Letters to the Editor
(Editor's Note: We received many more letters and e-mails than space limitations allow us to print. Many thanks to all our letter writers for taking the time to communicate with us.)
"Sedimental Journey" by Patia Stephens is one of the best articles of its type I have ever seen. The opening statement is so true, and she explains the concept of the Missoula flood very well. Thanks to Patia for the great article and pictures.Mary O'Malley
I read, with interest, the article on Glacial Lake Missoula. As a senior in wildlife biology in the spring of 1972, I found that I needed a geology course to graduate, receive my Air Force commission, and move on to pilot training. None of the freshman level courses would fit into my schedule. In fact, the only course in the geology department was a senior level hydrology course. Having none of the prerequisites to enroll in this, I had to plead with the instructor to let me in. I extend my thanks to the professor for his understanding and to the geology majors for their patience with an outsider. The highlight of the course was a week-long field trip following the course of the Lake Missoula deluge all the way to the Pacific. On my infrequent trips back to Missoula, I point out the remnants to any in my family who will listen. It's a great story. I can't wait for my copy of Professor Alt's book.
Doug Jones '72
As a visiting professor of plant ecology at Yellow Bay Biological Station, I gave considerable emphasis to the impact of Glacial Lake Missoula. However, it was apparent that I was never able to muster for the students the real extent of this glacial lake. The cover of the Montanan, with Mount Sentinel so prominent, does just what I needed. Kudos to you for relating the past with the present in this superb imagery of Glacial Lake Missoula.Keith L. White
Green Bay, Wisconsin
I read your article about Glacial Lake Missoula with the greatest of pleasure. I am a third generation Montanan who was born in Anaconda and raised in Missoula and Alberton. My father, Walter Hogan, was raised on a homestead up the Nine Mile. My dad knew everything about the geography and history of western Montana, but was especially knowledgeable about Missoula, the Nine Mile, and Alberton. What I am going to tell you came about because of stories my dad used to tell me.
When Larry [her husband] graduated from the U of M, we decided to move to Seattle. We felt that Seattle was close enough to home that when we were homesick it would be just a quick ride back home to get a "booster shot." Thus began our lives in the big city. I worked in the sales department for Holiday Inn SeaTac. In 1991 we had a new director of sales. This woman was very arrogant and truly a miserable person to have as a boss.
One day she heard me talking to one of my counterparts about Montana. (I sometimes bore people to death talking about Montana but, darn it, they just have to know what they are missing!) I was explaining Lake Missoula to this person, telling my friend how my dad used to tell me about how the ripples got on Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo.
When my boss overheard this story, she interrupted me and said, "You are full of bull___." She went on to say there was no way in hell that any of that was true. Of course, you know what happens when you tell a Montanan they don't know what they are talking about when they are talking specifically about Montana. I told her to put her money where her mouth was, at which point, she said until she had undisputable proof, she did not need to put her money anywhere.
I went home that evening and told my husband what happened. Well, once again, you know what happensinsult one Montanan and you've insulted them all! Larry spent about forty-five minutes finding a video (online) located at Western Washington University's geology department library that we could order. I don't remember the name of the video, but IT WAS FABULOUS! Very descriptive, with lots of computer-generated graphics and animation.Of course, by the time the video arrived, my boss had pretty much forgotten about the incident. So, with video in hand, I arranged for a TV/VCR to be set up in our office for our daily meeting. When it was my turn, I explained that we were going to have a geology lesson that would prove beneficial to all. I was very diplomatic about this whole thing and I presented it in a fashion so that she wouldn't lose too much face. I was vindicated, she apologized, everyone got a good laugh, and we all received the added bonus of learning something new. This experience also changed my personal relationship with this person ... we became friends! Anita Turner
We Just Love Those Voluntary Subscribers
I just finished reading the Winter 2001 Montanan and realized I had forgotten to send in my voluntary subscription to the best magazine published. It is the only magazine that I read cover to cover. I especially enjoy the Class Notes. Keep up the great work.
Robert W. Squires '56
That Tailgate Organizer
What a wonderful article by Betsy Holmquist titled "Have SuitcaseWill Tailgate" in the Winter 2001 Montanan. Jodi Johnson Moreau indeed does a wonderful job with the tailgate parties. We had a great time in Flagstaff. Thanks for giving others an insight into Jodi's talents and her personality. If your readers are not attending tailgate parties in your area, they need to give them a try.
Gaye Steinbrenner Darling '65
I read the tribute to Mike Mansfield, "The Measure of the Man," in the Winter 2001 issue of the Montanan and I feel there's more to be told.
When Mike retired to private life a few years back, a reporter asked, "What do you consider your proudest achievement during your long public life?" With typical brevity, he answered, "Saving Flathead Lake."
What he had referred to was something probably unknown outside western Montana, and probably unknown to most present day Montanans. During World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers, due to a colossal engineering error in the Columbia Basin, proposed to convert Flathead Lake to a federal dam. This would have submerged the lake and the Flathead Valleyfrom Polson to Glacier Parkunder many feet of water. As a war-time measure, the Corps of Engineers had the clout to do it. It would have destroyed the entire Flathead Valley.
The responsibility for heading off this idiotic proposal fell squarely on Mike Mansfield, then a first-term congressman from the western district. After an extended battle with the Corps of Engineers, Mike somehow saved Flathead Lake.
It is unfortunate that in later years in the U.S. Senate Mike succumbed to a temptation common to western senators of sponsoring [large dams, in his case] the Hungry Horse Dam. Flathead Lake itself is Mike's real monument. Typically, he never made it a big thing; he simply considered it part of his job. Maybe it was, but the story needs to be told before it's forgotten.
Earl Christensen '43
September 11 Recollections
First of all, your Winter 2001 issuefabulous! The best ever, I think. I was really intrigued by your "Sense of Space" piece and by Cary Shimek's visit with A. Clifford Edwards. Also, I was captivated by Patia Stephens' "Sedimental Journey" about Glacial Lake Missoula, in whose path this UM alum has lived most of her life.
Second, in case you're still interested in September 11 recollections, you may be interested in my son's story. Zachary '91, (founder of Board of Missoula outdoor gear store), is now based in Bozeman and often guides river trips. On the morning of September 11, Zack was just putting in to guide a float trip on the Missouri sponsored by the American Rivers program. In the party of sixteen were Lewis and Clark historian Stephen Ambrose, the president of the American Rivers program, a Montana representative for the program, Tour de France winner Greg Lemond, and a group of major contributors.
[Zack reported through an e-mail:] "We got the news as we were loading the clients' bags for the put-in. Ambrose gathered us for an inspirational address, and off we went."
What Zack most noticed, he wrote, was that unlike other trips he has guided, on this one there were no planes in the sky. "As much as I don't like to see or hear planes on the river," he wrote, "it was unsettling to really get absolute silence for the first time in my life." When I read this, two things struck me. One, while the rest of the nation was experiencing a kind of emotional silence, Zack was experiencing a now-unusual physical silence that Lewis and Clark themselves experienced and took for granted. Two, I was receiving this description by e-mail, an altogether new kind of silent communication, provided by a technology that is our assignment to explore.
Judith Franklin Spannagel '63
Correction: We extend apologies to the family of Jay Corcoran for errors in the story about September 11, 2001 that appeared in the Winter 2001 Montanan. Jay Corcoran was Eli Eller's uncle, not his father; he was lost when the plane he was on hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. Montanan staff deeply regret the error.