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Follow Ups – Thanks!!!

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:

“Hey, Grunge!

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.

  1. Malinda Medsker

    I, too, am one of your “9” faithful readers. Enjoyed the snow scenes – the campus is so beautiful, but especially in the snow. And just wanted to say that the view from the Jones Day rooftop is also where Scott Medsker ’03 will be for the inauguration – as part of his work at Jones Day.

  2. Grunge: A bit more on this week’s weather.
    I noticed Scott (Fendley) dropped a weather note your way on one of our milder Minnesota days earlier this week (15 below). It’s cooled down a bit since then. It was 22 below when I left the gym this morning on my way to work. Just a bit cooler than the 21 below of yesterday. We did get up to 6 below yesterday afternoon with a beautiful clear blue sky. Rumor has it that we may get above zero this weekend.
    It’s a good thing we live in the urban center’s heat core. The suburban areas are really chilly and “up North” (We Minneapolitans are southerners in the state of Minnesota!) it’s down right cold: over forty below … before the wind chill gets counted. Some of the 10,000 ice houses on Lake Mille Lacs for the winter fishing season may actually be vacant this week … It must be cold. Weeks like this remind us why Minnesotans have one of the longest life expectancies in the nation … we keep ourselves in cold storage for three to six months every year.
    It really is not our intention to share our winter weather with Hoosierland. Don’t blame us, blame the Canadians … we do! (In the old days we would blame the Soviet bloc Siberians but that’s passe now) The term used to describe the cold and high winds descending on us from the north is “Alberta Clipper,” not “Minnesota Misery.”
    All this to say, when you finally get some of those warm winds from the south … PLEASE pass them on to your brothers in the Northland.
    Warmest regards from the state that must have coined the phrase “cold hands but a warm heart,”
    Charlie Crowley ,70