Anaconda Copper

As children the last thing my father said before turning in at night was “Tap ‘er light.” His father was a Harvard-educated mining engineer and foreman of one of Anaconda Copper’s mines (not a strip mine). A PBS documentary cleared up a mystery for me. After Grampee died he was never really spoken of in the family. I knew he had been an alcoholic and had spent a lot of time with his “men.” I think now that he chose to spend time with the brave men who endured hardship and lack of safety over his family, knowing my grandmother, homeschooled and musically trained on a sheep ranch, would be able to handle three children.

She managed to save enough money to send two sons to Harvard and a daughter to Wellesley in the middle of the Depression. One of those sons, my uncle Oliver Rodgers, headed the engineering of the development of a jet engine for GE in WWII, became a Quaker, and used his vibration theory education to record and analyze violins for the University of Delaware in retirement. The other, my father, made a lot of money for a lot of people in Southern California, played ‘cello in the UC San Diego orchestra, and my aunt Eleanor married her brothers’ high school friend who became the Dean of the Colorado School of Mines.

My life in music started at 3 hearing my grandmother play the piano in Anaconda, Montana, where we were for one year near the end of the war. Our family owes a lot to Senator Clark.

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