Ben Oostdam's

page 7

1957 - 1960

I returned to sweltering Montreal for a few days, then headed south for Pottersville, New York, to start my summerjob at Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. This was almost a 24-7 type job, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Before the busy season started, we cleared and fixed up the trails for the nature walks along the spectacular roaring creek that then disappeared underground underneath the "Stone Bridge", and later exited through a system of caves. Lydia, the owner, was a renowned speleologist. She also knew numerous gemologists, one of which took me on a tour of Garnet Mountain, where I gathered some almandite, and to a nearby site where we loaded up on serpentine. This inspired me to set up a "mineral-grab-barrel", into which kids could pick up some packed mineral for a quarter, with identification and explanation by a real geologist (me). Lydia was kind enough to share the proceeds 50-50.

When the busy season started, I spent a lot of time in the gift shop, and tying bumpercards to visitors' cars. I also gave demos of "abseilen" - descending by rope - from the top of the Natural Bridge to the terrace below . In addition, I did gardening and drove around distributing fliers and brochures and setting up some very attractive birdhouses reading "Something to Chirp About..." and the name and address of NSBC

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