So how do I, the retired historian from Carlsbad Caverns, define "current history at the caverns?" In this case, the pictures of these people were taken at the park's XMAS party about a month ago, on December 7, 2006. I consider contemporary caverns history as history very recent or now going on. If this sounds vague, that is how I mean it to sound. The most contemporary history is yesterday, today, and tomorrow
I was at this party, taking lots of the photographs, even though I wasn't the party photographer (look for a lady in a red dress). Some pictures are of new employees, some are of veteran employees, and some are of guests of the current employees.
Some people who had come to the party already had left. For whatever reason, some employees didn't come. I notice that many supervisors usually leave early for whatever reasons. I notice that it is the young employees who seem to have the most energy to dance, to, as we used to say in the old days,"rock and roll."
Some older employees also dance and have fun as well. For those as old as me, a city ambulance is only a phone call away. I always take a rest when my heart beats faster and louder than the drums in the song that my wife and I are dancing to.
Before the budgetary crunch which started the caverns had around 100 permanent employees and more seasonal employees to serve the visitors (helping them to understand, enjoy, and appreciate the park's stories), protect the natural and cultural resources, to provide for the physical/ maintenance upkeep of the facilities, and to carry out the administrative functions of the park.
Now the employee numbers are reduced. These are some of the ones currently carrying out the mission of the National Park Service at the Carlsbad Caverns.
Some new seasonal employees to the left and two ex-employees and a current employee below.
The DJ is a permanent employee who has served the park long and well.
The employees dancing to the right are new and veteran, different ages, different states, in one case a different country, yet all dancing in perfect synchronization as if a sychronized underwater swimming team The ladies to the right and below: one worked as a seasonal in the summer of 1969 and 1971, met her husband at the caverns in 1971, and just celebrated 35 years of training him (me). The other lady in the red dress has worked at the caverns for many years and is regarded by some of the other cavern employees as the cavern operations glue; the bearded man with the short hair is an assistant cave specialist and a devoted caver. In the center picture two new employees trip the light fantastic, while in the picture to the left of them a veteran and an ex-employee bewitch the crowd with their sleight of feet dance moves.
In the picture to the left, the man to left is in charge of protecting the caves in the park and he has been stationed at the caverns for over fifteen years, a dedicated employee and great person. The man to the right just retired as the park's carpenter, an excellent craftsman and human being. The two people to the right are both permanent employees, the woman an education specialist, the other a supervisor of park volunteers (like me). Married, they are expecting a secret to arrive in February, but I am not at liberty to disclose their secret.
The couple to the left and below are both ex-caverns employees; the wife just received a permanent appointment as a ticket seller. The man in the picture to the right and below is the park's civil engineer.
The party photographer taking pictures incognito in her red dress; the Andrade family to the right; my wife and I to the left.
Each of these people, with just a couple exceptions has taken care of the park or are taking care of the park. The people in these pictures are part of the caverns' eight-three year history. The ones doing it yesterday, today, and tomorrow are part of the caverns' contemporary history.
Now you have seen them at a holiday party; visit the caverns and see them at work.