he was trying to make sure I'd be able experience one thing he had been able to before it was too late and the chance was gone forever. The bridge you see used to stand over what was once a rail yard and is now a state park. It connected Broadway to Spring Streets and saved pedestrians a hell of a long walk. My dad thought it'd be a good idea for my sisters and I to cross it while we still had the chance(even though its entrance had already been locked and red taped). He dropped us off on Broadway, (on the far side in the pic) jumped back into his orange 1973 VW bus and told us he'd see us on the other side (Spring Street). Since we must have ranged in age from 7-11 at the time we figured he knew what he was doing, "what could go wrong?" We found the answer to that question half-way across the bridge when my younger sister's foot broke through one of the planks. My older sister and I rushed to pull her foot out and after that we hurried to get the hell outta there. Now, if you've ever seen that religious picture of the kids crossing the bridge with the guardian angel over them, that's exactly what we looked like.
When you live in Los Angeles (or just live anywhere long enough) you know how fast things change. Buildings are torn down so that others can be built... and then torn down. I'm able to tell my son what stood before the building that stands now and my dad can tell me what was there before that. This bridge was taken down in either the late 80's or very early 90's and loving L.A. as much as I do, I'm glad I got to cross it while it was still up (barely) . I do regret answering my mom's "What did you do with your dad this weekend" question. I know he wasn't happy I answered that either.
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1 comment:

  1. Great story. I grew up in the William Mead Housing Estates nearby and yes, that thing did save us from a looong walk to the northern end on Chinatown. As kids, we would tripple-dogg dare each other to drop down off that bridge down onto stationary cargo trains. A good 10 foot drop. I'm surprised none of us dummies perished then and there.