March 20, 2018, Vol. 24, No. 14

A Memorable Break or Two

After changing from classes starting at the end of September in 1972 to classes starting at the beginning of September in 1973 (it was a short summer that year) Thanksgiving was quarter break.  Soon as finals were done we were out of there to go home for a week long extended Thanksgiving break.  I went west to Minnesota, but the weather was always cruddy.  In those days, when climatologists’ almost universal consensus was that a new ice age was coming, snow usually came in early November and was well underway by Thanksgiving break.

I remember one particular trip in ’74 or ’75 where we were breaking trail in the dark on M 26 through 8 inches of fresh snow all the way to Bruce Crossing.  In those days the county only plowed once a day in the morning and by nightfall there could be a lot of new snow.  My ’65 Buick was loaded down with 6 kids and lots of luggage over the back tires so the main problem was seeing where the road was.  That was actually easier at night than during the day when everything turned a dull gray.

We somehow always made it without incident.

My trips were easy.  Even though I was going two states away my trip was only half as long as the kids living in downstate Michigan.

Bruce Kettunen
Metallurgy (what they used to call the Materials Science department) ‘76

Thanks, Bruce. I’ve had my share of drives like that, ones where I look back now and wonder what I was thinking. It seemed like a good idea at the time… –Kevin

I went to Tech from 1984 to 1988.  That was when Tech was still on the quarter system.  The Thanksgiving Break was at the end of the quarter, so it was really a quarter break after the Fall quarter was over.  The Winter quarter contained a two week Christmas break instead of having the long break between semesters like Tech has now.  That made Winter quarter interesting since Winter Carnival Break was in there and our “Spring” break was in February between the Winter quarter and Spring quarter.  My parents lived in Gwinn, so it was only 100 miles drive from Tech to home.  Sometimes my parents would come get me. Sometimes I would ride home with someone going that direction.

Memorable breaks that I had at Tech was that I had my wisdom teeth pulled during Christmas break with only local anesthetic.  It was hard to have Christmas dinner when I could not eat much.  I found a way to get food into my mouth, though.  Then one Spring break the AFROTC went down to an Air Force Base in Florida.  We flew down in a C-130 with no heat in the cargo area.  I had to keep my feet off the floor because they were freezing.  One cadet almost didn’t make it back before we left to come back to Tech.  I found out that in Florida the drinking age was 19 at the time, so I took advantage of that fact and that I had a dependent ID to buy things at the base package store.  We also took another trip down to Wright-Patterson AFB during a break to see what the base was like there.  We had a briefing on Russian intelligence.  The room was getting heated when the “Russian” was saying how bad America was.  It turned out the “Russian” was really an American pretending to be Russian.  I was afraid that a fight was going to break out.  Those were the days.

Stacey E. Keener (Roehm) ‘88

Thanks, Stacey. You’re reminding me that I need to ask my classes what their impressions of the Cold War are, how much they understand about that rivalry. Besides Rocky IV, that is. –Kevin