This lovely photo is the Roseman Bridge in Iowa, and the picture was taken a few days ago by my friend Russell. The bridge is featured in a movie called “The Bridges of Madison County" starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Everyone who has read the book or seen the movie is familiar with the story. It is the story of Francesca Johnson, a well-educated Italian woman with a love of music and the arts, who is married to a farmer in Madison County, Iowa, in the 1960s. She has two children, and the main purpose of her life is to be wife and mother, but her husband and children do not see her. She is stuck in her kitchen, listening to country and western music, when she longs to listen to classical music. She is unfulfilled and has accepted her life. She has shut down.
It’s a wonderful story, and I have always felt an affinity for Francesca. I think most women can. Women make compromises all the time, and often have to invent who they are in order to please the other people in their lives. Even now, in the 21st century, that still happens. For Francesca, those four days of being herself were enough to last a lifetime.
In a way I feel sort of a connection to the Roseman Bridge, and it holds a special meaning for me. Not only did my friend Russell take this lovely photograph of the bridge, he also at one time met the author of the book, Robert James Waller. And on the day I found out that my daughter was expecting Phinnaeus, I decided to celebrate by treating myself to a movie. The movie I went to see was “The Bridges of Madison County”. It was a beautiful warm summer evening in 1995, and I was very happy. Phinnaeus was born a few months later in February 1996.
And now, to come full circle, I have started to do a little watercolour pencil drawing of the bridge. I am hoping to visit it one day.