The Last Time I Was Ever on a Swinging Bridge

By Pam Brennan

When I was a kid there used to be swinging bridges all over Southern West Virginia. Most of them were in disrepair from nonuse and have since been torn down. The few that are left are mostly preserved as a part of our history.

I used to love to visit my cousin’s house at Chauncey, West Virginia.  Toni and Bunky and Little Man were the same ages as we were and we loved to play together. Toni and Bunky and I loved to do cheers and they loved to “go walkin” through the camp. Of course we always had to ask permission before we left and the last thing our moms would say was “Stay off the swinging bridge”. Of course that was where we always ended up.

That bridge was nothing but dangerous. It was at least 50 feet long and it was suspended about 20 feet over a trickle of a creek. The boards that were left were rotted and broken and just plain old mostly gone. You had to step carefully and hold on to the cables that suspended the bridge to get across it.

One day Toni and Bunky caught me in the middle while one of them was on each end. We always thought it was fun to swing the bridge on people (which made it incredibly hard to get across), but this time they were particularly violent. They were swinging both sides of the cables so wildly that it was like being in the middle of a double dutch jump rope! This was with nothing beneath me. I literally had to hug the wires to hold on for my life. I was petrified.

When they finally stopped I was so scared that I could not move either way on the bridge. I was sure that the second that I moved they would start swinging the cables again. (and they probably would have) They spent so long trying to talk me down that our moms came to find us. They were horrified to find me suspended over that creek unable to move in any direction. (they couldn’t come get me because the bridge would never have held the weight of an adult!) Finally they talked me off the bridge.

To add insult to injury my cousins denied their part in stranding me on the bridge. In fact they told our mothers that they warned me NOT to get on it. When I made it safely off the bridge I got my rear busted all the way back to my aunt’s house.

THAT was the last time I was ever on a swinging bridge.

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