Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mill Lane Bridge

When I was walking Olga on Sunday morning, we crossed the Mill Lane Bridge over the railroad tracks where West Hampstead and Kilburn meet. The bridge was painted years ago by children, with a  tree or nature theme. It's interesting to see what the kids came up with.

It was summer 2000 when these paintings were created -- before 9/11, before the Iraq War, before the economic crash. A different world, really.

Where were you in Summer 2000?

I had just moved to New York City in June of that year, and was starting my new job at the Times. My life was changing in ways I could never have predicted. Just as the world was different then, I was different, too.

And meanwhile, in London, some kids -- kids who are now well into their 20s -- were painting a bridge, where I would walk 16 years later with a dog whose parents, and possibly even grandparents and great-grandparents, hadn't been born yet!


  1. Now that I've finally sorted out the great/grand/parents as belonging to the dog, (?) not the kids, I have to say the blue-eyed and green-eyed bunnies with the heart sitting between them is just soooo romantic.

    The big event for me in 2000 was celebrating the new millennium by going to Big Bend NP in Texas. A memorable trip on many fronts.

    Ms Soup

  2. During the last week of August in 2000, I was with my whole family in Hilton Head Island. We were staying in a rented house. Sophie screamed off and on all night, and Henry was just three. We threw his pacifier away and told him that the ocean had taken it. He had his first nap and then night without it, and it went well. If only everything had gone well, though --

  3. There's a certain poetry in the poignant observation that those fading pictures come from another time - almost like cave paintings. I have no specific memories of 2000 apart from my father in law Charlie dying. He was a Lincolnshire farmer and toiled alone on the land most days, though when he was a boy there were far more agricultural workers out in the fertile countryside and therefore more jolly teamwork.

  4. Leaving what would be my last ever full time work, completing a book project, renovating this home and having no idea that my grandad was about to become terminally ill...

  5. The world before 9/11. Oh well.

    In July 2000 I started a new job, the one I still have. On the first day, I had to see the staff physician for a health check up, they tested my eye sight and did a lab test which eventually resulted in the diagnosis of me having an autoimmune disease. I had no idea when later that month we took the plane to Sicily to climb Mt. Etna in the scorching heat. Like most people around me I was convinced to be invincible and that life is eternal.

  6. Those rabbits are delightfully art deco! Id put them on our wall

  7. You got some extremely thoughtful comments here, Steve! 2000? Let's see...raising children. Working part time. Keeping house.
    I don't know.
    I love those pictures. That I am sure of.

  8. in 2000 I was 50 yrs old. I finally admitted that I was never ever going to finish the half dozen or so craft projects I had started in my 20s and threw it all out. I was also nearing the end of my years as a river guide.

  9. I had teenagers in high school. It was before my daughter developed a chronic illness at age 16, it was before my husband lost his job for over a year, it was the year I went back to work, it was before my dad had a massive stroke. I think our personal lives are split into "before" and "after" for every major personal event; world events give us a common split in time.

    In photographs from 20 - 40 years ago that have pets in them, I often think about the fact that the people are still alive but the pets have been gone for so many years. In the pictures they live on in their youth. It gives one a different perspective on time, even if only for a moment.

  10. You have a lot of what ifs here.

  11. I love the way you thought about these paintings and how the world has changed since they were painted.
    In the summer of 2000 I was still commuting to Chicago for a temporary job assignment that was coming to a close. My mother had passed away in February so on my visits home I was visiting my dad and trying to get him interested in doing something on his own. I actually took him to London in the fall of that year on trip he dreaded until we got there and then he seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself. I have fond memories of that trip.

  12. Ms Soup: Dogs can have great-grandparents! Can't they?! I've always wanted to go to Big Bend.

    Elizabeth: Ups and downs!

    York: They ARE a bit like cave-paintings, I guess. I suppose any artwork is a product of its time.

    E: I remember when you left that job!

    Sabine: Talk about a pivotal time!

    John: They ARE kind of Art Deco. I wonder if the kid was inspired or just has good art instincts?

    Ms Moon: I loved them too. These are just a tiny fraction of all the art on the bridge.

    Ellen: Sometimes it's time to cut bait, right?

    Jenny-O: I think about that too. Pictures of animals from decades ago seem so significant because they're so many generations back, like looking at our relatives from the 1800s!

    Red: That's life, right?

    Sharon: I admire you for getting your dad to go on a trip, somewhat against his will! I sometimes wonder if I should do that with my mom. She seems reluctant to travel and I'd really like to have her come to see us here.

  13. Life in 2000 seems relatively carefree now. My kids were 8 and 6. Nightly homework was our biggest stress. At least that's how I remember it.

  14. In 2000 we had been in Cincinnati for 3 years. I was working for a company that provided services to developmentally delayed adults & Mike was in the Ph.D program at University of Cincinnati. We were babies! Well, in our 30s, but definitely still children.