It’s strange how mundane things can trigger memories. That happens to me here in my native Los Angeles whenever I drive on one of the connections between Interstate 5 and Interstate 110. The southbound 5 to southbound 110 transition is a little stretch of two lane highway which looks like it was carved into the hill next to it. Though it’s in the process of an upgrade, for decades it looked rickety enough to crumble with a good, trademark Southern California shaker.
But there it hangs, for at least as far back as I can recall. Trucks, buses, etc. have sat on it in traffic jams headed toward downtown LA – or to Dodger Stadium — for decades and probably are doing so as I type these words.
Many years ago, another vehicle had occasion to take this tiny stretch of highway: my great-uncle (1920-2000), great-aunt (1921-2012) and I would be on our way home from Lake Isabella and, when we hit that part, I knew we were close to home.
My uncle had one of those pick-up trucks with a camper on the back; a nice one, big enough for three. (Do they still make those things?) We’d go over that road and, I, with a six-year-old’s a vivid imagination, would get the feeling that our truck was too big for the road and that we were going to fall off into some unknown abyss that waited for us. Fortunately, it takes about fifteen seconds–traffic willing—to run over this part of the freeway, so my morbid imaginings never had time to bloom into full-blown panic.
I used to get an inkling of that panic as I drove over the stretch, but now, the panic is gone and the sweet memories of a happy childhood remain. I’m very grateful for them.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.
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