Monday, February 21, 2011

My Grandpa Harold went to work for Michigan Bell in the late 1920s. He was in his 20s, had not graduated from high school (he had to leave school to help run the family farm).

Northern Michigan lacked phone service except in the towns. So Grandpa went around in the 1920s and 1930s installing phone service to rural areas, connecting the existing systems. He spent a lot of time erecting poles and running lines.

Grandpa is the tall, skinny man on the right.

He moved from town to town, staying in boarding houses, working with a crew of men that included Bob, who introduced him to his sister Anna, who my grandfather married in 1931. My grandpa's nickname was "Slim" because he was so skinny.

At the top of a telephone pole.

I am certain the people of northern Michigan greatly appreciated having phone service.

At the top of another pole.

He worked for the phone company continuously except for a year or so during the Depression, when he was laid off and worked for a wooden dish factory.

Oval Dish Factory in Traverse City.

Working for the phone company allowed my grandfather to raise a family of four children, support his wife, purchase a cottage and part of a cabin, pay for a house, enjoy trips throughout the United States and Canada.

Harold in the 1950s.

My grandfather retired from Michigan Bell in 1964.

Posing with the cake.

He received free telephone service afterward.

Grandpa lived for another 7.5 years, dying of a heart attack in April 1972. He enjoyed his retirement- it allowed him to hunt, fish, draw, carve, make snowshoes and dog sleds. Some of my best memories from when I was a child were the times I spent with him.

Can you imagine how many people work for the same company for 35 years nowadays? I have worked for my company for 18.5 years- that is a crazy amount of time, but most of the people I started with are still here, mainly because we have an awesome boss.

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