No less than 2 of the 9 faithful readers have reported in with updates to recent blogs…Greg Castanias ’87 in Washington, DC and Jim Roper ’68 in Colorado Springs.
Weather Follow Up
A quick update: this photo from the the weather station at Grunge’s house this morning.
That’s -16.8 degrees!
From my good friend Jim Roper in Colorado Springs:
Your iPod shot on the blog reminded me of the winter of ’67–actually the summer, when the pipefitters went on strike in late July. A wildcat strike, quite illegal, but the steelworkers honored it, and I was a card-carrying steelworker.
After the picket line went up, I stayed inside three days and nights working as a Third Helper at time-and-a-half wages in the Number Two Open Hearth at Youngstown Sheet and Tube. We made steel until all the pig iron was used up after the blast furnaces shut down. Made myself a golden egg there, but then the goose died. I lost a month’s wages, and would probably owe Wabash big time by springtime.
So I worked every day in the mill over Christmas break. This era was the heyday of American steel-making. If I worked a double-shift, I could make more than my dentist, but that’s another story.
Day one, Saturday, driving past a bank clock/thermometer in East Chicago 6 a.m. enroute to the lakefront, I noticed the temperature showed minus 25. You gotta love the Region. A Christmas Story, that movie where the kid freezes his tongue to the flagpole, was filmed there.
At the mill they put me on the labor gang and sent us to break the ice between the rails in the railroad switches. Those switches were located between tall, quarter-mile-long north-oriented buildings, and the channeled wind roared through at thirty to forty knots. Luckily, this was before wind chill and OSHA were invented.
To this day I remember the first mighty swing of the pick-axe. I brought that thing down with linebacker ferocity and it stopped on the surface of the six-inch thick ice, leaving a tiny white spot. My arms reverberated like in a roadrunner cartoon. This would be a day to remember.
Some of the crew complained to the foreman, and he told us to build a fire. Right. By ten o’clock I was literally numb and seriously considering my immediate plans. Exactly at that point, the foreman returned and yelled, “Roper, go down to furnace number three. They need a third helper.” Music to my ears. I worked mostly double-shifts (on the furnace) right through the holidays and even logged second-helper time, a big step up. Wabash got paid.
Yeah, it gets cold up there!”
Inauguration Follow Up
From my good friend Greg Castanias:
“FYI: Tom Halverson ’87 and his wife and daughters are coming from NY to stay with us this coming week — we’ll be viewing the Inauguration from the Jones Day roofdeck and squiring our brides to two inaugural balls.
I also have it on good authority that Marc Nichols (class of 1992) has scored inauguration tickets.”
As you can see from the shot blow, the view from the Jones Day roofdeck is simply awe-inspiring.