Through Any Given Door

1.77 Larry’s Diary, Jun 1951

1951 • Larry’s diary (age 17)
Jun 1  Chased buses from Merced Lake to Henderson Park for Senior Ditch Day. Went to Turlock for Jr-Sr Prom with Norma Hunts. Called Bob Jones. Home and in bed at 4 A.M.
Jun 2  Bought tie for Mr. Hagemeyer from Brass Choir. Now have 79 silver dollars. Drove car out to school and got key from Hag. 
Jun 3  Had Baccalaureate, lasted 1 hour. Sang in chorus 2 numbers. Went to Sutter Creek with Jake. Car only made it to Jackson. Had to leave it on highway
Jun 4  Got Green & Gold. I have 20 some pictures in it. Got bill for Wildcat from Johnson. Saw Parlie and Balcom. Signed books all day. Mom went to San Francisco

Larry and Claudia

Jun 5  Claudia got award as most beginning progressive student in Grammar school. Ate at Sugar Bowl 1st time since last year. Up till 1 putting up books. Merle called store about job. Made final speech in commish assembly
Jun 6  Saw Grammar school graduation. Went to Moccasin with Dwain Mc Donald and got room. Gave Hagemeyer tie and pool. Had Senior breakfast at Inn. Horn acted well. Rode around with Hag. and boys.

Larry, Senior Graduation

Jun 7  Graduation!!!! Played in band and sang in chorus. Mom and dad there. Sat in first row.  Got driver’s license, passed all the tests, missed only one question. Went to Sullivans after, ate and danced.
Jun 8  First day on job at Moccasin powerhouse. Guy showed me a lot of things and how to take readings.
Jun 9  Bunch of big city officials came through powerhouse. Ed Glassock showed me how to work machines.
Jun 10  Mom, Dad, Betty and Cathy came and brought mail, horn and cherries. Drove car down to Jackson looking for bathing suits with Bob Durham
Jun 11  Hitchhiked to Sonora with Scofield. Took dirty clothes back. Got Sax from Hagemeyer, he is now working for Pickering. Drove car back to Moccasin.
Jun 12  Practiced horn a little. Met Ken Porter, Soph at Cal. Bought fan, got music stand in Sonora yesterday. Took car back and hitchhiked back with Scofield
Jun 13  Hitchhiked to Sonora and from there Jake took me to the Angels Camp band rehearsal. Home by midnight. Asked Mom and Dad about car.
Jun 14  Played tennis with Ken and Bob, had steak for dinner. Went swimming with Ken 1st time. Worked 1 week now
Jun 15  Stopped getting bagged breakfasts, saving 50 cents by buying slab of bacon and dozen eggs. Slept this afternoon and listened to radio this evening
Jun 16  Bob Durham started work in Power House today on day shift. Bought bacon and eggs at store. Had berries for supper.
Jun 17  Went swimming all afternoon. Saw Ken’s girl first time. Played horn for some men in my room. Listened to “Our Miss Brooks” and other radio programs
Jun 18  Slept late and Porter woke me up at four. Was at work by 4:05. Bought fresh loaf of bread at store. Got slight sunburn
Jun 19  Went to Sonora and got letters and some other things. Yearbooks, clothes, papers. Drove car back. Got Grad. picture at Pitts. $1.04
Jun 20  Took car back to Sonora. Instead of going to Miners band practice had a Brass Choir rehearsal with Don Grant, Dick Miller, George Hess, Chuck Carpenter, Duane Jacobsen and me.
Jun 21  Got at 8 P.M. for work instead of 3:00 A.M. Went swimming in afternoon and practiced horn. Walked out on liver and onions.
Jun 22  Ken has sore back and saw doctor who said he had Lumbago and taped him up. Some Cherry Valley boys doubled up in the other rooms
Jun 23  Went to Sonora with Ken and saw Lady and the Bullfighter. Took Pat Kristenson to show at night and then went to Phoenix Lake.
Jun 24  Went to Tuolumne City Jubilee. Took horn but didn’t play. Ceres band marched and played a concert. Small parade and carnival. Hitchhiked on motorcycle and jeep
Jun 25  Am now on night shift. Took Wards Ferry and Priests grade roads yesterday in getting to Moccasin thru Sonora
Jun 26  Saw item in Stockton Record about “Brandis” being for sale. Elaine Antrim got back after attending National FHA convention
Jun 27  Had pork chops for dinner. Three guys late. Took Good Housekeeping and music theory notebooks over to Power House to study
Jun 28  Burning inside of camp almost. All done now, kind of smokey and black all over
Jun 29  Got 1st check. Paid $92.77 for 8 days, took $11.66 tax and $2.00 room, so have $79.11 clear. Bunch of students from Cal Berkeley up and went through the power house.
Jun 30  Went swimming in lake and then found out that it is forbidden as the water is San Francisco drinking water


Moccasin Powerhouse (photo property of Barbara Davis Trost)

Note from Larry: Moving out of the house the day I graduated, I got my first big job as an electrician at the Hetch Hetchy Powerhouse in Moccasin outside of Yosemite National Park. A company town, Moccasin was owned by the City and County of San Francisco. The powerhouse was built as part of the Hetch Hetchy Project system to generate electricity for San Francisco, 134 miles away. It was a great job in 1951 and I made $1,000 that summer, enough money to cover most of my college expenses my first year. I got the job because the wife of one of the electricians worked in Dad’s store told me about it.

I worked for the power house from June through August for two summers in 1951 and ‘52. I had to join the IBEW, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We cared for four large turbines, making hourly checks 24 hours a day on all the equipment. My job was to read the meters and clean the oil off the turbines. The workers’ housing, where we all had private rooms, was about a quarter-mile away, and I’d walk to work and back for my shift.

There were four men per 8 hour shift, three fulltime powerhouse electricians and the fourth a college student such as myself, so there were a total of three college students but only one working each shift. The work shifts were noon to 8 pm, 8 pm to 4 am, and 4 am to noon. Every two weeks all the workers changed shifts. For a small fee, meals were provided from the kitchen in the administration building outside the powerhouse. I often ate a meal in the company dinning room.  Breakfast was available for all shifts and bag lunches were available, but I found it cheaper to buy eggs and cook my own breakfast and fix my lunch. It was a great job for a college student. I earned about $12 per day which ended up to be closer to $10 after taxes, meals and rent were taken out of my check. At that time, it was GREAT money.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
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