Archive for May 30th, 2010

The mythology in your mind is always subject to correction.

As I was growing up there were names that were always bandied around with my dad and brother, goofy names that were a part of playful banter.  Many were pure nonsense, like Chick Chickee, and some were real people.  Some, like Leonard Box, I have no clue where they came from.  There are some that have faded from my memory long ago.  But one that always brings back those days is the name Steve Brodie.

It was always used to fill in when we didn’t know who did something.  “Bet it was Steve Brodie…” Or if we were driving over one of the bridges in town and there was someone on the sidewalk, one of us would ask, “Was that Steve Brodie?”

It was always thought that Brodie was a real person  but there was nothing certain.  Our mythology also  held that he was the first man to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge sometime in the 1930’s.  So for all of my life I held on to this bit of trivia and believed it.

Until this morning when the name just popped into my head.  I decide I could finally look up Steve Brodie and discover who he really was.  Turns out, we were partly correct.  He did jump off a bridge.  In fact, he claimed to be the first to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, back in 1886.  And he survived and turned his claim to fame to his advantage as publicity for the successful  tavern he subsequently opened in New York.  I imagine the image shown above was used as advertising of sorts for his establishment.  His name also became part of the popular lexicon of  the early 20th century which is how we latched on to it.

So the mythology behind my memory is corrected.  We were off by 50 years and   about 3000 miles.  But we had the right guy nonetheless.  Now I have a face to put with the name.

Have a great day!

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