Traverse City Record-Eagle

History

May 23, 2011

Lifelines: Kids, seniors share stories

Trains, airplanes, art and love; it's like a poetry salad for a Memorial Day picnic.

In early March some Brethren students and I finished up another Elders Project sponsored by SEEDS.

Since then I've been polishing up the kids' poems and writing a few myself.

All the interviews were conducted by middle and high school kids.

The Elders Project reaches deep into the primitive origins of history, storytelling and poetry. At right are three samples of the folk poems culled from the event.

I'm always amazed at how much more alive the landscape becomes when you hear the tales intertwined with the surrounding area. I'd never given a thought to how High Bridge Road got its name. Now I know.

So all aboard the memory train. If you hear some little ghosts giggling in the bathroom, after the first poem you will understand.

Don Stewart (83) High Bridge

If you drive down High Bridge Road

south of Brethren

headed north"¦on the corner of River Road

and High Bridge,

you can see an old trail

coming through the woods

at an angle.

 

That's the old railroad grade

going up the side of the hill.

If you look east from the road

about ninety feet,

that's where the bridge was.

 

The High Bridge

crossed the Manistee River Valley.

If you wanted to go places

you took the train.

There weren't any roads,

just trails.

 

One elderly lady told me

a story about that train years ago.

Riding the passenger cars

across the High Bridge

she said looking out the windows

you couldn't see the bridge.

It was like flying.

 

They were just kids,

and would go in the bathroom

and flush the toilet.

There was no tank under the bowl.

The water poured out on the tracks.

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