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1973 Photos and Memories
Staff 73

Front row: Joan Catherine Brennan, Jeff Byers, Bill Baar, xxx, Dave Amos, Julie Graefe, Brian Graefe, Bruce Troe, John Cuff, Charlotte Ventresca, Jeff Lovell

Middle row: Joe Morton, Larry Brennan, Dave Oakey, Sam Scaffidi, Dan Wacks, John French, Bob (Nick) Schwary, Tom OT Adams, John L. Boehm, George Keagle, Omer Runyan

Back row: Chuck McKinley, Thos Brennan, Ned Storer, Jim Schultz, John Lewis, Mark Johnson, E. Lee Roane, Stu Gentry, Rick Brandon, Bob Marietta, Karen Stults, Gary Stults

Lee Roane recalls: "When trainers weren't training, crews weren't arriving at base on an arrival day, and there was nothing better to do (training sites 1 through 12 were in Class A condition, remember, Base Campsite #1 was the demo site by the staff beach), we did base maintenance. Staining the siding, digging trenches for the fire system, opening the dry well by the office, and re-roofing the buildings. The attached photo shows the training staff of 1973 at the end of a successful roofing job.
From the left, seated: Sam Scaffidi, Bob Marietta, David Oakey, Stuart Gentry, Lee Roane, Rick Brandon, Bill Baar, David Amos, Ned Storer.
Standing: John Lewis, Phil Grate, John L Boehm, and Jeff Byers.
Note: Between John Lewis and Phil Grate, at about Stuart Gentry's left ear, you can barely make out Larry Brennan on the roof of the next building.
The Fire System: (by Larry Brennan)

"How many remember the underground fire system we put in around 1973? We dug ditches across the field and to certain locations, located hydrants and drain plugs, and set a high-pressure pump down by the old Shop with an intake line running some distance out into the lake. The Canoe Base Committee came up with the whole thing and provided the money for it. (We provided the backs for the labor.) They were apparently worried about the generally poor state of our fire safety readiness- after all, if one of those old buildings had caught, there would be no chance of putting the fire out after the first minutes and little that could have been done with fire barrels and red buckets to keep it from spreading.

So we dug ditches and laid PVC pipe and glued fittings and practiced handling the hoses and the high-price valves that controlled the water. The pump could put out a hundred gallons a minute- we filled a 55 gallon drum in less than 30 seconds! We also realized that a stream of water that powerful would probably do more damage to the old buildings than the fire! We used the television antenna tower by the old ranger's quarters to dry the hoses, which could not be stored wet. (Wet canvas hoses mildew and rot.) At the end of the summer, the pump had to be removed and stored, and the system drained. In the spring, the system had to be hooked up again and tested- and leaks repaired!

The problem was getting that "*%#@*" pump down by the old shop to work. As I recall, we started it every week or so, and it got to be a temperamental customer by 1979. I took some movies of the system, I believe. (Of course, I took movies of a lot of things!)"

Lee Roane recalls:

"I remember digging a trench through the glacial till in '73, not '78. I have slides of the field and will check them to document the date. We wore hard hats and boots along with our class D uniform sans shirts. I joined a few sections of PVC pipe myself. I think John L was TD then. Up from the shore by the Shop shop, across to the Trail Shop where one hydrant stood, up to the Office where a second hydrant was located, then across the field to the north end of the Long House for a third hydrant. Testing the system involved hooking a hose at each of two adjacent standpipes and attempting to wet the other hose handler down. We had to dig deep enough so that any standing water in the system wouldn't freeze in the minus thirty degree winters. The Base Ops engineering division made certain that there were cocks to at low points in the line to allow for proper drainage in preparation for winterizing the system.

Speaking of construction projects, how many out there remember the Motorola radios we got during the same period? And the mast on the hill behind the walk-in? Trainers helped clear the site. Rick Brandon, logger supreme, now a timber cruiser in UP, masterminded the transport of many stout trunks to Lost Canoe where the Training Department assembled a raft, floated it to the creek by the Lost Canoe to Escanaba portage trail, and built Trainer Bridge. Trainer Bridge not only served the portage in summer but also a cross country ski trail in winter. I also remember reroofing the Health Lodge and about the same time rebuilding the dry well by the office. What busy people our staff became when campers weren't as plentiful."

Stu Gentry remembers:

"Its funny the memories that some people's names can trigger. Seeing Bill Barr's postings brought a host of memories regarding my first week as a staff member in 1973.

As a 16 year old this was my first real job other than mowing lawns and I had excitedly read through the contract that had been sent to me. I was okay with most things but realized that I was going to need to do something about my hair if I was going to meet the clause covering neat short hair that was above the ear. I took a big gulp, went to the barber, and then worried about whether I was going to get in trouble for the few wisps of hair that were still flirting with the top of the ear.

Imagine my distress when as a self-conscious, gangly kid I arrived at the base and the 2nd person I met was Bill Barr. Not bad so far, EXCEPT that this OLDER and OH SO EXPERIENCED trainer not only had hair covering his ears, he had his hair tied back in a pony tail that was well below his shoulders. All I could think was "what had I done?".

It was a great relief to me (and probably Bill's disgruntlement) when Brian set up the Graefe Barber Shop in the staff lounge two days later and made quick work of both Bill and Bob Marietta's locks.

As a sequel to this story, that same week we also got one of our few examples of Democracy In Action at the Base when the staff got to decide what our new policy would be on that dreaded beast called "Facial Hair". My recollection is that the group finally decided on neat mustaches but no beards. I was still caught up with the Hair-Over-The-Ears issues so didn't pay much attention --- not that I had much facial hair to worry about at that tender age."

But Bill Baar counters: "I believe that 1974 was the year of the picture of Bobby, George Keagle and I in the Voyageur Trainer's room of the staff barracks taken by E Lee. It shows the three of us upon arrival at camp before our haircuts. The only time I ever remember wearing a pony tail was when I put it in one so Brian could cut it off all at once. Otherwise I never wore a pony tail. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that meeting Bobby and I had such a positive impact on this young staff member's life."