Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.

And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

August 4-5, 2006: Unbuilding an HDB block in Singapore

Today would have been my dad's 90th birthday. What fun he would have had watching them unbuild the HDB (Housing Development Board) block of flats across the street.

Here was the worksite about 7 am Friday morning.

A closer look and you can see that the left side (with Michael's hammer) is elevated from the floor to the right

Saturday morning about 7am - all the upper floor from yesterday had been unbuilt

Grapple on the left and hammer on the right

Michael's hammer

Michael's hammer with Michael doing his usual morning inspection

and Jackie's Grapple

Note that around the building is scaffolding. As one floor is unbuilt, Pio, Bob and Jim unbuild the scaffolding. Jackie and Michael and the water guy decided that they needed to do something productive.

Here, Pio on the left and Jim on the right directing Pio.

Michael at work

Time to quit. Here Saturday work ends at noon - a gift from the government to improve family time with the hope of increasing the birth rate

and the end of the day. Note that Jim and Pio managed to unbuild one level of scaffolding while Michael hammered, Jackie grappled and Richie sprayed the water.

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C. Frank Starmer