Story Weekend: Bridges

Driving onto Topsail Island yesterday, I was stuck in traffic because the old swing bridge was open to let boats pass through on the intracoastal waterway. It’s the one place I don’t mind being stuck. Sitting there, I could already feel my body shifting to island time, even though I was accompanied by my computer, my manuscript and hours and hours of work ahead of me. I never mind sitting in my car, watching that old bridge lazily swing open and the boats slowly sailing beneath. It reminds me of the bridge from my childhood in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, the one I wrote about in The Bay at Midnight. It reminds me to slow down. (The video is one John made of the swing bridge in the evening light).

Tell us about the bridges in your life. They can be literal or metaphorical. Whatever you like.

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.

▪   Avoid offensive language.

Have fun!



  1. Debbie Hearne on May 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Life is about crossing bridges. There was a time that I thought some bridges were too high, some too narrow, some too long. You just have to take that first step to cross a bridge, then it gets easier. I look forward to seeing what’s on the other side these days!

  2. Nicole Spivey on May 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    The bridges in my life are literal bridges. I cross a short bridge every day to get to and from the town that I live in. Everytime we cross that bridge, my two year old daughter says, “See the water, it is beautiful.” Another bridge that I cross several times a year is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This bridge connects Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is close to twenty miles long and includes two tunnels. There is a twelve dollar toll. I have been over it so many times, that I don’t really take time to take in the sights. It is an amazing sight for those people that don’t get to see it often.

  3. Diane Chamberlain on May 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Deb, your positive attitude made me smile. Nicole, how cute about your daughter! And I know that loooooong bridge. It’s easy to forget how extraordinary it is after about mile 15!

  4. Nicole Spivey on May 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Diane, did you ever have the opportunity to cross that bridge when there was only one bridge instead of two. There was one lane going north and one lane going south. There never seemed to be enough room especially when a tractor trailer was going in the opposite direction.

    • Diane Chamberlain on May 6, 2012 at 11:58 am

      I can imagine! That was “before my time”.

      • Nicole Spivey on May 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

        I remember that. When I was a child I did not think much about it, but now I am so glad it is not like that any more. I would say it has been less than 20 years since there have been 2 spans.

  5. JoAnne McCrone-Ephraim on May 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    True confessions of a bridge enthusiast; I love them, especially bridges spanning bodies of water! When the Verrazano was completed in ’64 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and I was so excited I had Nick drive us over 4 times. Actually, I am amazed he hid his acrophobia for so long since I was addicted to the bridge and would drive to Brooklyn.for any reason; it was a real rush!

    Nick confessed decades later, during a 5 Boro Bike Tour when I stopped in the middle of the Verrazano to take photos, that “true love” was the only reason he crossed over it when it first opened. Bridges; definitely the low point of Nick’s day whenever he has to cross one, while it could easily be my high point and the higher and longer the better:)

  6. Betty Taylor on May 6, 2012 at 4:45 am

    It was not much of a bridge just an old wood one painted white.It was over a widish drain leading to a farm but was so full of memories for me.Childhood memories and teenage ones.Boyfriends girl friends we all met at the white bridge”.See you at the white bridge ” just one more time.

  7. Sheree Gillcrist on May 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I am a covered bridge. I have been disloged by drunk drivers, I have been scarred by the winds of change and the weight of water on the solitude of my life. I have coveted and been covered. I am old with my barn board grey exterior artificaily inseminated with the colours of youth and I have gone in and out of fashion and I am still here waiting for my love of life and words to become contagious. I have stood on the stormy decks of the passagfe of my life and wondered if I was going to drown and still I am here. I am as enduring as time. I am a covered bridge.

    I raised my children in a village with the only two covered bridges to span the same river in the world and my solitude, my sanity is their endurance. One leads to the coastal vista of the Bay of Fundy while the other leads to a steep hill called Hard Scrabble which has become an by line to my life but like Kris Kristofferson sings, The going Up was Worth the coming down. Isn’t it always?

  8. Amy F on May 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Bridges. Bridges. I hear the word BRIDGE and I think melt down. I hope that what I lack in patience I overcompensate in personality. The bridges near my home are perpetually under construction or backed up which sometimes leads to meltdowns (mine, not the car’s). The Walt Whitman bridge must be crossed to get to the Jersey shore. It’s long and high and ripe for anxiety attacks. My worst bridge decompensation story happened leaving Atlantic City to go home and involved an open drawbridge. I expect delays, anxiety, and stress when using bridges and know all the tricks to combat them. But, they seldom help me de-escalate from my Type A-ness. Still, I never let a bridge stop me from reaching a destination. I’ll leave metaphoric bridges for another day.

  9. Margo on May 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Yes Sheree, going up is ALWAYS worth coming down…as always, your story was beautifully said and made me sit and think.

    • Sheree Gillcrist on May 7, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Margo. Life is a long journey of building, crossing but never burning bridges I think. My dad used to say never to burn a bridge as you never knew when you might need to cross it again.Father daughter wisdom:}

  10. Margo on May 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

    The beauitiful hills of Madison County are only the start to the beautiful bridges that have stood there for many years. Clint Eastwood knew it was the perfect setting for THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and indeed each bridge has a story to tell from years gone by. Although I have always wanted to live by the sea, the beauty of hills and valleys, clean air and covered bridges of our State make me happy to be a country girl. Beauty can be found everywhere, whether by the seashore or inside a covered bridge on 100’s of acres.

  11. Wanda on May 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Bridges to me are more metaphorical, though there have been some literal ones that I have crossed with great apprehension. The long one across the water in Pensacola Florida was the worst for me. I hated crossing that bridge and would literally close my eyes and pray every time my husband drove across it. I would not drive it. My fear of bridges comes from a suspension bridge across Taroko Gorge. As a child we lived in Taiwan and my parents took me with them on trips around the island to learn more about the culture. Crossing this bridge was scary enough considering how high it is, but rotten boy on the tour decided to make it swing back and forth when I was about half way across. I froze in pure terror and my father literally had to put my feet on his and have me hold on to his arms and walk me the rest of the way across and he had to do the same to get me back across it. Since that day I have been terrified of heights and long bridges.

  12. Diane Chamberlain on May 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Wanda that would have finished me as well. I hate swing bridges!

  13. Corey Ann on May 7, 2012 at 12:14 am

    While I’ve always loved photography, what got me back into my passion was covered bridges. I dated a total jerk of a guy for about a year and one of the gifts that I got from that disastrous relationship was a love for covered bridges and a rekindling of my passion for photography. One of the best days I’ve ever had was spent with him (darn!) going all over the state photographing these gorgeous bridges in their magical landscapes. Since then I’ve continued taking photos of them and have drug other friends along for the ride and sparked the interest in the bridges for them as well. They are just a simple charming way to revisit a simpler time in history before everything was electronic and when craftsman were able to take the time to make things unique and beautiful.

  14. Bruce Cassler on May 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    During the period of my own psychotherpeutic analysis (in training to enter the profession) I had many bridge dreams. They involved a variety of drivers, vehicles, bridges, conditions of danger, etc.; but none of them ever involved reaching the other side of the bridge. My last bridge dream involved a safe crossing on a solid bridge in a good car with myself at the wheel. I have never had another since tjat last dream. The “other side of the bridge” was totally unremarkable, but it was my side and my life choice. I never regretted “crossing over”. As is always the case, I brought my old neurotic patterns with me in new and more challenging forms, but I possessed a new way of dealing with them that has kept life interesting.

    • Diane Chamberlain on May 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Bruce, fascinating. Mine were ‘baby dreams’. our dreams are so amazing when we take the time to listen to them. You gave me an idea for a blog post…thanks!

  15. Bruce Cassler on May 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

    You’re welcome–from Holly Ridge, three miles north of the swing bridge.


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