During the winter of 1958-59, I was working in the advertising business in New York City – just like you see in the show “Madmen”. The ad agency, McCarty Co., was located in the Chanin Bldg., on the corner of 42nd. St and Lexington Ave, kitty-corner across from the Chrysler Bldg. It’s major client was MG sports cars. I was a trainee. I was living at home in Forest Hills, and commuting by subway.
I applied for work at the Manzanita Lake Lodge, in Lassen National Park, CA, and was hired. I arrived on May 1, the first of the seasonal staff to show up. My job was to drive down to Redding to pick-up other staff, and assist “Old George” in opening up the hotel and cabins.
The hotel had rowboats on the lake, and I went fishing first thing. On May 3, I caught a 22″ brown trout on a white marabou streamer, during a snowstorm. Here’s the fish I caught, the following morning.
I soon made another memorable catch. I was sent to Redding to pick up a female employee, who I’ll leave unidentified. As we drove the two hours to the Lodge we got a chance to get acquainted, and soon after, she relieved me of my increasingly burdensome state of virginity. Finally! Thanks! (Really!)
George and myself began to open the cabins. I learned a lot from George. One difficult item we had to deal with were the spring-loaded fold-out beds, many of which were sprung. George said: “If it doesn’t work the first time, force it”. He had a special tool he used to pull back on the springs, and when I asked him what it was called, he said: “It’s a son of a bitch”.
Myself and Tim Babcock lived in this cabin for the month of May. After that, we moved into our permanent quarters in a tent cabin.
Here I am, heading off for an early-season fishing trip. Mt. Lassen stands behind.
In June, I borrowed some equipment and went skiing up at the pass. I had learned to ski the year before. Note the touring bindings and poles with huge baskets! I also skied with an old Swiss guy, who would set up slalom courses off to the side of the highway.
Partway through the summer, I transferred my attentions to Deanna F. She had a car, and one night we drove up to the pass. She let me drive on the way back downhill. I drove too fast, hit an icy spot on a curve and rolled the car. Neither of us was injured, but I was no longer allowed to drive the company station wagon, and was re-assigned to be the night kitchen clean-up guy. This was, in fact, a pretty nice assignment. I would host select staff for steaks and wine after hours – on the hotel, of course. I had the run of the place.
Most of my hikes were to lakes and streams. I’m not sure if I climbed Mt. Lassen, even. I have no photos of such a climb. As can be seen, I was still using a box camera, and probably the one I was using in 1957, since the light leaks look the same in both series of photos!
Deanna was an artist, and did some sketches of me:
It was another great summer!
Deanna and I left Lassen for UC-Berkeley, where we were both enrolled for the fall semester. This would be my second attempt at going to college. It lasted a half-semester. Deanna announced that she had got a ski bum job at Winter Park, CO, and I said I would go with her. I really wanted to ski!
Postscript: Kathy and I visited Lassen about 15 years ago, to fish Manzanita Lake and Hat Creek. All of the buildings – the hotel, the cabins, the General Store, Park Service buildings etc. – that were at the lake in 1959 had been removed. Why? The Park Service had determined that, should Mt. Lassen erupt, the Manzanita Lake area stood a good chance of being wiped-out. Since that time, some tourist facilities have been restored – but not a hotel. It appears that the summer of 1959 really was the good old days!
This post covers the winter of 1959/60: