In a reminder of the Sunshine Mine Disaster that killed 91 miners 35 years ago (May 2, 1972), David Bond wrote: "Some 88 more guys got out and lived to tell about the disaster, although not all of them regained their health. Not a small handful of the victims were fellows who, having escaped the early-morning horror, went back into the mine to grab their partners and then themselves perished as the flames and the fumes intensified. But as an old friend of ours, long-deceased himself said, "What else are you gonna do?" Bond's Wallace Street News online column triggered memories at Huckleberries Online Wednesday. Silver Valley Girl: "I was a junior in high school in Kellogg and many classmates lost fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. Every time a name was called over the loudspeaker during class to come to the office, we knew they had found another miner." ... Bayview Herb: "I was the finance manager for Knudson Chevrolet then. One couple came in, bought a car, insured it for death. He went into the mine the next shift and was gone." ... John Austin: "I was friends with many of those whose fathers, uncles or brothers perished in the fire. … Gene Johnson (a friend's father) died when he went back in, after initially escaping. As a shifter, he felt it was his duty to rescue his crew." … Raymond Pert: "This day in the history of the Silver Valley has lived in me as darkness and has shaped how I see my hometown, my friends in the Valley, and labor. I keep trying to articulate it, but fall short again and again. May 2, 1972, haunts me." (You can read Bond's column and the rest of the comments at Huckleberries Online.)
D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.