Monday, December 30, 2013

"Down in the Dump" below the Sidaway Bridge...

[First-time readers on Cleveland, Ohio's Sidaway Suspension Bridge are directed to my earlier articles on this website, from both 2011 and 2012.]

This long-postponed blog is in memoriam to Larry Lindsey, one of several "bridge-area" residents who I have had the pleasure of meeting since August, 2011. He is pictured here during our sole meeting, on Monday, April 9, 2012, just months before he passed away unexpectedly.
 Larry Lindsey with a part of the Heritage View Homes behind him, on the site of the Garden Valley Projects
 where he spent much of his youth (Monday April 9, 2012)

Whatever my timing, my hope is that the memories of Larry and others will aid in any efforts to revive and re-use the bridge.

I met Larry just after my most sobering time to date in the area of the bridge - during an exploration which I covered a year ago in "Barriers to Preservation - a walk south of the Bridge on April 8, 2012".

His positive recollections happened to largely be geared to the idea of nature in the city which I had already thought of as maybe the major basis on which the bridge can be re-used, and also took me out of the modest emotional "dump" where I had just been - saying that deliberately, as his greatest joy was in recounting time "down in the 'Dump' " - an area for trash lying partly below the bridge during his youth.

On the one hand, a number of the aspects he recollected could be taken as very negative and labeled just as displaying inner-city strife and filth - starting with the City of Cleveland using part of the Kingsbury Run Valley as a trash site, and affirming the sense of division which the bridge came to connote, or, more concretely, how Garden Valley boys would fight with white boys from the south side of the bridge.

A lot of that side of the ledger, though, seemed to be within a warm glow, as one of his major emphases in our short discussion was of the Dump as a "playground" in what sounded like a very nature-filled area, Larry commenting that he was familiar with "every fruit tree down there, apple trees, grape vines, salamanders, strawberry fields, onion fields...I'm telling you, I knew everything that was down there...we had trails all the way down there."

This was punctuated and framed by the literal nature of 2012, as he twice noted seeing a red-tailed hawk as we spoke and added that there were deers downhill from the old Garden Valley area as of much more recent times.

It's likely that this "outstretched" view of him...

came as he said "that was my thing, the Dump," but it definitely was taken as he felt a sense of ownership and happy times.  While I am sorry he is not still here, I'll also remember the feeling he expressed of being "fired up (to explore the Dump)" and I hope that the excitement he felt in April, 2012 for nature and a human landmark is transmitted to others.


Larry Lindsey was born on March 28, 1954 in Meridian, Mississippi and passed away in Cleveland on Nov. 16, 2012. He grew up in the Garden Valley projects from ages 4-19, served in the United States Air Force, worked as an electrician thereafter and lived in both Euclid, Ohio and the West Side of Cleveland.

His wife Rosa, in a phone call I had with her this past June (of 2013) noted that she grew up in Garden Valley as well, and I want to thank her for letting me add his recollections to this website.

Additionally, my thanks to Allen Norris, seen here near his Heritage View home this past August....

Allen was a friend of Larry when both of them lived in the the Kinsman neighborhood and he introduced me to him in April, 2012.

[Additionally, Larry and I expressed a mutual interest in walking downhill from the bridge when I'd make a future visit, and I pursued that through three cards to him thereafter, with the last one coming after his passing.]

While I may make changes to this blog, it will remain dedicated to Larry.

No comments:

Post a Comment