Posted by: Betty | December 2, 2009

Blake’s Bridge

In 1962, when I was ten, our family moved from Torrance to San Pedro CA. The house was on a hill and the builder solved the “drainage” problem with little “Canals” cutting through the driveway and over the front lawn. Blake (my dad) was an engineer. He solved the problem with a bridge crossing over the “Canal” which he filled with Rocks. The bridge became a landmark on our street…. directions could be given as 3 houses up from the red house with the bridge.. For years it was used as a walk way up to the driveway to the front door … And For Pictures. Family pictures were taken mostly on that bridge for the next 30 years.   Most Christmas and Easters are documented on that bridge.

1964 My mom with her parents. The Bridge was recently completed and the front lawn was coming in.

His Children

First Communions (1965) My brothers and me

Easter 68

Easter 65 or maybe Jim’s first Communion again..

A few days before his son left for vietnam left for Vietnam December 1967

Easter 1970

My Senior Prom May 1970

His daughters’ weddings

His grandchildren posed for Blake on that Bridge

1980

1983

The Bridge was had seen better days and became unsteady. Dad rebuilt it and it looked more oriental after that.. (my parents spent 2 years in Japan)

1992 approx. after a new driveway was put in and new landscaping.

30 years after he first built the bridge, his Grand Children posed on it the day he celebrated 50 years with my mom.  May 1995 He had 1 great grandchild by then and one on the way.

Blake Welstead died in January 1998. My brother bought the house and after a few years, redesigned the front yard. He called my sister and asked her to check and see if any of us wanted the bridge.  I couldn’t see it being trashed so Kathie and I drove down in 2001 to pick up the bridge and drive it back to my house in Murrieta about 90 miles from San Pedro, in Kathie’s truck.  I didn’t have a real place for it so I put it next to the deck on the side of our house up against the fence.

Where Blake’s great grandchildren had a great time running over it to no where. And I used it to photograph another generation of children.

Thanksgiving 2001

When Paul and I moved to AZ, we moved to homeowner association land and needed a lot of paperwork and permission from a distant board of directors to put the bridge in the front yard.. It sat in the back for a while until my sister said she’d take it. She painted to match the trim on her house.

Some forty years after Blake built the original bridge and nearly 20 years after re-building it; it sits in front of Kathie’s house now on the west side of Phoenix. Many years and miles from that house in San Pedro.  The bridge doesn’t go anywhere now. It sits nicely in front of Kathie’s house..

Where… I decided to extend the tradition this weekend and take more pictures of Blake’s grandchildren and now many great grandchildren on the bridge on Thanksgiving.

Saul, Aly Kat and Emma

Ema, Aly, Saul, Kat, Izzy, Sabby & Makayla

Saul, Aly and um.. another great grand child on the way… Aly’s the one who’s pregnant…. Aly is my niece, Saul is my wonderful nephew in law.

Aly, Lyndsey and Sophie

Adam, Katie and Sabby

Two of his great grandchildren. These guys didn’t get to meet him but have been surrounded with pictures of him for all of their lives.

Ricky and Tab

For over 40 years now, this bridge has been a part of my life and memories. It lasted over these last 40 plus  years like so many things in Blake’s life; his friendships, his marriage and the love of his children. I’m pretty sure it’ll last another 40 years. My niece wants it someday for her yard. I’m pretty comfortable it’ll never be trashed. That makes me feel good.  Years from now when members of his family who loved and remember him are gone.. The bridge will still be there, somewhere. Taken by another great, or great grandchild for sentimental reasons.

All the way in Phoenix, four hundred miles from it’s original home it made me feel good  to see it last weekend when we celebrated Thanksgiving at Kathie’s house. It made me feel better to take some more pictures on Blake’s Bridge.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

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Responses

  1. What a wonderful family story. You have some strong threads running through the fabric of your life. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That bridge will definately always have a home. We will all cherish it and the memories that come along with it. It’s so neat to see all of the pictures with the bridge. I’m sure I’ve seen at least 100 more floating around. Great Memory! Thanks!

  3. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of memories stored in that bridge’s “wooden soul”. Yes, I know the bridge does not have a soul but can you imagine the stories it would have to tell. How awesome the bridge is still alive.

    • LOL Jose, I was just thinking… SOME stories I wouldn’t want it to tell my mom.
      I believe in a way the wood does have a soul – maybe all the foot traffic over and on the bridge may have worn off on the bridge.

  4. Great post Betty and I really enjoyed all the pics. You were so cute all dressed up for the prom.

  5. Hi Betty! I’ve really enjoyed looking through your photos – How very interesting! I was about a month old when your prom pic was taken in May 1970 – I was born Income Tax day of that year! heheheee!

    You must be very busy these days!

    Take it easy & be careful – Have a great weekend, too!

  6. Wow Betty, what a history! I remember you told us about the bridge once before. It’s great to hear about something so much at the heart of a family.
    and family’s what it’s all about, right 🙂

  7. i love these pictures !! i used them for my vintage 1950s-60s , my facebook is open so you can see them if you want, nick.edwards.790@facebook.com


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