Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Roseman Bridge and The Bridges of Madison County, Iowa

Roseman Bridge, July 2012
 I grew up in Iowa hearing about the covered bridges of Madison County, near Winterset, and my mother told stories about when she and my Dad lived there before I was born.  The bridges have since taken on a life of their own after Robert James Waller, an Iowa born author, wrote The Bridges of Madison County in 1992.  The bridges have become a symbol of deep affection and romantic love, and people from all over the world are drawn here by the story of a few nights in the summer of 1965 that lasted a lifetime.  I read the story 20 years ago, and on a hot July morning this summer, I fulfilled a dream of mine:  photograph Roseman Bridge in morning light.

"He stepped in behind the wheel, lit a Camel, and went through the mental checklist: two hundred rolls of assorted film, mostly slow speed Kodachrome, tripods, cooler, three cameras and five lenses; jeans and khaki slacks, shirts, wearing photo vest.  Okay.  Anything else he could buy on the road if he had forgotten it."  - Checklist of Robert Kincaid, Write-Photographer, on assignment for National Geographic, August 1965
Roseman Bridge, July 2012

It is here, at the entrance to the bridge, Francesca Johnson, a Neapolitan expatriate married to an Iowa farmer , left Robert Kincaid the note that would change their lives.  It read:


"If you'd like supper again when "white moths are on the wing," come by tonight after you're finished." 

Roseman Bridge, July 2012
On white panels inside of the entrance of each bridge I visited were musings by people and lovers from all over the world, a testament to the magnetism and power of the book and the bridges.  This bridge had become something larger than itself, evident in the writing below.

Inside Roseman Bridge
Robert Kincaid had his ashes scattered at Roseman Bridge in January 1982.  Francesca Johnson's were scattered here in January 1989, a strange request her children did not understand until later.  I didn't see anyone scatter their ashes here when I visited, but I suspect the writing inside the bridge is true; people from all over the world bring the ashes of loved ones or lovers to rest here, near Roseman Bridge.

Hogback Bridge, July 2012
Inside of Hogback Bridge, the bridge where Robert photographed Francesca, is a notebook journal and pen which visitors are invited to "write your thoughts".  Yes, on the following page I wrote something about driving from West Virginia to fulfill a 20 year old dream of mine.

A notebook journal inside Hogback Bridge

Cedar Bridge, July 2012



4 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos! Definitely magazine-quality! You captured the perfect perspective of the Hogback Bridge and the interior shot of the Roseman Bridge, with the shadows of the fence just outside, put me right there. Very nice work!!!

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    1. Thank you Tony. I've wanted to photograph these bridges for many years and finally got the chance. It was a very big deal for me to do so.

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  2. Wonderful photos, Pat! So glad you got the chance to photograph the bridges and thank you so much for sharing the journey with us! We are going to share it with our audience! Thanks again!

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    1. That's great! I will be posting several more blogs about my visit home to Iowa in the next few days. It is an honor to be featured on my home state tourism page. Thank you.

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