In 1970, Linda and Ron Roetemeyer found out they were expecting their second child. Filled with joy and excitement, they couldn’t wait to meet their bundle of joy.
On one Saturday afternoon, Linda began to feel a little bit of discomfort in her body but no contractions. This being her second pregnancy, she didn’t feel the urge to be concerned yet since it was minor and her due date was still a couple of weeks away.
The family had planned to attend a “Welcome Home” party that evening for Ron’s brother, who was returning from Vietnam. However, Linda’s water unexpectedly broke that evening.
“I wasn’t expecting all of it to happen so fast. With my son, my symptoms were much worse, and I knew I was going into labor. This pregnancy was a different story,” said Linda.
The Roetemeyers hurried into their Ford XL 429 to make the drive from 5 miles north of Warrenton to the old St. Francis Hospital in Washington, which is now the doctor’s building.
“Before going to the hospital, we had to drop off our 3 year old son at his grandparents’ house. We had to go around a block in Warrenton, delaying the already extensive drive,” said Linda.
Linda’s contractions were coming hard and fast, and she knew they were going to cut it close to make it to the hospital on time. Then, she remembered a doctor she previously saw lived on the way.
“By the time I told (Ron) to turn and go to the doctor’s house, he was already a mile past the turn,” stated Linda.
As they crossed the Washington bridge, Linda could feel her baby coming.
“At that point, I knew we weren’t going to make it to the hospital, so I just had to be prepared for what was going to happen,” said Linda.
In the middle of the bridge on Dec. 5, 1970, Linda naturally gave birth to their daughter, Ronda, in the back of her husband’s car.
“Before we left the house, I grabbed a blanket to lay on just in case something were to happen inside the car because the tuck and roll upholstery was all white,” said Linda.
Several minutes later, the Roetemeyers pulled into the hospital parking lot and rang the bell outside the door for assistance. Nurses came out and helped them get up to a room.
“After we got situated, I had to go back downstairs and re-register Ronda separately since she was already born when we entered the hospital,” stated Ron.
The Roetemeyers’ unexpected, exciting night soon came to an end, and a healthy baby girl had joined their family.
A little over 48 years later, Ronda’s birthplace is now being destroyed. Marschel Wrecking is in charge of demolishing the old bridge, which will take place by spring.
Ironically, Ronda’s husband, Steve Williams, is part of the crew running the machine that is tearing the bridge down.
“I just think it’s ironic how I married someone who is destroying my birthplace. Although a significant moment in my life occurred on that bridge, it is a part of history and it’s time for it to go,” said Ronda Williams.
In fact, BackStoppers and Marschel Wrecking are selling chances to push the button that knocks down the bridge. The chances are $5 each or 6 for $20.
While Ronda believes she has a logical reason to push the button, she can’t help but laugh when she tells her story.
“I’ve been working at Mark Rudder Law for 16 years now, and none of my co-workers knew I was born on the bridge. It’s something that I never really thought to tell people, but now some of my co-workers and friends joke that I should’ve been named ‘Bridget’ instead,” stated Ronda.
Ronda and her family are excited to see what the new bridge holds for the whole Franklin County area and are blessed to hold such a significant memory of one of Washington’s historic structures.