Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Roots

Recently, I've realized that I am getting older. I know this because I am saying things like, "I remember when they built that chimney." OR..."I went up and down those stairs more times than I can remember."

I have found I have a strange attachment to concrete edifices and metal structures, for now that they are gone, I miss them.

My father, grandmother and probably great-grandfather walked these stairs. They were 91 years old. I have MANY stories about these stairs.

I used to be deathly afraid to cross the bridge that led to the stairs at the top when I was a girl. I ended up conquering that fear by repeatedly crossing it. Recently, my exercise routine was to walk down the stairs, over the river and run back up all the stairs taking two stairs at a time...can you say "out of breath"?

In 5th grade, some of the boys that I used to hang out with used to scale the steel beam that connected the stairs to the bridge. I watched them, afraid for their lives, but oddly enough I never told an adult about it.

I also had my first cigarette on these stairs...Salem Menthol Lights. I luckily never became a smoker. I don't think I had another cigarette for years and probably have had 10 puffs in my life. My next door neighbors growing up, "the twins", did smoke and would pick me up on their way to have their daily cig on the stairs with the excuse to their mother that they were going out to hang out with me.

I remember quite well when this chimney was built. My dad told me that it was being built to help with the pollution by putting it up higher into the atmosphere. We crossed the bridge more than once a day and would remark on the progress of construction. Children, I think, find construction amazing and enjoy watching the work that goes into building something into the air.

My own children have seen this smokestack all their lives and have used it as a landmark going from south to north or north to south.

On the day of deconstruction, my middle sister and I woke up early to watch them implode the smokestack along with the hundreds of other Saint Paulites. It was strange to see it fall like a tree chopped from it's roots.

The bridge everyone is standing on is called "The High Bridge". It is the highest bridge that crosses the Mississippi River of the four bridges that cross to downtown St. Paul.

If you have time, watch this YouTube video. I didn't take it, my camera ran out of battery.


Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Funny, I was just thinking, I should check your blog! New Items! And I will get you that video of our rendition of the implosion. I copied it to a CD this weekend.
You know, I miss those stairs incredibly. I know I can bike to work. But there is something about walking that appeals to me that you just don't get from being in a car, or even on a bike. You connect with your surroundings more, take in the view, the sounds, and enjoy the morning so much more than dealing with traffic allows. I miss those stairs!

Latin Lupe Lu said...

I miss the stairs too. I was thinking of going for my walk today and realized that I couldn't do the walk down them or run up them and then decided not to go on a walk at all. Thanks Sis for checking the blog.

gary rith said...

So, you could walk up the stairs then across the river? Quite a hike!
Hey, new header eh? A lot to think about there...
btw, you mention northern Minn in a comment at my blog, my sister and her family have lived in Bemidji for the last 25 years. My nephew is in St Cloud. I have been all over northern Minn!
BTW plus, the blogger Newt lives in St Paul, you havn't met have you?

Latin Lupe Lu said...

GR - Well, down the stairs, across the river and then back up the stairs to the top of the cliff where the people live. Yes, northern MN is nice. I don't know Newt, you'll have to connect us.

gary rith said...
Newt is the bee's knees and a buddy of mine. She has also ::ahem:: filled her house with my pots. South St Paul.

the Bag Lady said...

I would miss those stairs, too! They looked very cool. Sometimes progress ain't all progress, is it?

The smokestake coming down was kinda cool. Of course, I'm so weird, my first thought after it landed and all that cement dust started drifting around was "Well now, who's gonna clean THAT up!!??"

Hilary said...

Great photo account of these drastic changes in your neighbourhood. I can't say I blame you one bit for any angst that might cause. Change usually happens so slowly and much less graphically. But you did a fine job in capturing the feel.

Nice face lift to your blog too!

Lucas said...

Love the new look of the blog! Also thanks for all the great pics and especially the video. I ran a 10K that morning and got downtown just as the dust cloud went up. I saw all the helicopters hovering but since I avoid TV and news of any kind, I had no idea what was going on. Now I do! Thanks!

Latin Lupe Lu said...

Baggie - I thought about the dust cloud thing too. Especially as it went through me as I was standing on the bridge...eeek! I held my breath for a long time.

Hilary - thanks for checking in with me, I always like hearing from you.

Lucas - Good for you, running a 10K through the dust could :)