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Old 11-11-2007, 06:03 AM   #1
Wes Steele
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Default Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

The sinking of the "Fitz" that is....

I live in Cleveland, Ohio, relatively close to the shores of Lake Erie so I grew up seeing the huge ships pass by....or making there way into the docks...loading or unloading.

I didn't hear about the "Fitz" sinking until the next day on the six o'clock news. With a number of men from Ohio on the "Fitz", it was big news here in Cleveland.

I could not believe it happened. I thought those freighters could take any kind of weather.

A year and a half later, the first time I heard "The Wreck" I got goose bumps....I will never forget that also.

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Old 11-11-2007, 08:34 AM   #2
Peter Bro10
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Default Re: Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

I don't recall too specifically, but as a teenager in suburban Chicago (and a Lightfoot fan even then!) I do recall knowing of the "event" before I first heard the song.... In other words I knew what the song was about.

It was probably while I was working in the liquor store where I worked for several years as a stockboy. The radio station that the owner had playing all the time was a combination of music and news, and I recall hearing of the death of Mayor Daley.... I recall my exact location when the news came over.... wierd how we can remember things like that.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

No,no lnowledge of it when it happened. I was in the 2nd grade in Erie,PA then and I didn't hear the song until it landed on oldies radio in the early 1980s.

It makes it no less serious to me,I played the song yesterday.
"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

Yah. And seeing those huge ships going through the locks at the soo. They are big. Looking at em up close when your a kid sticks with ya. Later we lived in Duluth and loved hearing the ships toot the signal to open the bridge. Memories. Superior gots me when I think about my dad pickin rocks on the beach at Crisp Point, learing how to rapel on the north shore or swimming in the freezing surf with my kids in summer. No wonder I love his songs, it's like hearin crikets chirpin again. From a gentle wave lulling you to sleep to those roaring winds whipping yer brain, it keeps ya wanting to be there.
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

I lived in Finland Minnesota in a small cabin. At the end of the road was Lake Superior. If you didn't slow down to turn you likely end up in the water. We only had one TV station by antenna, it was the Duluth station and it was a huge mystery at the beginning.

BTW - Hi Wes, welcome back!

Last edited by brink-; 11-12-2007 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

I was 13 years old living in northern Minnesota at the time and able to deer hunt for the first time. That November weekend was very warm and I remember that the hunting party saying it was almost too warm for deer hunting. Somebody in our hunting party said to beware because in 1940, a very balmy day was followed by a freak snowstorm in which dozens were killed in Minnesota. I remember that the weather turned suddenly cold, stormy with snow and vaguely remember that there was a shipwreck on Lake Superior on the news.

Gordon was on CKY radio in Winnipeg all during this time with Sundown, Carefree Highway, Rainy Day People, Beautiful, etc. I was a fan at the time as that was about the only connection with the world that a farm boy had. Even at that time, I thought the Lightfoot sound was so cool.

In those days, the only way one knew that there was a new Gordon Lightfoot album was hearing it on CKY. In the summer of 1976, I heard the new song on CKY that we still talk about to this day. On a back-to-school shopping trip to Bemidji in August, I was able to buy the Summertime Dream LP. It was a 100 mile trip back home to play it and I could hardly wait. Still remember the surprise to see the lyrics on the liner sleeve. That record got played until the grooves wore out.

Now I'm 45 and have a blast seeing Gordon whenever I can. I don't deer hunt anymore. We have the internet to track Gord's every step. There are Lightfoot websites that have documented everything possible. And 32 years later, I still think that sound is cool.

Looking forward to late March 2008 in Minnesota. Thanks for coming back here Gord !!

John/ Minnesota
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:38 PM   #7
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I remember when that happened because I knew a girl whose dad was on that ship when it happened. My dad had worked on one of those ships before too. I don't know the name of it. She and I had been to each others houses a few times and hitch hiked together and partied and things like that. I don't know her anymore because I moved so many times since then.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:59 PM   #8
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Myself, I was only 13 or 14 when it happened. When the song came out, I just figured that it was another interesting tune. It was ages later when I had been reading about famous shipping disasters that it had started to dawn on me that it wasn't just any old tune, but an actual historical event that was being sung about.
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:37 PM   #9
New 12 String Mike
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Default Re: Do Any Of You Remember When It Happened?

I got married in '76 and heard the song for the first time driving to pick up my new wife.

Didn't know anything about the wreck itself, but being a Gord fan, figured it was an actual event. That was confirmed when I bought the album with the small notice on the back.

In 1986, I caught Gord's New Orleans concert performed in an out door theater with the Mississippi in the background. When he sang the song, a freighter passed behind him going up river in the dark with mostly just its lights visible. When the line "lights went outta site" came up, that was spooky indeed.
In my fashion, I have been a father...Here in my off again, on again smile.Mike

Last edited by New 12 String Mike; 11-23-2007 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 11-24-2007, 02:02 PM   #10
gwen snyder
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I too remember the event as being sadly indicative of industry on the Lakes and the other sad environmental calamities of the region (river afire, etc). I was a teenager listening to serious events with a keen young mind when the event occurred. When I first heard the song, it was easy to identify with the event, I had just finished marching from jet over 4 aircraft school at Chanute field on a balmy fall afternoon (it must of been first week of November). Some friends of mine (other students in the school) were talking about the song/event, right after we finished hearing the song. They new of the songs meaning, even identified with the iron-ore industry. Still Wes, the song seemed, to me, to be about the sundown events of industry on the lakes. Seemed to fortell of the greater tragedy of time and change. Sad that 29 men perished at that advanced time frame in navigation history.
Seafarer, you really made me think back... back to my days at the Forks. Running to Winnipag to party on weekends when I didn't fly out of the area. I used to have a great need to get the H*** away from Grand Forks and everybody and my favorite get away was to run to Bemidgi go North up to Black Duck light a camp fire and sleep under the stars (generally wake up with a blanket of snow over my bag). Those, my friend, were the days. Makes me long for the isolation/insulation/preservation.
Wes, what a topic! You know how to pick 'em.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:46 PM   #11
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I'm going to stray a bit off topic here, but I have a story and this seems to fit.

I was vacationing in Door County, Wisconsin, with my husband and young sons, during the summer of 1989. We were at a bar/restaurant one evening and there was a musician singing and playing his guitar. He played The Wreck (no clue who he was), but when he did, it rekindled a spark that had been dwelling deep within me since I was a kid back in the mid-70's and I had first fallen in love with the song Sundown. The spark fully ignited my burning desire for all things Lightfoot, and I've been listening to Gord pretty much non-stop ever since... Funny how you remember things... If only that lonely musician knew how his playing that song has affected my life. Just goes to show you how a simple look, gesture or song can change the course of someone else's life.
"There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun. Long before the white man, and long before the wheel. When the green dark forest was too silent to be real."

Last edited by Gitchigumee; 11-26-2007 at 06:49 PM.
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