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.

February 16, 2006: All around the yard

Sparky was everywhere today - while checking up on one of his projects which takes him literally everywehre. Looking over at Drum island, there was more cleanup going on. Jim Grier is still waiting for me to come over for an inspection tour. But today he had his hands full with Michael, Jack, Leon and Richie.

Here is either Michael, Jack or Leon operating.

Meanwhile back at the yard - a little building going on - here is Chris Wakeman leaning on This end up. My wife likes this photo because she is worried about the US trade deficit. Hauling all those imported goods into the US and returning nothing makes for a large number of empty containers. So Cashman/Testa to rescue our balance of payments - using empty shipping containers everywhere - but here as their work shed. Ellen is pleased with this innovation!

In reality, they are building a platform, I believe, for the Mammoet jacks.

Fetching and toting girders to build

In the meantime, Chris is teaching Randy Watterson how to tend bar. In real life, Randy is an inside-man (bidder) for Testa and looks for occasional escapes from the inside.

and here is Randy demonstrating his new skill

Not to be outdone by my adventure last Thursday night - with Jackie, Richie, Roy and Rich - Sparky has signed the traffic barrier.

Actually, Sparky and a group of 30 from his church were doing a bit of rebuilding in Mississippi - helping to undo what Katrina did. So he is excused from atteniing Thursday night's celebration.

And, Ryan is now part of the Coleman Recycle Center team - hi to mom says Ryan!

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C. Frank Starmer