Resistance Is Not Futile

Ewald and I kept working together for about a year.  Then North Dakota passed a law that all electricians had to be licensed.  Since neither of us were licensed that ended our endeavor.  While Ewald went to southern North Dakota and became manager of a local R.E.A. district, I drifted around the country for some time, mostly working as itinerant farm help.


In 1951 I got married and needed steady employment.  I went to work for an electrical contractor in Glasgow, Montana.  The criteria for employment was; “Have you done electrical work before?”  “Yes.”  “O.K.  You’re hired.”


The first thing the contractor told me was to “get 100 feet of ½ inch conduit (EMT) and 50 feet of ¾” conduit.”  I went across the street to the warehouse.  I had never seen conduit before.  I took out my ruler and measured across the diameter of the conduit.  The sticks in one stack measured slightly less than 1 inch across the opening.  The sticks in the other stack (there were only two sizes) measured slightly less than ¾”.  I confidently went back to the boss and told him; “I found 100 feet of ½ inch, but only 30 feet of ¾ inch.”


He said; “O.K., put them in the pickup and follow me.”


So I was introduced to commercial wiring.


I worked for four years in Glasgow, gaining experience in residential, commercial and industrial wiring methods.  One time I was sent to a small shack on the north side of town.  The power company had ordered the home owner to have his house rewired or they would shut off his power.


From the meter to the house there were two individual #12 wires poked though a knot hole to the first light.  There was no dis-connecting means.  I put on a new service and rewired the entire building.  All the while the home owner (a rather large, robust man – about two sheets to the wind) was loudly complaining it cost too much and he could do his own work just fine.  When I turned the power on he stopped in his tracks in the middle of the room and said: “Hey, the lights are brighter now.”


I learned a good lesson about resistance.


During this time an official from the State of Montana came around and wanted us to register as trainees.  After four years I received my license as a journeyman and master electrician.  I was now an official “Electrician.”