What Happened When, and a Bit of Nostalgia

Birthdays, anniversaries, personal events and time markers: I remember them. Ask me when Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) went on the clock, when New York State got, and signed, the TIFIA loan, when the first span will open.


I remember my first bridge meeting, and what else happened that March 22, 2012, night in Tarrytown. Like it was yesterday.

One year later, two Community Outreach Centers opened in Rockland and Westchester; next week, each will host its own grand opening of the New NY Bridge Art Show 2014, “Bridging the Waters.”

Dates are September 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Nyack, and September 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Tarrytown. The Visual Quality Panel will select a Best of Show and two runners-up at each site.

It’s fitting I mention the bridge art show today. My dad loved art and music, theater, comedy. He’d be excited about the prospect of art about the bridge. Mom can’t wait to see it. They both wanted to know what happened when I came home from meetings. When mom’s knee is better, I’ll take her to see what’s doing by the river. Today, we’re going to see the entries in Nyack.

* * * * *

Westbound on the TZB and, we thought, headed right for the water/Courtesy of Ian C. Ligget (photo July 2008)

Westbound on the TZB and, we thought, headed right for the water/Courtesy of Ian C. Ligget (photo July 2008)

My parents took my little brother and me upstate for weekends in the Catskills. The bridge was less than a decade old, tolls were much less, and motorists tossed their money into coin boxes. (Years later, when I became a driver, I sometimes missed: that meant stopping, opening the door, and searching for money that fell sight unseen. Wished the boxes had extended to the driver’s window.)

Mom and dad told us the bridge went towards the water, and our kid imagination went wild. We were sure we’d drive right into the Hudson River. So the first time we were on the bridge, at that crucial “going to get soaked” point, mom told us the bridge doesn’t really go into the water.

Still, she said, my brother closed his eyes, just in case. He’d learned to swim at camp, yet wasn’t fond of pools. Probably not rivers, either. And when he opened his eyes, we were past the dunking point, and I forgot what happened next.

* * * * *

Returning from college, seeing the bridge, knowing we were home. The SUCO bus left Oneonta at 4 p.m., and arrived at the County Center at 8:30 p.m.; the Tappan Zee Bridge was in view by maybe 8:10 p.m.

And then there was the time I missed the SUCO bus. Dad walked with me through a blizzard to the nearby train station (roughly half a mile, and a nice walk in good weather). We’re talking snow. He then rode with me to New York City so I could catch a bus to campus. A five-plus-hour trip from Port Authority.

* * * * *

Dad loved, and gave his all, to us, his family, his friends, his country. He served in the U.S. Army, sharing stories of his days in the South Pacific, and in Rome, NY, where he made airplane parts.

Missing you very much/Photographer: mom or Spence or me

Missing you very much/Photographer: mom or Spence or me

He passed away six months ago today.

My parents married on October 23, 1955, less than eight weeks before the new bridge opened. Dad passed away 24 hours before the final transit task force meeting. He would have wanted me to do the next right thing, like he did. I went, paid attention, wrote my story, and cried privately. Dad may have been there, too, because more cake than I ate was missing from my plate. Dad loved cake.

They bought their first car after they married. I wonder what it was like driving across the new bridge. My parents both had lots of stories, wonderful stories, about their childhoods, and teenage years and growing up, then how they met. A couple in love forever.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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