Santa Clara Snapshot: 1970

by Justine Macauley ’10 and Kellie Quist ’10 |
The 1970 challenge: How many bedframes can SCU undergrads stack on top of one another? Photo from SCU Archives
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Matt O'Brien BSEE '73 said on Mar 1, 2012

Reading the winter print copy of the Santa Clara Magazine, I was pretty amazed to find myself and other members of the second-floor McLaughlin back on our bunkbed in the spring of 1970 [page 8, "Santa Clara Snapshot: 1970"]. And I mean our bunkbed, as to get it up to the height of the third floor took all our beds, and all our bodies!

Thanks to a higher resolution of the photo [courtesy of the SCU Archives], I and friends who were in the photo were able to discern seven of us on the bed: Jeff Miller, Jack Folchi, Tom Battle, Bob Wilson, Dan Rice, Matt O'Brien, and Dave Adler. All of us were in the class of '73. Five of us were electrical engineers, Dan and Dave business majors. All of us lived on the second floor of McLaughlin. My roommate, Jack Folchi, and I had been hosting some amount of parties and a resting place for "day students" in our room-210 McLaughlin. That had prompted us to procure a third level for our room's bunk bed from a bed that had been abandoned in the hallway. This third bed was almost at the ceiling, allowing a person to slide in.

Those McLaughlin bunk beds were of the industrial sort-heavy-duty steel. Looking at our triple one day, we got to speculating how many beds one might stack. As this would take open space, we decided to build as tall as we might-outside. We waited for a quiet weekend day with no resident assistants or Jesuits in sight, and built on the concrete walkway between McLaughlin and Walsh dorms.

As we went upward with the beds from our rooms, the bed developed a side-to-side sway. If you look at the picture, you can see two guy wires that we attached to the third story McLaughlin fire escape. There were two others attached to the Walsh fire escape, obscured in the photo by the sky. At that ninth level of bed, we decided we'd reached the limit of lateral stability, although the beds clearly could have supported more above!

Most important of all, we were not caught in the act. No authority figure ever arrived, and we disassembled and replaced the beds in our rooms without detection.

Summer 2014

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