Rains and Floods and Seatbelts, Childhood Survival Reminiscing


I grew up in the South and backwoods in the country. Some people would consider 26 acres a whole other world, and some would consider it just a small speck. We had our own little piece of wooded paradise with a creek that ran through the property. It separated us from the road. These are current pictures, as I don't really have any from 'back in the day.'


We crossed the creek twice a day to go to school or church or shopping or anytime we wanted to leave the property. We walked across the creek bed, or drove across it to get to the road.

On the left side of this pic, you will see the bridge that was made later by my father, and on the right, you can see the remnants of where we drove down into the creek and out the other side. The creek is coming down from being flooded in this picture.

This is the bridge as it stands now. My father had a big metal piece brought in and filled with concrete. We had to help dig out and build the footings in order to support the "bridge." It is still standing 20 years later, so I guess we all did pretty good.

The creek normally runs really clear and pretty low. You can see the shale that you would drive or walk across, and it is infused with fool's gold as well. We spent many a day skipping the shale across the water and mining the fool's gold as kids. However, it rains in Arkansas- a lot. Our creek often would flood. This is a pic after a recent rain. The levels are still high, but lower than they often are right after a rain.
Because of the flooding, we couldn't get to school or leave the property for days while waiting for the creek levels to recede. It was years before the bridge was put into place. There were many times over the year, that he gambled on if we could make it through the creek after a rain would come through. We always seemed to make it, but there were times when it was just impossible by car or foot.

School and education was very important to my father. He wanted to come up with a way for us still to be able to get to school. Here comes the part of the story that I do not have pictures for. I only have pictures of the creek in its current condition because of a trip we happened to be making when this challenge from @galenkp came out. Serendipitous? Yes, I think so. I digress.....
So, my father decided he was going to do something about it. He worked for a car company doing service things and being a manager. He came up with the idea to build bridges for us to cross when the creek was flooded so that we could still go to school.
showing previous driveway exit point, going toward the road

This creek is mighty when flooded. Once, they were having a party when it rained. Someone decided to go ahead and tried to leave. The creek took the car downstream several feet and the lady had to climb on top of her car to be rescued. There was no other way to leave the property.
So, my dad decides to make bridges. He is a saver and not one to put anything to waste. What does he use for his material? SEATBELTS and some rope. He tied and clipped together seat belts to cross the creek. He would attach the seatbelts and rope to one tree and connect it to another tree across the creek. He tried in 2 different spots. We walked across the seatbelts like a slackline, and he also attached ropes on either side of the "slackline" so that we had handholds to help us cross the flooded creek.
When the downstream "bridge" failed (I don't recall how or why), he decided to build upstream at the location that I have shown in pictures. This location was even wider across as you can see. We had to climb up the tree in order to cross the rope/seatbelt bridge here, and then climb down the tree on the other side. We did this for years while not having an actual bridge to walk or drive across. We missed much less school this way. I don't remember the age I started using the "bridge." We lived at this location while I was about 7-17 years old, so probably used that bridge until I was 14 or 15(ish).
This sticks out to me from my childhood because it was wild, and I couldn't imagine this happening in this day and age.

"hey kids, creeks flooded, just walk across on the seatbelts and ropes, it'll be fine."
showing the previous driveway entrance point

There are a lot of things that we did then, that kids don't necessarily do now, but these experiences built who we are today. None of us ever fell. We made it to school just fine. It worked. It still blows my mind to this day. I can't believe I did it without a second thought. Dad built it, and we crossed. That was that.
I hope you enjoyed a little piece of my past. Welcome to my memories.

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