Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Tie that Binds

I will still write for the Greenville Advocate and post the column here. Here is this week's column.

It was on a field trip in elementary school the first time I crossed it. I hadn't thought about it for years. The boys stood in the middle of the bridge bouncing it. I just wanted to get on the other side. Many, many years later I would cross it with my family. My son and son-in-law also insisted on bouncing the bridge. Boys will be boys. But that first time is etched in my mind.

Going to Greenville, visiting the library, walking through Garst Museum, going to Memorial Hall, wading in the fountain in the park then later swimming in the pool, walking across the swinging bridge were all big events for a country girl. Our class trips took us out of our cocoons into a bigger, interesting world. From the swinging bridge and our first train ride in second grade, we advanced to the 1965 World Fair in New York City. We took another train that took us to the biggest city we had ever seen. We stayed in a hotel, visited China Town and went to the top of the Empire State Building. We saw Alain Delon in movie The Yellow Rolls Royce at Radio City Music Hall. It was there we also saw a ballet where dancers danced beneath a blue fabric sea. We visited distant countries at the World's Fair. And, we returned home on the train with a casket of a young soldier in the baggage car.

From grade school to high school, we were given new experiences that helped give us wings to fly. I was one of the first students to attend Wright State University. Had I known they were going to have a great theatre program, I would have stayed. I was given the courage to step beyond what I knew to experience new things. I was sent as a state representative for the FHA when I was a freshman. It was the first time I had been away from everyone I knew and a first time to be out on my own. I survived and became a stronger woman for the experience. Our teachers opened the world to us. I received a wonderful background in my English classes that has been a gift to this woman. We had teachers who wanted us to succeed....and we did.

We walked across a swinging bridge. We sat onboard our first train. We shared experiences with our classmates for twelve years. Now we are scattered. But the roots of Neff Road run deep. Blest be the ties that bind.

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