Building The New Fresno House

When I was 16 or 17 years old, my parents built a new house on the property in Fresno. I wanted to do the electricity myself, but they said “No – You’re too young”. So . . . I watch as the electrician worked. I asked questions and learned how to work with romex wire. He did the drilling and let me pull in some of the wire. When it was ready, the house was inspected by the County Inspector and found to be ok.  While the sheet rock was put up, and the painting was done the electrician took off for another job.

When it was time for the finish work, or the trim work as we call it, the general contractor called the electrical contractor to come out and finish the work. He was a no-show and after two or three days I asked could I could do the work but the General said wait for another day and one more phone call. This time the electrical contractors wife said the last time she saw him he went to the bar, so the general contractor gave me a chance. I wonder if he really was a drunk or a very nice person who let me have my first chance at real electrical work . . .

I went ahead and hung all fixtures and put in the devices and plates. Everything worked except for one three way switch in the hallway. I told the GC that I thought the electrical contractor have wired it incorrectly and he said “Well if you know what you’re  doing go ahead and fix it.” I had to crawl in the attic which is very hot, since Fresno can get up in the hundred degree weather sometimes, but I was able to fix it. I had to run in another cable. This convinced the general contractor that I knew what I was doing. When he built the next house he called me and asked if I could come and work for him. I was happy to earn some money for college.

I worked on two or three projects. I still remember the one that was in the winter when I got very cold including my hands. I would collect a few pieces of 2 x 4 wood scraps left over from the framing work.  I built a fire to warm my hands but that effect was not long-lasting. Working inside a building with walls up but NO WINDOWS can be pretty chilly in a Fresno winter.

NEXT – Moving the old house away

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