By John Hubbard
It takes a librarian to save old paper newsletters.
It was November 2010 and I was out of the Peace Corps after 3 years in West Africa. No house, a car stored 3 years that maybe might run, and all my stuff, including river gear, stuffed into storage. Pat Carver offered to put me up at her house until I could get back on my feet and re-enter America. As it turns out, Pat’s house was a veritable boarding house now. Jamie Wendt was staying with Pat also. Accidentally, I was talking to him and learned he had a veritable treasure trove of old TVCC paper newsletters from 2005 backwards to a few in 1995, right there in Pat’s house. Wow.
Later, in 2011, after I had bought a house and now had a computer and scanner, I asked Jamie for all his newsletters so I could make copies. With scanning being a somewhat slow process, I looked at all the articles and made a table of contents of the best of the articles. The gem of them all is a series on the early years of TVCC written in 12 parts by club co-founder Jack Wright starting in March 2000. I remember when it first was published. It ends with a column by Bill Miller and one by John Pickett, the 15 part series ending in the June 2001 issue.
This series is being republished month by month starting next month. In it you will learn about some of the charter members who started the club one summer with a short ad in one of the Chattanooga newspapers seeking like minded paddlers.
Yes, the series does tell when TVCC started. We have a paddle school t-shirt that says ‘TVCC 30th Anniversary, 1967 to 1997.’
Is it 1967 as we are saying, or does Jack say differently? Who was the first President? What was it like running the ‘Mighty Hiwassee’, the ‘Nantahala River’, and the ‘Dreaded Chatooga’ by club members way back then? Those are Jack’s actually words to describe the Hiawassee and Chatooga of back then. What part did TVCC club President bill Miller play in saving the Ocoee and getting recreational releases wrested from TVA back when the flume was rebuilt in the late 1970s? Jack starts the series off by telling about a trip down the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers from Reliance to Chattanooga in the early 1930’s by his Uncle Bill. Epic it was.
I never knew Jack and don’t think I ever paddled with him, even though I started in the club in 1994. How about some of you near legacy members who are still in the club and reading this series for the second time around – do you have any memories of Jack? Send a reminisce or two to me or editor Dian for inclusion in one of the episodes to be published this coming 15 months.
Today we are enjoying the good new days of paddling in TVCC. Over the 2017, as we celebrate 50 years of the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club being one of the premiere paddling clubs of the Southeast, we will read about the good old days of TVCC also. And everyone give a big thanks to Jamie for saving a big chunk of TVCC’s history for us to enjoy again.
One more thing. Jamie did not have the June 2000 newsletter. We are missing this one of the 15 articles. The newsletters Jamie had only go from 2005 back to 1995. We are missing the earlier years from 1994 and earlier, plus all of 2006 and 2007 which are electronic. Any of you have a pile of old paper TVCC newsletters stashed in some musty corner? Let me know and I will turn them into electronic copies we can all access. Especially, look for the missing June 2000 issue. And who might have electronic copies of the 2006 and 2007 issues?
John Hubbard, not a legacy member, but a TVCC archivist