Recently, my friend Terry Greene posted this evocative photo work on Facebook. This piece grabbed hold of my very core, and brought memories flooding forth. For me, this is a completely natural response. The raw power of electricity is as much a part of my upbringing as huckleberry pancakes and bread rising in a sunny window.
My dad, Harvey McGuire, began his work at Pacific County Public Utility District in 1938, and retired from his work there in 1978. For the most of those 40 years he was the “meterman”, responsible for testing, repair, and calibration of the thousands of meters of the PUD. But Pacific County PUD was a small operation, and Dad was also a radio technician and a transformer rebuilder. During storm emergencies, he worked along side the line crew for whom he had the deepest respect. I came to know at an early age that linemen were brave, robust, and knowledgeable workers. I also knew that they were among the friendliest people on earth, because any day could be “bring your kid to work day” at the PUD of that era. The photo below is from Pacific County PUD of the 1960s. I believe that pictured here among the 13 kilo-volt lines are Wayne Patrick and Shorty Remington. There were no overweight linemen!
The meter room of the PUD, was a natural gathering place for the friendly folks who worked there, and I enjoyed being a part of the place. Arriving there at 4:15 was a good thing, and I could score a ride home with Dad at the 4:30 quitting time. At that time of day the line crew was coming in, and I could listen in to the events of their day, and enjoy the status of visiting kid.
This photo may not evoke a smell memory for you, so use your imagination. It is a rich mixture of tobacco, solder rosin, transformer oil, and ozone. Enjoy it.
Given all this exposure to electro-magnetic radiation I was drawn to it like an iron spike is drawn to a magnet. It’s little wonder that I’d become a ham radio operator in my late high school years. This photo of 1971 shows Dad and me in the bucket truck of the PUD. As the photo was snapped, we had just completed installing a cubical quad antenna for the 20 meter ham band on a small tower atop the garage at home. It was another electrifying experience. Obviously, at the time, Pacific County PUD wasn’t just a “bring your kid to work” company. Sometimes it was a “bring a truck home to install an antenna” kind of company.
Nine years later would find me employed as an “energy conservation specialist” at Grant County PUD, as I began a 10 year career there. As it worked out, Harvey Guy McGuire and Duane Harvey McGuire spent 50 years fully charged in the electric utility industry.
I left Grant County PUD in 1990, but when electricity flows in your veins, it doesn’t seem to leave. It’s only natural that when photo-electric generation became cost effective, I’d have my own generating station. This is the 8.3 kilo-watt installation on my shop building at home in Clinton, Utah.