23 June 2011

Back in the Summer of '82...and '83 and '84.

One of the few parks who kept log books

Documenting the best days of my life

Entries by full time staff ran a little dry

But the journals show a more festive attitude once the seasonal staff arrived.

Even the photography was festive

It wasn't a Summer internship at The New Yorker but it beat waiting on tables. Three mind frying Summers are documented in Ranger Logs archived in climate controlled and acid free storage somewhere in Northeastern Florida. An NPS curator was kind enough to scan what turned out to be the best days of my life.

Buried in some of the most god awful handwriting are the frustrations of dealing with thousands of visitors a day in a very small space with temps as high as 107. Mr Carlson from TV's, WKRP is afforded VIP coverage but, as always happens, it is the everyday that stands out with each ranger contributing his or her own point of view and penmanship.

A ranger nicknamed, Whitey is addressed as such by a black ranger to the astonishment of a southern Georgia family. A Japanese father asks a ranger for directions to I-95. A pig tailed man in a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt walks by and offers, "Y'all didn't have no trouble finding Pearl Harbor."

It was like working in a giant fish bowl with visitors from all over the world converging with Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia day trippers. All of it captured in a beautiful three volume set complete with photographs and illustrations. Contact me for a limited edition copy or screenplay.


Unclelooney said...

Pooping is Trad but not Ivy.

Anonymous said...

That's simply perfect. So glad you documented that time, and with good writing. And from those days to today, shooting women's footwear on a throw rug in front of the Lincoln Center; mon dieu, the mind reels!


Anonymous said...

I'll take the screenplay!

Anonymous said...

Why, after looking at the pictures and then reading the word "screenplay", did Police Academy instantly come to mind?
I blame the "Whitey" comment and the mustache.

GSV JR said...

"Ya'll didn't have no trouble finding Pearl Harbor."

Oyster Guy said...

Truly special to for you to have such well documented experiences and no shortage of joie de vivre. Where does the time and energy go? I echo DB's thoughts but I still think it was a major oversight for you and Miss Olive not to have descended onto Lincoln Center with fast ropes from an older French Alouette helicopter, the camera mounted on an M-14 rifle stock. ;)

Jared said...

I recommend Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey's account of being a ranger in Arches National Park in Utah.

A buddy of mine just left today to hike the Continental Divide Trail through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana (including Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks). He's looking for light reading set in the wilds of that area. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I was reminded of my summers spent in Glacier National Park in the 70s, waiting tables. The interaction with visitors was pretty strange sometimes. However, the job allowed me to explore one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Jared, your friend might enjoy Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods, about hiking the Appalachian Trail, or possibly The Lost Continent, both of which are very good. Of course hiking the Appalachian Trail has new meaning since I read the book. I read the Lost Continent on a long airplane trip. I read a paragraph, laughed out loud, read the paragraph aloud to my family, they laughed, and then we repeated the cycle. For hours. I still feel bad for the people around us.

Anonymous said...

St. Aug a wonderful place. Castillo St. Marco still excellent. If you make it back down, try Casa Maya on Hypolita St. Excellent.

Anonymous said...

Seeing your journal entry for Frank Suddeth reminded me that sadly, he passed away last year:



tintin said...

Jared- Thx for the heads up on Desert Solitaire. Never knew it. Spent over an hour last night reading about it. Have to get it. Not to discount the rec from Anon but if you're fiend never read Abby's book I'd go with it.

Also, and this is just me, I don't like reading books about a place I'm visiting when I'm there. I think reading about a desert in Panama is perfection.

I think a good crime noir would make sense while hiking the Divide. Seeing something for the first time should be about your discovery and not someone else who wrote a book about the same place you're discovering. I doubt that'll make any sense to anyone but it works for me.

Anon 17:25- Thx for your recs. The NPS is struggling with parks being overwhelmed by visitors. It was a real problem in the more urban locations but was starting to hit the more remote parks.

Anon- Heading back down soon. I'll have to give it a try.

DB- Thanks. I didn't know. I can see Frank asking God if he could introduce him to Menendez and de Leon.

Anonymous said...

GREAT photo of you and Russ! You introduced us to Russ while in those outfits! I was hooked immediately! Where is Big Ed??? DMW

mbnelson said...

I remember those docents days so well! I still have the silver spoon that you made for me. You were very handsome in your uniform and I always enjoyed your visits to the places where I was stationed for the day. I remember when he had dinners with the other docents, so much fun!!! Were you working when the King of Spain come to St. Augustine? Best time of my life.