The Legend of Harry Studebaker
Transmitter technicians didn't have a lot to do most of the time. It's one of those jobs that's 98% boredom and 2 % pure panic. Unless we had a Periodic Maintenance (PM) to do, we spent a lot of time watching the walls, waiting for the alarms bells to ring. Some people have difficulty handling this. One of the guys in our class, Clem, was a quiet type that never joined the BS sessions, never read a book, didn't spend hours doing calesthenics on the support frames, or anything else. He just watched the walls. Sometime during the winter of '62-'63 we started noticing the initials H. S. in the log books. As there was no one on any shift in our building with those initials, we wondered who it was. A few weeks later someone noticed those initials, then the name Harry Studebaker, pencil-engraved in one of the transmitter desks. The mystery deepened. Then one shift change, as our team leader, Abe, came into the area, he greeted Clem as he passed the desk where Clem was sitting. "Good Morning, Clem. How're you doing?" Clem says, "I'm not Clem, I'm Harry." Mystery solved.
But not the end of the story. Abe, of course, reported this to the Shift Manager. The Shift Manager reported to the Site Manager. Who asked to talk to Clem/Harry. After the interview, the Site Manager says, "Well, he's still technically competent, what's the problem?" Abe called the Site Doctor. The Doc talked to Clem for about five minutes. Clem was on the next plane south. As I understand, he spent the next six months in a mental institution getting his mind unwarped.
Over the next few months there arose the Legend of Harry Studebaker, complete with cape, his faithful Arctic Fox, etc. Like a warped Zorro. I wish I could remember all the fantasy details.
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© Copyright 1997, Gene P. McManus, Baltimore, OH