Rains and Floods and Seatbelts, Childhood Survival Reminiscing


I grew up in the South and backwoods in the country. Some people would consider 26 acres a whole other world, and some would consider it just a small speck. We had our own little piece of wooded paradise with a creek that ran through the property. It separated us from the road. These are current pictures, as I don't really have any from 'back in the day.'


We crossed the creek twice a day to go to school or church or shopping or anytime we wanted to leave the property. We walked across the creek bed, or drove across it to get to the road.

On the left side of this pic, you will see the bridge that was made later by my father, and on the right, you can see the remnants of where we drove down into the creek and out the other side. The creek is coming down from being flooded in this picture.

This is the bridge as it stands now. My father had a big metal piece brought in and filled with concrete. We had to help dig out and build the footings in order to support the "bridge." It is still standing 20 years later, so I guess we all did pretty good.

The creek normally runs really clear and pretty low. You can see the shale that you would drive or walk across, and it is infused with fool's gold as well. We spent many a day skipping the shale across the water and mining the fool's gold as kids. However, it rains in Arkansas- a lot. Our creek often would flood. This is a pic after a recent rain. The levels are still high, but lower than they often are right after a rain.
Because of the flooding, we couldn't get to school or leave the property for days while waiting for the creek levels to recede. It was years before the bridge was put into place. There were many times over the year, that he gambled on if we could make it through the creek after a rain would come through. We always seemed to make it, but there were times when it was just impossible by car or foot.

School and education was very important to my father. He wanted to come up with a way for us still to be able to get to school. Here comes the part of the story that I do not have pictures for. I only have pictures of the creek in its current condition because of a trip we happened to be making when this challenge from @galenkp came out. Serendipitous? Yes, I think so. I digress.....
So, my father decided he was going to do something about it. He worked for a car company doing service things and being a manager. He came up with the idea to build bridges for us to cross when the creek was flooded so that we could still go to school.
showing previous driveway exit point, going toward the road

This creek is mighty when flooded. Once, they were having a party when it rained. Someone decided to go ahead and tried to leave. The creek took the car downstream several feet and the lady had to climb on top of her car to be rescued. There was no other way to leave the property.
So, my dad decides to make bridges. He is a saver and not one to put anything to waste. What does he use for his material? SEATBELTS and some rope. He tied and clipped together seat belts to cross the creek. He would attach the seatbelts and rope to one tree and connect it to another tree across the creek. He tried in 2 different spots. We walked across the seatbelts like a slackline, and he also attached ropes on either side of the "slackline" so that we had handholds to help us cross the flooded creek.
When the downstream "bridge" failed (I don't recall how or why), he decided to build upstream at the location that I have shown in pictures. This location was even wider across as you can see. We had to climb up the tree in order to cross the rope/seatbelt bridge here, and then climb down the tree on the other side. We did this for years while not having an actual bridge to walk or drive across. We missed much less school this way. I don't remember the age I started using the "bridge." We lived at this location while I was about 7-17 years old, so probably used that bridge until I was 14 or 15(ish).
This sticks out to me from my childhood because it was wild, and I couldn't imagine this happening in this day and age.

"hey kids, creeks flooded, just walk across on the seatbelts and ropes, it'll be fine."
showing the previous driveway entrance point

There are a lot of things that we did then, that kids don't necessarily do now, but these experiences built who we are today. None of us ever fell. We made it to school just fine. It worked. It still blows my mind to this day. I can't believe I did it without a second thought. Dad built it, and we crossed. That was that.
I hope you enjoyed a little piece of my past. Welcome to my memories.


I only have pictures of the creek in its current condition because of a trip we happened to be making when this challenge from @galenkp came out. Serendipitous? Yes, I think so.

Life really is funny like that, isn't it?

Seatbelts, huh? I was already thinking it before you asked the question... Imagine kids today? haha. You are so right though, we were forged through such experiences and there seemed to be a heck of a lot more resilience and lateral thinking among even younger kids way back. There are many improvements to parenting nowadays, no doubt but we have certainly lost some things too.

Awesome to meet you Becca, I'm sure we will cross paths (if not creeks on seatbelts!!!) many times in the coming months and years. It seems Hive is lucky to have you among us 🙂

Aw, thank you so much! I can't believe we happened to be traveling to the area the same weekend this prompt came about. We drove for 24 hours, and we couldn't get into our house yet because others were stick in traffic-so we drove put.to my old homestead to get these pics. So crazy+
I agree that there are so many things kids can't do-not because they are incapable- bit because there are societal repercussions in part. I try to let my kids experience a lot when and where I can. I want.them to have an amazing childhood.

Yeah, society puts barriers on what they think people can accomplish in general. It's the crab in a bucket effect...

Great post, sis, and great memories from another perspective. I'd dare say you and I have many adventures from our childhood that others have never seen and only read about in books. Dad had his quirky ways which caused us to have some pretty incredible memories because of and in spite of our parents :)

Isn't it funny/revealing how two people can live in the same time and their experience can vary so differently? Similar too I am sure in some ways.

Beautiful Becca! Thank you for sharing these memories from your childhood. It must be amazing to have a physical reminded of your father, his character, in the form of a bridge that still stands. What a lovely thought. I enjoyed reading this very much.

Yes, the memories are treasures. When I think about these things now, I see it from a different perspective. It makes me wonder what my mom was thinking as well. I am going to have to ask her because I haven't done that yet. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

Great point... but you and I both kinda know mom didn't have much of a choice. Dad was had strong to say it nicely.

He tied and clipped together seat belts to cross the creek. He would attach the seatbelts and rope to one tree and connect it to another tree across the creek.

Your dad was MacGyver right? Lol.

Great post here! I am from a small country town also, not really backwoods I guess but a small farming town right on the fringe of the world famous Barossa Valley. It was so good and I yearn for those simple times, that place these days. It's a lot busier now though and I could not live there I think.

I was born in 1970 so it was a different world for me. No computers, no real up-to-the-minute news services and very little distraction. We didn't have much, (money) but we had fun, made it up and yeah, sometimes I got into a whole mess of trouble. (See your influence rubbing off on me? Normally I would have typed F-load of trouble.) Lol.

Looking back on those simple times, like you have here, is an amazing journey for me at the age of 51. I love doing it and I hope you had some fun too. Thanks for being involved.

That is very nice and considerate of you! Are you holding out the dumb dumb cup towards me though because of it? Lolol
I enjoyed a lot of growing up in the country. I had many experiences there that I wouldn't trade. I did always want regular neighbors in a regular neighborhood though. Now that I have them I don't want them. These are lessons we must learn though through living experiences.
I grew up mostly without internet and so was outside a lot. Kids were getting beepers when I was in school, but we never got one. That was a blessing as I look back on it.

They were simpler times and whilst we probably appreciated it somewhat it's not until later we truly appreciate it as we can look back on those times differently and with adult eyes.

No dun dum mugs involved.

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