Thursday, September 11, 2014

November 22, 1963

On Friday, November 22, 1963 at about 1:30 o’clock pm (in Ohio where I was) I was in the 8th grade in Sister Stella’s class at St. Christopher’s School when we heard the phone ring.  In addition to being our classroom teacher, Sister Stella was also the Principal.  Since there was usually no one in the Principal's Office, Dick Meyers, who sat by the door, was assigned to go answer the phone when it rang (which wasn’t often).

We were in Art Class at the time and we were creating mosaics by cutting up colored construction paper into “confetti” and then pasting them onto a background to form an image.  I was attempting to create a Thanksgiving turkey (ready to be served, not strutting around the barnyard).

Dick returned from the office a few minutes later and said, “I don’t know, it was some crazy lady.  I couldn’t understand what she was saying.”

Moments later the phone rang again.  Dick trudged off to the office again.  When he returned he looked a little pale and while he briefly glanced at us sitting in the room, he directed his comments to Sister Stella saying, “This lady says the President has been shot.  I think you better talk to her.”

My November 22, 1963 classmates
Sister Stella left the room.  She returned to tell us that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.  She notified the other classrooms and staff and then put the radio on over the PA.  Not long afterwards his death was announced.

I was a member of the “Safety Patrol” who worked as crossing guards.  When school let out at about 2:30pm I remember so many of the girls crying as they walked home.

Kennedy was sort of “our President” since he was the first (and so far only) Catholic President and of course he was also Irish, like lots of the students, so his death hit many of the children very hard.

Dear Readers – thanks for visiting.  I would really appreciate it if you would please leave your own stories (if you have them) about these events in the comments.

December 7 , 1941

Pearl Harbor was attacked on Sunday December 7, 1941, well before I was born, but both my Mom & Dad remembered it.

Mom & Dad were both 12 at the time.  It was about 1:00 o’clock pm in the eastern US where both Mom & Dad were, when the attack occurred.

Dad was at the farm of a family friend between Gibson & Kellenburger roads in Phoneton, Ohio.  He and the son of the family who owned the farm had been riding horses that morning.  They’d put the horses away and were walking back towards the house when the boy’s Father came out and told them.  Sometime since then the farm became a nine-hole par-3 golf course (now defunct) called Willow Pond.  So the area has changed a lot, but the buildings were still there in late 2009.  Dad used to comment that, “Right there at the corner of that barn was where I heard about Pearl Harbor.”

Mom was at home at 151 Clark Avenue in Chelsea, Massachusetts.  After Mass they came home and she and Aunt Eileen were playing.  Daddy Con went down to the local Pub for an ale and talk.  He wasn’t gone long when he came back and told them about the attack.

Dear Readers – thanks for visiting.  I would really appreciate it if you would please leave your own stories (if you have them) about these events in the comments.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Accident Report

Forest Supervisor                                                         
Inyo National Forest
873 N. Main Street
Bishop, California  93515

Thomas Locker
Casa Vieja Guard Station
Inyo National Forest

August 9, 1979

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 13 of the CA-1 (Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation).  I put “bad decisions” as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

On the day of the accident, I was providing logistic support to an Environmental Analysis Team analyzing options for cheatgrass reduction the Red Rock Creek drainage near Jordan Hot Springs.  My assignment was to pack the Team’s supplies and equipment on a mule string.

We arrived at Jordan at about 1500 hours.  My assistant packer, Bill Schofield, and several members of the Team unsaddled the horses and removed the mules’ packs.  We hobbled the animals for the night.  As we planned to continue on to Redrock Meadows the next morning we only took that evening’s supplies from the packs.  After cooking dinner and finishing cleanup, since there had been reports of considerable bear activity in the vicinity, Packer Schofield climbed a nearby tree and looped a rope over a branch.  We hoisted the packs, which contained surveying and scientific equipment as well as food, about 50 feet above the ground.

After this the rest of the party went down to the hot springs.  I remained in camp by myself.  I had planned to finish a book I had brought along.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to take it out of the pack before hoisting.  I knew that the total weight of the packs we had hoisted up was about 400 lbs. and that I could not lower and raise them by myself.  I decided to use one of the mules.

After refastening the hoisting rope with a slip knot, I scooped a few oats into my hand and went towards the pasture.  “Vudu” was the closest mule and I quickly enticed her with reach.  This was probably not the wisest choice as Vudu can often be skittish.

After untying the hobbles, I wrapped the bitter end of the hoisting rope around her chest, tying a loop just behind the forelegs.  I then pulled the slipknot loose.  The packs dropped about two or three feet, taking the slack out of the rope.  The sudden tug and the rattling of cans and equipment spooked Vudu.

She began to run, kicking and bucking until the packs snagged against their supporting branch.  At this point I would say that the mule panicked.  The bucking became extremely violent and the loop I’d tied around her chest slipped back to her belly and rear legs.  The next couple of kicks freed her from the rope and the packs began to fall.

Knowing the value of some of the equipment in the packs, I grabbed the rapidly moving rope, in the process tangling my left foot in the line.

I weigh about 150 lbs, the packs about 400 lbs.  When I realized that I would not be able to stop the packs, I released the rope.   Imagine my surprise at being jerked off the ground by the tangles around my leg.

Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up towards the supporting branch.  At about 25 feet, I met the packs, which were now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the broken right ankle.  Slowed only slightly by this impact, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the packs hit the ground, leaving me hanging momentarily by my right leg approximately 45 feet in the air.

Unfortunately, when the packs hit the ground, the cord tying them together snapped, freeing all the packs save one.  Now devoid of the weight of most of the packs, only approximately 50 lbs. remained at the other end of the rope. As my weight was now greater, I began a rapid descent back towards the ground.

In about 25 feet, I encountered the remaining pack on its upward journey. This accounts for the broken tooth, several lacerations of my arms and upper body and the partially detached ear.

Here my luck changed slightly. The encounter with the attached pack seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of packs and suffered only three cracked vertebrae.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of packs, in pain, barely able to move, I lost my composure and presence of mind.  I untangled the rope from around my now-broken ankle and lay there watching the pack begin its journey back down upon me. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar bone.

I hope this explanation adequately answers your inquiry.


For further reading on this subject see:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Eighth Grade Class - St. Chris

This is my Eighth grade class at St. Christopher School 1963-1964.

Follow this link to Larry Youngblood's Facebook Post:

Top Row: Victoria Maddin, Tom Locker, Susie Trick, Jim Fox, Kathy Stoner, Alice Search, Kathy Moritz, Kathy Muldoon, Monk Moreo, Steve Schwab, Steve R. Smith

Second Row: Matthew Leyes, Stephen Covert, Ed Sabec, Mitchell Potterf, Jim Ewing, Mike Seskevics, Steve G. Smith

Third Row: Ron Thill,  Larry Vance, Jim White, Dick Meyer, David Leppla,  Mike Clark, Craig Puthoff, Larry Youngblood

Bottom Row: Sister Stella, Susan Partlow, Debby Hartman, Jeannie Trick, Belinda Brown, Sherry Hegg, Jackie Follick, Elaine Schieltz, Nanette Landreville, Ellen Conover, Theresa O'Donnell, Debbie Studer

Here are the Facebook comments about this photo:

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Such fun sharing these with my grandchildren here with me today due to school closing.

Michael E. Rado - The good ole days of Catholic school. I don't have any bad memories.

Jeannie Youngblood - What would parents do without grandparents on snow days!! We've put in our share too-----good memories!

Victoria Maddin Stem - I was wondering if anyone still had a class photo....this is so great

Tom Locker - 37 kids.

Marsha Plaut Powers - You are easy to spot...same pretty face!

Tom Locker - Thanks Marsha!

Dave Smith - I recognized a lot of friends!

Connie Strehle - Susie Trick top row third person.

Connie Strehle - I also found Dick Meyer and David L( sp) ? Oh there is Craig Putoff (sp) nan where are you?

Connie Strehle - Oh Nanetta I just found you bottom row 8 in. That picture is fun to look at!

Pam Longacre - Holy sh-- Larry. David looked just like you at this age. That was a Weird feeling.

Susan Tracey - I see you Jim!

Pete Britton - Hard to believe we were ever that young. Wish I could do it all over again.

Larry Youngblood - Connie...David Leppla!

Craig Puthoff - I'm 3rd row down on the right... Next to Larry Youngblood. It's PutHoff. Lolol

Craig Puthoff - Jeez...50 years ago...already. Where does time go?

Jim Fox - I tried to tag Matt Leyes but somehow Facebook translated my typing to some unknown language.

Jim Fox - Is the kid in the upper right corner Steve Smith?

Craig Puthoff - Question: Did any of us have a date/dates together after 8th grade? Me: I had a New Years Eve Party date with Kathy Moritz...about 1970. Nice girl

Craig Puthoff - We had 2 Steve Smith's....Steven R. & Stephen G. That's Steve R.

Jim Fox - Thanks Craig, I knew there were two Steve Smiths and I thought that was one of them.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Too many of our classmates are gone. Dick Meyer has asked me about arranging a reunion this year for our 50 years. I suggested getting together at the festival. Any interest?

Craig Puthoff - Yes...I'd be interested in doing that...great idea, Dick.

Tom Locker - I think that we've named almost all the photos. Stilll missing top row, #5, the girl between Jim Fox and Alice Search, second row, the boy between Mitchell Potterf and Mike Seskevics and, also on the second row, the last boy on the right, above Larry Youngblood.

Jim Fox - Tom, could the guy above Larry be the other Steve Smith?

Larry Youngblood - I ran into Alice Search back in about '75 when I was teaching at the Hobart Welding School. She was taking Welding for Artists, I think.

Larry Youngblood - Sue...what festival? St. Chris I assume. What time of year would that be? I have not associated myself with St. Chris since the 8th grade.

Craig Puthoff - Yes...that is Steve G. smith. I saw him about a month ago. He lives near Washington, DC.

Tom Locker - Jim Fox - I tagged Steve G. Only two left!

Craig Puthoff - Did you get Victoria Madden? What about Belinda Brown?

Victoria Maddin Stem - I'm the first one on the top left.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Yes, St Chris' festival. I believe it is held in June. I will call and find out the particulars later this month. Tom, would June be a good month for you to come back to Ohio?

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I believe it is Jim Ewing next to Mike.

Tom Locker - Yes - I can probably make it the last half of June.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I will post the dates as soon as I find out.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I know one of the Schwab boys passed, was it Steve?

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Last one -- I believe the missing name is Stonerock, first name may have been Kathy.

Larry Youngblood - Yes, Kathy Stonerock!! I remember, now...

My Fifth Grade Class - St. Chris

This is the Fourth & Fifth grade class at St. Christopher School 1960-1961.  I was in this class, but missed photo day. My Grandfather hurt himself which required a several day hospital stay. We were with him in Boston.  There were 48 kids in this class (47 pictured plus me).

Follow this link to Larry Youngblood's Facebook post:

Top Row: Ellen Conover, Anita Trick, Pat Walter, Mike Hawley, Mike Gaylord, Nanette Landreville, Unknown, Julie Larkin

Second Row: Becky Van Dyke, Jim White, Don Tolle, Steve Kistler, Christine Worman, Mike Clark, Kathy Schwab, Tom Hertlein, Pam Miller, Emily Moreo, Danny Fessler, Mike Geis

Third Row: Patrick Martin, Larry Youngblood, Ron Thill, Belinda Brown, Susan Partlow, Mary Ann Klenke, Josephine Elliott, Tommy Sliger

Fourth Row: Candy Tesno, Maria Korte, Virgina Himes, Kathy Kleinschmidt, Shari Heggs, Steve Covert, Mike Baltis, Joe Clement, Ann Suess, Kathy Yates, Dave Conters, Mike Patterson

Bottom Row: Mrs Boggs, Calvin Hartman, Mike Henderson, James Brown, Mike Johnston, Gus Van Acor, Susie Strukamp, Kenny Roland, Father Edwin Aufderheide

Here are the Facebook comments about this photo:

Jeannie Youngblood - The young man with a bow tie to the right of the weather vane doesn't have a beard, but he does resemble my sweetie!

Jan Williams Mahaffey - Big class!

Victoria Maddin Stem - Picked out Sue and Larry right away. I didn't join them till 7th grade.

Connie Strehle - Where are you Anita?

Anita Trick Moulds - Ok Connie, it's kind of embarrassing that I am not sure, but by process of elimination I think I am on the top row to the right of the diary?? Maybe?? I don't remember seeing this picture before. Crazy that I recognize most everyone in this picture except myself...proof that it's all beginning to slip away! Oh the joys of growing old...

Larry Youngblood - Yes, Anita, that is you to the right of the diary!!! Must admit...had a big crush on you back then!!!

Jan Williams Mahaffey - Did everyone wear a Col. Sanders tie?

Larry Youngblood - Jan, see how most of the girls have some kind of a school uniforn on? The restof the girls must have been rebels! Bowties must have been the thing to do back then. I personally would not be caught dead in one today!

Sue Moorman Vallo Starr - @Jo (Elliott) middle row, third from right?

Emily Moreo Friend - Hated those uniforms. they were hideous.

Emily Moreo Friend - I see Ann Suess, Kathy Kleithschmidt and Danny Fessler not named

Emily Moreo Friend - But this was a double class, I don't remeber if I was 4th or 5th? how strange to not remember this.

Susie Black - I must not have been a rebel because I am styling a bow on my neck. I love those beanies. Hilarious

Tom Locker - Emily, this was your 4th grade year. Larry, Nanette, Ellen, Ron, Sue and a few others were 5th graders. I was in this class but missed picture day.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - You were 4th grade, a year behind me.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - I have often wondered what happen to Julie and Patty Larkin. Anyone know?

Emily Moreo Friend - And I am still lost and behind most of the time.

Susan Partlow Landversicht - Next to Steve Covert I believe is Shari Heggs -- not certain of the spelling.

Tom Locker - I remember something about the Larkins - they had a sister born on February 29, 1960.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Skiing – the First Rockies Year

In the Fall of 1973 I moved to the Rocky Mountains.  I’d been wanting to move to ski country, someplace with a big mountain, for a long time (I wrote about my first five years of skiing here).  I’d skied in Vermont and Colorado and enjoyed both.  I was thinking that I would go somewhere in New England, since Mom’s family was around Boston and it was closer to Ohio than the Rockies.  While Vermont was the only state in New England where I'd actually skied, I had been in all the others in the summer.  I really loved my Uncle Tom's place on an island in a lake near Augusta, Maine

So, early in my planning I was really leaning towards moving to Sugarloaf Ski Area in Maine.  I had a college friend who'd skied there and spoke highly of it.  From the research I’d done (although to this day I have not skied there), there were a lot of things I liked about it.  It is a big mountain with long runs and a lot of skiable terrain.  I liked the lake and forest terrain of Maine.  I liked that it wasn’t too far from the ocean.  I liked the fact that it wasn't too far from some family.

I did love Colorado and there were a lot of things that attracted me to it, but all things considered I had chosen Sugarloaf.

Then why, in 1973 was I moving to New Mexico in the southern Rockies instead of either of my top two choices?  Because for the previous two winters I had often skied with an older couple Bob & Kay, who moved to New Mexico in the Spring of 1973.

Bob was an Air Force Lt. Col. who had been stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB around 1971-73.  Then he received a new assignment as the commander of Manzano AFB, near Albuquerque.  They knew that I was planning a move to ski country and offered me assistance if I was interested in New Mexico.  I visited them in June 1973, looked at the local ski area, Sandia Peak, and decided to enroll in the University of New Mexico (which was pretty close to their home) beginning in the Fall semester.

So in August I left Delco-Moraine and became a fulltime student at UNM (Go Lobos!) working part-time as a bus boy at a small but fancy restaurant several evenings a week.  My heart really wasn't in school though as I couldn't wait for snow and a chance to get a ski instructor job at the local ski area - Sandia Peak

While I was hoping to be just offered an instructor job, this didn't happen.  I had to go to through a tryout, but I was eventually offered a job.  A few days later I finished up my UNM finals and became a fulltime ski instructor.  I did keep my evening bus boy job as well.

I really enjoyed Sandia Peak.  I have never lived among friendlier people.  I got to know so many people at the ski area, the University, various businesses around town.  You were treated like family, always welcomed into homes and invited to events.

I don't know how many total days I skied that winter, but I did ski 75 days in a row.  In that stretch, in addition to Sandia, I skied at Taos, Santa Fe, Red River, Purgatory, Ajax, Vail and Sunlight.  I remember the day I woke up at a friend's home in Durango, Colorado, knowing that I wasn't skiing that day -- the streak was over.

When I came to New Mexico I had two pairs of Lange ski boats, my original "Comps" and the "Super-Comps" that I'd gotten in Ohio.  I also had two pairs of K2 Comps with Look bindings.

73-74 was not a winter of heavy snow in central New Mexico.  Many rocks were exposed at Sandia and I ended up pulling sections of the metal edges out of all my skis.  Here is another example of the friendliness and generosity of New Mexicans.  Sandia's Ski School Director, Tom Long, offered me the use of a pair of Spaulding "Numero Uno" skis, a local ski shop that I took my K2s to for repairs gave me a pair of Hexcel "Comps" free of charge.  For several weeks after my K2s had become unusable various friends and
acquaintances continued to offer me the use of skis.  I think that at one time I had five or six pairs of loaned skis at my home.

So I had an opportunity to ski many different skis over the course of that winter,  The only other equipment change I made was to trade both pairs of my Lange boots for a pair of used Tecnicas.  These were among the lightest ski boots on the market at the time and I was very happy with them.  Skiing with these boots and the Hexcels which were probably the lightest "competition-grade" skis available, made turning notably easier and quicker.

The other significant thing about my winter at Sandia Peak was that I met a number of people who worked for the Forest Service during the summer.  they encouraged me to apply.  I was offered a firefighter job with them only a few weeks after the ski season had ended.  Thus began my 30-year Ranger career.

And of course there was the closing day party.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Can I Go Too?

One summer when I was young, probably 1967 or 1968, I and a bunch of my friends and acquaintances from Butler High School went camping.

I’m thinking that this was in 1968.  This was just after we had graduated from high school and shortly before many of us would be leaving for jobs, various colleges or military service (this was during the Vietnam era), so it was a sort of last fling.  Most of the campers on this particular trip were from my “Class of 1968” but there were a number of "69ers” – the class behind us – there too.

Our camping spot was in a little depression, a glen or hollow, north of Kershner Road, between Dogleg and Fredrick Pikes.  You took about a quarter mile or so drive up a dirt road.  When you got to the spot, you’d have thought that you were a lot further from “civilization” than you actually were as you could see no signs of any homes or buildings. I’m not sure how we happened to get this spot, I think the land belonged to someone’s family or relative.

I'd guess we were camped just about where the yellow circle is.
The group was all guys and we were a pretty tame bunch.  Someone might have brought some beer, but I’m not sure of this (and if there had been any, it would have been 3.2 – the low alcohol content type).  There were definitely no drugs.

So we were talking and joking with one another around the campfire.  I remember that we walked over to an abandoned farm house which we’d been told to avoid.

I’m trying to remember who was there.  George Moore, Steve Schieltz, Larry Schieltz, Ron Stapleton, Jack Hopkins, Dale Dalrymple, Monte Henderson, Tom Hertlein.  There were quite few others.  I guess about 10 or 12 guys altogether.

I also remember that the Father of Nancy Knuge, a girl in the Class ahead of us, ’67, visited us.  They lived on Frederick and I guess he heard us or maybe saw the campfire.  He was very pleasant, stayed and talked for a while.  I’m sure he was just checking us out.

Anyhow, getting to the point of this story, during the evening we had used up most of the firewood.  A couple of the guys dragged a log into camp.  One of them decided to cut it into smaller pieces and began chopping it with an ax.

Well it only took him four or five swings before the ax ricocheted off the log and into Larry Schieltz’s leg.  A good sized flap of skin and muscle was seen looking through the large slit in his pants’ leg.  He wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, but it was obvious that he would need medical treatment.  There was a car parked quite close, I think it was George Moore’s.  A bunch of guys quickly piled into the vehicle.  The driver started the motor and the car began to move out.

Then a voice was heard.  Somewhat meekly, as though the speaker didn’t really want to bother anyone, but still feeling the need to have his say, he said, “Can I go too?”

All eyes turned toward the speaker.  Why did this person want to go?  Didn’t he know this was an emergency?  That there was no time for fooling around?

Many of us were stunned when we saw who the speaker was.  Yes, it was Larry!  Apparently the injury to his leg had slowed him down to the point where he was unable to move fast enough to get a seat before the car left.

The driver stopped the car and the other passengers sheepishly got out.  Yes, they had filled every available seat.  Larry got in and they went off to, I think, Good Samaritan Hospital.

They were back a few hours later.  The injury wasn’t serious.  They’d taken a few stitches and Larry was fine.

Probably the most serious and lingering injury was to the axe man – he was teased much after that and even got the frequently used nickname of “Hack.”   I remember hearing him addressed by that name by people who I’m sure had no idea why he was called that.