So how did we get from LA to here?
Jules received his degree in nuclear engineering and came to California to work for a company that hoped to compete with GE and Westinghouse in designing and building of nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, the nation was losing interest in nuclear energy and the company’s design was not very good. Along with many others, he lost his job.
He sent out resumes, took courses in accounting thinking a change in careers might be in order and he went to City Hall. Not to complain but to look for any civil service job for which he might be qualified. For thirteen years he had lived with the constant threat of layoff and he was tired of it. He had a wife, two children and a house and he wanted security.
One of the jobs he applied for was listed as “switchboard operator trainee” with the Department of Water and Power. What was this? He didn’t know but the only requirement was a high school science course. He certainly had that.
He was called to take the test and passed with flying colors. Then he entered into training and found out what he would be doing. He would be telling electrons where to go. The job entailed monitoring a part of the electrical grid and opening and closing switches. It sounds easy until you realize that if you make a mistake someone could die. If the power goes out the operator is part of a team that must figure out why and how to fix it.
During his training he toured one of the small hydro electric plants that LA had in the LA area. It was then that he was told that there were also plants in the Owens Valley, just a few miles from the mountains we both loved, and switchboard operators could bid on hydro-operator jobs. From that time on he bid on every Owens Valley hydro job that came up. Eventually he got one. In 1977 we moved to the Owens Gorge and stayed there until he retired in 1992.
To some it may have seemed like a disaster, to go from a professional to a blue collar job that paid half as much. For us it was a dream come true.