Sunday, February 19, 2006

Underwater fascination at arts center


The daily News Journal
By Cindy Watts
February 16, 2006

This time of year, Murfreesboro CPA Jon D. Jaques is usually up to his neck in W2s.

However, this tax season Jaques made time to dive into one of his favorite pastimes — submarines.

An avid collector of submarine memorabilia, Jaques loaned approximately 50 percent of his massive collection to the Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Center for the Arts in February for its "Dive!Dive!Dive!" exhibit.

"Including photographs, I probably have about 4,000 different things," says Jaques. "I've been collecting submarine memorabilia for 20 years."

Jaques' fascination with submarines started as a child on a trip to Chicago's Science and Industry Museum.

"They had a German U-boat U505 and I didn't even go into the rest of the museum," he recalls. "I just kept taking the same tour of the U-boat."

As an adult, he volunteered for submarine service with the U.S. Navy.

"I spent seven tours on submarine Ohio," he says. "Each tour would be 2 1/2 months, and you would go out and stay submerged until the end of patrol."

Jaques recalls his first deployment in the submarine as terrifying, but says his fear didn't quell his fascination.

"You get into deep water and you start hearing all the metal moan and groan," he recalls. "It's a scary thing. After 30 days you start getting stir crazy. I mean, imagine taking this room and painting all the walls black with no air conditioning. We just recirculated used air and there was all kinds of machinery running, so it created a lot of heat. There was a lot more mental preparation than I was expecting, and after the first month there's no fresh food."

Jaques started his collection while he was still in the Navy, but didn't really start accumulating material until he became a serious student of submarine history after his discharge.

Today, more than 20 years after Jaques was initially submerged, he still wants to share the enchantments of submarines with anyone who has the desire to learn.

"What I want to do eventually is have a small submarine museum," says Jaques. "I want to do that as a retirement project."
"Dive!Dive!Dive!" an exhibit featuring a collection of Jon Jaques submarine memorabilia, is at the Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Center for the Arts, 110 W. College St., through the end of February.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information, call 904-2787.



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