To the editor:
I see by recent articles that I can no longer pretend that this day will never come - the demise of the Fort Steuben Bridge.
This piece of architectural history was an oft-mentioned item during my youth in Steubenville. "Mom, can I have this neat set of Annie Oakley stuff: a rifle, a vest, and a canteen?" Mom said, "No, we don't have money for stuff like that." "But the vest is real fake leather! All my friends are getting a set!" "If all your friends jumped off the Fort Steuben Bridge, would you jump off the Fort Steuben Bridge?" At this point in my education, I had no idea what the word "rhetorical" meant, but I did realize that this was not a question I was to answer.
I learned about those kinds of discussions when my mother told me to eat my carrots because there were children starving in China, and I kindly suggested that we pack up my carrots and send them to the children starving in China. That was also around the time when the nanosecond was discovered, as that was how long it took Mom to chase my skinny little body into my room at the end of the hall. Yes, this question was often raised in our house. It finally wore me down to the point where I didn't want to do what everyone else was doing, if only to avoid this discussion.
However, I have changed in my old age (62). In contemplation of my final days, I had decided to have my remains cremated and dumped off the Fort Steuben Bridge. On hearing this, my mother informed me that she would not be there to greet me at the pearly gates. Jeesh! But now I have to face the fact that after I die, I will be homeless. The new bridge is no substitute because I share no childhood memories with it.
I think ODOT or the salvage company should cut up the bridge sections into small pieces and sell them to old folks like me as reminders of the wonderful Fort Steuben Bridge (whether or not any of us actually jumped off of it.) I am extremely grateful for growing up in Steubenville and would value such a relic. Part or all of the proceeds from the sale could be used to send Annie Oakley stuff to the children in China.
Janine Armitage Bartram