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Judy Patsch 01-11-2007 02:17 PM

Meandering Marine Musical Memories...
When I rode the DQ, I always had a tape recorder handy to catch each calliope concert at a lock or departure, and I usually noted when and where it was. I also had the recorder in many of the Texas Lounge and Orleans Room sessions. I've of course recorded the calliope on the NATCHEZ many times and also from the other steamboats, but those DQ tapes recapture an entire cruise. Before this current car, which has an MP3 plug, outlet, or whatever it is, instead of a tape player, I used to stay awake on my 939 mile trek to NOLA largely on calliope music, blaring as loudly as needed. I've now found another use for these tapes, as I have a half an hour each morning to do nothing but lie still while strapped in an advanced traction-type machine, trying to get rid of some back problems. The second day I grabbed a tape from July 30, 1977 on the DQ and oh what memories! How many on here can remember the 5 PM daily singalongs in the Texas Lounge? This particular one was on the last night of the trip, which happened to be my 28th straight day aboard, and we were between Winona and Wabasha enroute to St. Paul. It was obvious that Vic was on vacation, as Dan Forman's voice emceed the proceedings. They usually played a patriotic medley to end the hour, and this particular day Dan showed off his new purchase - as soon as this medley started, he peeled off his longsleeved shirt to reveal a very gaudy flag shirt, which brought the house down. Also heard in that session was Fred Dodd on banjo, Pat Patterson on clarinet, and a wonderful baritone solo of Old Man River by a passenger... Today's tape featured Dave Tschiggfrie on calliope as we left L&D 10 at Guttenberg. The first selection was At Sundown, and my narrative later confirmed the time as 8:50 PM, with several hundred people there and I threw at least 50 souvenir doubloons to them. Dave ended with Peg of My Heart, a sure indication that Kathy Lake and her mother Peg had come down from their home at 617.2 to the lock... the next bit had Dave serenading his hometown of Dubuque in the rain, as Capt. Jim Blum's deep voice came over the speakers telling everyone about the city front, including the recently-acquired dredge Black and the beginning of the new museum in the Ice Harbor. Our shore stop had docked up near the bowling alley, not downtown as nowadays. This tape wasn't labeled, but it should be '78 or '79. Later Dave played as we left Muscatine, yes, LEFT Muscatine! We obviously had some time to kill and back then the Master was truly Master of the boat and could make the decision to add a stop. I noted that I put off a garbage bag of clothes to my parents, I guess to make my flight home from St. Louis simpler in a few days. My parents, and Dave's, could always be counted on at the locks and shore stops around our towns... Sorry to bore you non-DQers, but these tapes just brought back a flood of memories of great times back in 'my good old days' on the DQ, back when times were simpler and 'hokier', I guess...

Ted Guillaum 01-11-2007 03:20 PM

I miss Hokey.
Thanks for that posting Judy. Those late afternoon sing-a-longs were a lot of fun. Sometimes I miss Hokey.

Pat Carr 01-11-2007 04:37 PM

I loved this! I hope you will share more from your tapes!!!

Lil Smith 01-11-2007 05:35 PM

Really nice, enjoyable posting. Thanks, Judy.

Mary Sward Charlton 01-11-2007 05:56 PM

What a coincidence-while visiting my mother, I ran across a tape my dad made during my first DQ trip in 1974! I have not yet found a machine with which to play it, but can't wait. I remember standing next to him on deck as he recorded the whistle and calliope, but he loved the Dixieland music as well. OK, everyone--who was likely to be aboard in June of 1974, Cincinnati to Pittsburgh?

Judy Patsch 01-11-2007 11:31 PM

If you mean officers, Capt. Wagner as Master and Gabe as Mate and Calliopist. He wouldn't miss a chance to play his hometown. Dave Tschiggfrie would also have been on as watchman/calliopist. Both Dave and Gabe play the Doc school of calliope music. Dan didn't start on the DQ until July, so another calliope possibility would be Pete Eveland. I believe '74 was the year the Tookers were off the boat in a snit over something or another. Cappy Louden would have been one of the pilots I imagine, and possibly Rip Ware for the other. Sharon Wright was in charge of the Gift Shop, and Henry Mitchell and Rueben were waiters. That's all off the top of my head. My first trip was a 3 dayer, Aug.20-23, 1973 and my second trip was my first full UMR cruise in July or August of 1974, whenever her first trip of the year up here was. I didn't do Pittsburgh until 1977. In 1977 I had my car paid off, so I had some extra money, so I booked 28 straight days, took off 6 (my parents rode then), and rode 9 more. Those 28 days included a 7 day round trip Cincy/Pittsburgh( a good idea ), a 7 day round trip Cincy/Kentucky Lake, a 3 day round trip Cincy/Oxbow Bends, and an 11 day Cincy/St. Paul trip. The 9 days were a 6 day St.Paul/St. Louis and a 3 day Hannibal weekend I think. Daily rates then on a share basis were about $85. This was for a C room, which I don't know what that is today, but it was room 338 and the like, the cheapest rooms with a bathroom.

Judy Patsch 01-12-2007 12:13 AM

The Gong Show
The Gong Show I mentioned that we had a wonderful solo of Old Man River by a passenger. We weren't always so lucky. In 1978, a woman and her 20ish daughter were riding and trumpeter John Ramon was romancing the mother during the cruise. Vic would help him out by playing her requests. One day she asked to have her daughter sing. Well, if they had any milk at the bar, it would have curdled. Fortunately they got her off after one song. Unfortunately, the next day they let her sing again. But we were ready for this possibility. The Gong Show was an extremely popular TV show then. I don't remember all the members of our boat gong show crew, but Watchman Keith and I were two of them. When this babe started caterwailing (sp?) again, we gave the signal, and someone started ringing the roof bell. Dan was in hysterics as were we, but most of the people, including the 'singer', didn't get it. I don't think she sang again that trip. Vic and Dan were good about giving passengers a chance to perform. Karen Dodd, aka Toots Maloy, got her show biz break in the Texas when she was a bartender. Dan gave her some voice lessons and she got to sing occasionally at the 5 PM sessions. She was so well-received that she moved over to the MQ as a vocalist the next year. On the hokey side: who remembers Vic and Mom singing "Mountain Dew" during the country music session? Boy, if we did this stuff today, we'd probably be whacked off the ships by those elegant fluffy bathrobes!!!

Paul Penta 01-12-2007 12:56 AM

Hi Judy,

Appropos of your post about the young lady trying to sing is the musicians' joke that follows:

An musician passes away and is met at the pearly gates by St Peter. The following conversation ensues:

"Welcome to heaven, man. You check out just fine. Come on in. You're gonna love it up here. We have something for everyone."

"Hi St Peter. That's good to know. As you can see from my record, I'm a musician. What do you have for me?"

"We've got just the thing. Every Friday nite there's a jam session. All the cats are here. Satchmo, the Duke, Gene Krupa ... all of them. And ANYONE can sit in, so have a great time. There's just one thing though"

"What could possibly be wrong with that?"

"Well, God has a girlfriend and she thinks she can sing"

And BTW, Judy, if you come aboard, I'm sure Jackie Bankston will happily sing "Mountain Dew" for you. "Hokey" is not out of style. "Hockey" maybe, but not "hokey".



Mary Sward Charlton 01-12-2007 09:16 AM

From my 1974 trip, I have a picture of Captain Gabe in his First Mate's uniform, which I've given to him. The uniforms then were much nicer than what the mates wear now! Captain Wagner was not aboard--I would have known that, don't you think? He would have been too memorable. I don't think the Tookers were on, either--Judy, your memory is phenomenal. There was a Dixieland band that later played in Cincinnati at Joe's Bar--I went down to see them that fall. Somehow, I sat at the Captain's table--maybe because I was 21? ;) I'd been a steamboat fan since I was a teenager--this trip was a present from my parents when I graduated from college. I got home and immediately applied. Alas, no openings--went to grad school instead. Fell in love, got married, had kids--but things have a way of coming full circle when you truly have a passion for something.

Darin Schuld 01-12-2007 12:23 PM

Nothing wrong with hokey-ness
There's nothing wrong with a little hokey-ness. In fact, this youngen found it to be rather enjoying. One of the things that is needed on a steamboat cruise is the encouragement to slow down, do simpler things, and just relax. A little silly fun goes right along with that. If the MAL marketing folks would get with it, they would point out the benefits of a quieter, slower paced vacation, instead of installing TVs, or possibly giving every passenger free Internet usage or dailiy newspapers. Worry about real life when you get back home, and turn off the cell phone and enjoy the cruise.

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