Ninth grade done, now the dare, or peer pressure right of passage. Madeira Beach Junior High school in florida is the location. The school sat on the edge of a causeway of back water from the gulf of mexico on one side, and alternate 19 on the other. It was the main drag to the beaches spanning the causeway of water. One of the many draw bridges along the shore line. The bridge rose 30 feet off the water, and the water was deep enough for many major sail boats with low keels.
The ninth grade traditional passage was to jump off the bridge. Though I never heard of anyone doing it before or since. So me, being peer pressure driven and two others, decided to take the plunge. A buddy waited in a boat near by to lift us out of the water and make sure the there was no other boating traffic. The new McDonald just opened on the other side of the bridge from the school, they had a boating dock.
So,we made are way to the top of the bridge hoping the draw bridge attendant wasn’t watching. I don’t like heights now I will say. Then I was just more nuts. The coast was clear sign was given, and off we went.
I remember very well the inner feeling of “O shit what am I doing”. I chose to go feet first. I did sneakers so my feet would be protected from the water slap. The water was not clear, so when you hit it at that speed you kept going deep and deeper. Now that was scary not being able to see and descending quickly.
I learned in life guard swimming that you scissor your legs and get your arms out to control your depth , and I was a swing them. finely got to the top and was quickly swimming to the boat. I am not doing that again. It was quite a triumph to do it I must admit, stupid but I am glad I did it. Now I could go to 10th grade.