©1999 Dianne Poinski
This is a guest post by my daughter Nichole Poinski. After my last post she reminded me of this story about "Bridge 58". You can check out her blog at http://merci-me.blogspot.com/Thanks Nichole!Four years ago this month, I started the Early Fall Start program at the University of Washington. For four hours a day, I would sit in a basement classroom in the library, and with a small group of eight others, discuss the works of Emily Bronte. I could not think of anything I could like more. My love of escapism and literary theory bled into my social life, or lack thereof. I was not one to "party", nor did I enjoy the recycling of Chapelle Show jokes in actual conversation. I was a nerd, and I embraced it.
When the Autumn Quarter began, I met a girl who I had met only once during Early Fall Start, and had been in my roommate's class. She and I had registered for the same Freshman Interest Group, and would be taking all of our classes together that Fall. We connected and clicked. Her social butterfly tendencies balanced my bookish shut-in status, and I was sad to hear that she would be moving out of the dorm building we shared for Early Fall Start and into one across campus.
One day, as she and the rest of campus unloaded boxes and bags into the crawlspaces the University tried to pass off as dorms, she called me and asked me what my mother's name was. "Um, Dianne." I replied. "Is she a photographer?" She asked. Confused as to what this had anything to do with, I said, "Yes, yes she is." "I have a photograph of hers in my dorm room." I couldn't believe it, so I jetted to see for myself. Sure enough, "Bridge 58" was tackied to the concrete wall. She had purchased the print from my mother at a show in the Bay Area when she was a sophomore in high school.
It was this moment that told me I was where I needed to be. Two states away, my mother's imagery had found me. A year later, my friend and I moved in together, and decorated our student apartment with more of my mother's prints. We still live together, my mother's prints gracing our walls. Over the years, we've perfected the timing for telling the story aloud, and can almost feel the moment when the listener experiences the same serendipity we did, that moment of awe and gratitude that made the world seem at once so small yet so full of possibility.