Virginia, there really was a Garden of Eden!
It existed right here in Deep River and was called the Staff
Hotel. There was no angry
God, rather a benevolent manager named Jack Carruthers.
No snake (that I knew of.).
But there were about seventy Adams and twice as many Eves,
separated only by a desk in the lobby that was guarded by kindly
Archangels, also known as desk clerks. (One of these, incidentally, was
Charlie Meeker, father of hockey great Howie Meeker.)
Another way to bridge the gap was via “Lovers’ Leap”, a 2nd
floor connection between the women’s wing and the men’s wing.
There was a constant, overwhelming opportunity to eat of the fruit of
the Tree of Knowledge. The inmates of this “Garden” came from all
over the world. There were
chemists, engineers, physicists, biologists, mathematicians, electronic
and electrical experts, technicians, machinists, medical doctors,
nurses, librarians, teachers, and more.
Whatever your interests or whatever you wanted to know or do
there would be someone with whom you could commune.
And not surprisingly, there were lots of people to organize
whatever needed organizing – parties, dances, sailing, skiing, crafts,
you name it.
Within minutes of my arrival on a Sunday in October 1952, I was welcomed
by Jim Hammerton, chairman of the Staff House Club and a sometime Royal
Navy electronics type. Very
early in the conversation, he said that there would be a Roman party the
next Saturday night. Wanting
to meet people, I offered to help Jim in any way I could.
“Good,” he said, “Meet me in the hotel storeroom Saturday
afternoon. We need to carry
a bunch of mattresses up the hill to the cafeteria for use as lounges
and some floor mats for use as chariots in the chariot races Saturday
night.” At the appointed
time I showed up and Jim was there.
After a few minutes I asked, “Where are the others?”
He said, “It’s just you and me, Iain; there are no others!”
This story has a happy ending. Not only did Jim and I become
long-lasting friends, but my “horse” that Saturday night was George
Irwin, another keen skier who became one of my best friends at the
Hotel. Of course we went to
the Roman party dressed in hotel bed sheets; the homemade punch was
superb; the ladies were beautiful!
Best of all, this was merely the first of a series of memorable
Staff House Parties, some of which I remember more than others.
to Staff Hotel site >>