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Flashback Friday: Bedtime story, 1970 edition

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
For our Flashback Friday we offer you a little backstory on a whimsical stackstory that readers of the print edition of the Winter 2010 mag particularly enjoyed. Read on. And don't try this at home.
-- Steven Boyd Saum
* * *
Here is the story behind one of the epic bedframe stories of all time.
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 bunk bed in the Spring of 1970 (page 8, “Santa Clara Snapshot: 1970”). And I mean our bunkbed, as to get it up to height of the third floor took all our beds, and all our bodies!
Thanks to a higher resolution of the photo [courtesy 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 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.
-- Matt O’Brien ’73
Milpitas, Calif.
Nine beds high. Courtesy The Redwood.

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