By Fritz Wolff
In A Room for the summer season, Fritz Wolff takes the reader on a memorable trip into the rough-and-tumble international of hardrock mining, recounting his stories either above and lower than flooring as an apprentice engineer throughout the past due 1950s.In June 1956, on the age of eighteen, Wolff went to paintings for the Bunker Hill corporation in Kellogg, Idaho, within the Coeur d’Alene sector. Arriving in a drained 1939 Chevy coupe, with approximately twenty cash in his pocket, Wolff spent 3 university summers operating for Bunker Hill. He realized firsthand the pleasures of camaraderie with fellow employees and the hazards of operating underground.Today the hardrock mining is all yet forgotten. The Bunker Hill corporation is understood, no longer since it produced 430 million oz. of silver and never since it supplied a dwelling for hundreds of thousands of households for greater than a century, yet since it is likely one of the greatest EPA superfund websites. Wolff doesn't idealize the mining undefined; for plenty of employees the stipulations have been nightmarish. yet in spare, lyrical prose, he conjures up the intrinsic goodness of an easier time, whilst hard-working fogeys went approximately their company with braveness, humor, and plenty of gumption.
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Extra resources for A Room For The Summer: Adventure, Misadventure, And Seduction In The Mines Of The Coeur D'Alene
No one mentioned women. ” I kept my mouth shut and ears open, listening for a protocol if there was one—a sign of what worked and what didn’t. In retrospect, I think it came down to everyone minding their own business and a preoccupation with the thought if they weren’t stuck clear the hell out 26 • A ROOM FOR THE SUMMER here in no-man’s land trying to eke out a buck, they’d be with family back in Oklahoma or Colorado. Most were bachelors, or near-bachelors, or tramp miners on the move. Some may have been camping at the boardinghouse until they could bring a wife and kids to Kellogg.
And not being smart enough to realize that even old hands bought new buckets from time to time, I took it up the mountain behind my room and dunked it in a mud puddle and scratched it up. Pretty soon it looked like a new bucket, artificially aged. As the evening came to a close, I took the twelvedollar guitar out of the three-dollar case and tuned it 30 • A ROOM FOR THE SUMMER according to the Mel Bay instruction book. My fingertips hurt so bad after that experience that, with a newfound respect for those who could actually play, I put it away.
The process, whatever it was, must work. No one else seemed the least bit concerned. And next to us sat an identical shaft compartment with a wire rope extending to oblivion. Whatever was attached to its bitter end would provide a counterbalance to the load we imposed, one skip descending and one skip rising. And next to it, in a space called the manway, a wooden ladder rested on the rocky sill. It provided a theoretical means of escape should all else fail. Obviously, walking out— actually, climbing out—was an option.