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Saturday, June 22, 2013

A New Trier Classmate, Met on Facebook

Hey, Jim! How come I never met you at New Trier?
Or did I, and am I just having a senior moment?
Anyway, I find you to be a sensible and stalwart classmate here on FB.
I've often wondered. I was in Mr Rude's homeroom and played trumpet for Sam Mages, but my friends were the butt-smokers who hung out around Chris's Snack Shop.
Gotcha! You probably knew my girlfriend, Patsy Burmeister (violinist), and my best friend in the Wilmette schools, Doug Mitchell (drummer).
I got lucky when I met Gut after coming home from the war. She turned me around (and around and around).
Gudy - not Gut. It's pronounced like "Judy".
A classmate?
She was a friend of the waitress at the pizza place I worked at when going to UICC. Gudy is from Ecuador, S Am.
Two of my brothers served in Vietnam. George (Dr. Cornog speaking) McDougall, NT '60, was in the Navy on the heavy cruiser USS Boston, CAG-1, and only spent one night in country, though they shelled the North for some months. Walter, NT '64 was in the Field Artillery, and caught some serious Hell. But both made it home. I flunked the flight physical for the Navy in '64, and ended up 3A for the remainder of the war years.
Are you bilingual?
I am in Cluj, Romania this month. The name Kucera could be from Eastern Europe. Is it?
My Vietnamese is almost as good as my Spanish, but we speak American at home. I was a lumberjack when they drafted me in 1966 so they put me in the Signal Corps to patch the holes we shot in our own wires.
Sounds like fun.
Dad came from Prague when he was 2 yr old. They had passage booked on the Titanic but they missed the boat.
I used to manage a woods crew for the Beebe River Bobbin Mill in Campton, NH. Where were you in the woods?

High lead logging in Oregon and Snoqualmie Washington. We used cables to drag the logs in because it was too steep for cat logging. I saw one log (on a 12' bed) twice. That'll probably never happen again.
I learned rigging-slinger, choker-setter and 2nd loader, but my favorite job was whistle-punking.
I have never seen Prague. Everyone tells me I must, so one day I shall detour through it on my way back to Stuttgart (where I keep my Euro-car, a 1993 BMW for which I paid 2250 Euros in 2008). Here is a look at Beebe River. I was plant manager for North American Rockwell from Dec. 1972 through June, 1975.
You are WAY beyond my knowledge of the woods. We had a forester (Dave Ash) who supervised the woods crew. We only cut about 5% of our maple needs, but it kept us able to buy logs at the best prices.;-)
We owned 30,000 acres in NH, and 70,000 in the Adirondacks of upstate NY.
Rockwell sold it all for $100/acre, as part of their liquidation of America's leading textile machinery companies. SOBs.
A bobbin was typically 9" long. We could use logs of smaller diameter and lower quality than the furniture companies. In NH they were known as "bobbin logs."
Only needed a 10" clear-cut. But the product was incredibly precise. +/- 0.001" in diameter, and +/- 0.009" total sweep over the length, when turned on centers.
Our 17 lathes were rotary-head specials built for Draper Corporation in the 1930s. We averaged 115,000 bobbins per day in Fiscal Year 1975, 27,000,000 units that year (the record).
That required only about 5.3 MMBf of hard maple. Five bobbins per board ft.
Are you living near Chicago?
Beebe River could have been Meadowbrook (Snoqualmie) in 1963. The loggers' hotel had a cafe in it. They made a box lunch (2 sandwiches, pie and a thermos of coffee) for a dollar. There were 2 bar on the street to the sawmill. One was always open.
I love it.
I will come to Chicago next June. I hope to meet you.
We're in Bensenville now. Mostly we've been in DuPage County after I sold the house in Logan Square. What a long strange trip it's been.
Agreed. Peace, brother!
Almost 1:00 AM here. Good night, Jim!
Night, Duncan. I look forward to seeing you.

Internet had job descriptions for all but whistle punking. So, I am guessing that was an extra-curricular passtime?
Reminds me of a submariner I knew, who didn't take a piss, but rather "blew bow buoyancy."
The punk laid a line from the landing to where the woods crew was setting chokers, etc. It had a squeeze handle on it and when you squoze it the air horn on the triple drum tooted. Once meant stop (or start if you were stopped). Twice meant back it up and three times meant go ahead slow Two toots , pause, then tree toots meant "tightline", where the tripledrum guy made the cables go forward and ack at the same time. You could lift a whole truckload off the ground like that.

Seven Long meant someone was hurt or dead. If it was followed by two short toots it meant "Bring a stretcher." You could hear the air horns all around, and we all prayed for the two toots when we heard the seven long.

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