Posted by: Dahni | June 28, 2009

Bridge to the Mansion on the Hill

by Dahni

© Copyright 2009

all rights reserved

This is Part (1) in a three part series: Today: ‘The Bridge to the Mansion on the Hill

Sometimes bridges can take you home and sometimes they can take you back.

There was once a father, grandfather and friend to many of what his wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many all called her ‘kidlits’ (little kids). He often had something to say about passing over the bridge that spanned a little creek, which usually had just a little water running through it. The driver would call out to the passengers and say, “there’s a lilwawa’ (little water), down there.” Then the truck or car,  sped up the gravel road to the mansion on the hill.

By every standard, the mansion was just an old four room drafty little house. For a long time it sat near the office of a noisy and dusty brickyard. It was built for the night watchman, but later, two new occupants lived there for many years, before there was running water and the outhouse outback, would come inside.

Through much feminine protest, the house was moved farther away from the clay silt and clatter of kilns, machines and men. Requirements were an indoor bathroom with a tub, inside plumbing, a garage and a place to do laundry with a wringer washer and clothesline for drying, whenever the outside weather was undesirable. It was still years later before an electric heater was installed in the bathroom, with just enough warmth to take the chill off.

There was a front door and especially the back door where many people and often strangers came for help, for money, for food and to be fed. Old wooden floors with rugs spread about, made it cheery, but it was still drafty. A cracked gray linoleum floor lay in the kitchen.

The kitchen was the focal point, central and warmest room in the house in many, many ways. It was in the kitchen where there was always the smell of fresh coffee perking on the stove or many and ample scents of food went wafting through the air. Children played with pots and pans or colored at the table. During a time when discrimination still persisted, coloreds or blacks sat at this same table and ate and partook of sweet fellowship.

The house sat out in the middle of nowhere, out of town, out of city limits, out of mind, unseen and unknown, but still, so many found their way here.

The occupants were sixty-five years of age before they moved from here. When first married in their youth, they lived with relatives for one month then in this house until, the day their first and only house was built. The new house was a grand house and built exactly as they desired, but nothing could compare to the old brickyard mansion on the hill.

The occupants are long gone. The house long ago has been torn down. The old rickety, clinking, clanking; one lane wooden bridge that led one here, remains only in memory.

This memory bridge led many to a lot of love and goodness and strength and honor, and caring, and compassion, and sharing. It was a mansion of heart that sat upon the hill and can never be torn down. Bridges so built ever remain. Sometimes bridges can take you home and sometimes they can take you back. The good things; the really important things, and all the truly great things of life are always, just over the bridge.

Lilwawa4WP

‘Lilwawa’

© Copyright 2009

Richard Coleman Hayden

all rights reserved

Just I-Magine,

Dahni

P.S. The story is true. The occupants of the old brickyard house on the hill, were our grandparents.

Note: Have you ever lost something and it was found by someone else? Such is the case of the story you just read. It was recently sent to me in an email from my brother Richard who also photographed the images of the bridge seen in the story. When I read the story, I remembered writing the words, but not when, the context they were written in or where I filed the story. It may have been sent out as a group email a couple of years ago? I searched my files and records to no avail. I am grateful to my brother for sending this along with the pictures. I reworked the story, edited his comments and added in his picture which has been resized.

D

“Dahni,

This was a meaningful connection and awakened my past memories, ones we both share. When I get time I will pass along to Carol Lee (our younger sister), as well. I took the photos in March of this year (2009,) and as you can see, there was more than a lilwawa’ running under it.”

Love ya,

Richard

Tomorrow Part (2) of 3 : ‘My Hero’


Responses

  1. This was such a wonderful heart warming story – I’ve heard you talk of your grandparents many times – glad you put it in print.


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