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Oral Histories - Maria del Socorro Garcia Thompson

The Adventure

When I think of the great adventure I had when I was about eleven years old, I would never let my children do it.

We used to call it the black bridge.  It was a railroad train bridge over the Santa Ana River near Katella Avenue.  We walked down the railroad tracks, which were across the street from our house.  I went with them only once; my two brothers, Sal and Louie and our friend from next door, San De Leon.  He was really our guide.  He was in high school and had a 22 rifle.

We were outside and the boys were ready to leave.  “Can I go?” I said.  Sam said, “Well, yes, but it’s a long walk about two miles.”  I said, “That’s o.k.”  So I went and asked my Mom and she said yes.  Off we went got on the tracks and turned west.  It was a straight line with nothing but orange trees with juicy oranges boarded by eucalyptus trees that gave a strong odor.  We walked sometimes on the tracks balancing ourselves with our arms out stretched, or we would walk railroad tie by railroad tie.

At one point the train was coming.  Sam said, “Let’s run and hide behind the trees.” I didn’t understand why we had to hide.

We finally got there and Sam says, “Let’s cross the bridge.”  I said, “No, what if the train comes and we are in the middle of the bridge.”  Looking at his watch he said, “The train won’t come for another hour.  I went along just because I didn’t want to be left behind.  We crossed the bridge railroad tie by railroad tie.  It was not an open bridge; there was steel on both sides.  I guess that is why we called it the black bridge.  Sam stopped to shoot a few shots into the riverbed.  We took our shoes and socks off and in we went squishing our toes in the wet sand.  There were a few puddles of water.  We heard the train coming and we ran under the bridge.  It was such a tremendous thundering noise when the train passed over us that we covered our ears tightly with our hands.  We went back and put our shoes and socks on and headed the long way home again railroad tie by railroad tie.

Now that I think about it I remember the movie Stand By Me.

Youth can be adventurous…

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