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Bridges and wedlock

Mandi Stirone | Friday, April 27, 2007

At Saint Mary’s, Lake Marion is a well-known aspect of the campus. It’s a very pretty part of the campus, it sits in between LeMans Hall and Madaleva and directly in front of Hagar Hall. There’s a fountain that spouts out of it, and in the winter, there is usually a giant ice block around the fountain from all the water freezing overnight.

Compared to Notre Dame’s two enormous lakes, it appears pretty small and really fake. Well, it is fake. You can see the concrete on the bottom and all along the “shores.” It’s also disgustingly gross, though there are fish in it. I’m just not sure how they survive living in it.

Something passers-by will notice about Lake Marion is the island in the middle. This island is so big that it takes up most of the lake. There are a few trees, some wooden benches, a small fountain and a statue of the Virgin Mary.

To get onto this island, you have to cross a bridge. Under the bridge live two or three geese, the most famous of these had its disappearance printed in The Observer. This is all pretty inconsequential stuff, I’m sure, but the important part of that bridge is the superstition that surrounds it.

One of the more noticeable things about the bridge is that you rarely see a girl walk over the bridge with a guy. According to popular campus legend, girls are not supposed to walk over the bridge with a boy. It doesn’t matter who he is; you’re just not supposed to. I have watched many girls force the guy they’re with to walk over the bridge by himself before they cross it. There’s a pretty good reason too. No, it’s not like the tradition of not walking up the steps of the Main Building – a Saint Mary’s girl who crosses the bridge with a guy is still going to graduate, and no one is going to die from walking over, either.

The reason you’re not supposed to walk over the bridge with a guy is pretty simple: If you do, you’ll marry him, or at least the first him. According to the legend, the first boy you walk over the bridge on Lake Marion with is the one you’re going to marry.

As far as I know, Saint Mary’s girls aren’t afraid of marriage; we just don’t want to marry that first someone who we walk over a bridge with. It just doesn’t seem like a good reason to marry someone. I don’t really think many people would want to base their marriages on a legend about a bridge.

I have to admit; I’m one of those girls who has made a guy walk over the bridge before her. I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with it. It is, of course, centered on marriage, which is a little stereotypical, but God only knows how old it is.

It’s a pretty silly tradition, but it’s our tradition.