It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted the job that was being offered to me. I didn’t know much about it. Construction was something I had seen, but certainly never participated in. In fact, my father had told me that construction was not a very wise choice for a career and that I should be looking for a job with a public utility, like the Department of Water and Power. Those words of wisdom went right by me…I liked the money!
The next day, I went down the street and knocked on the door of the man who had offered me this job; Marshall Hagerman. We talked some more and I learned some details of the job. First, I was going to have to pass a State Department of Apprenticeship Standards Aptitude test. After passing the test I would be given the tools needed and the cost of those tools would be taken out of my first check, about $35. I would also have to join the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners; a hit of $100. Although I saw a lot of money going out of my wallet, I decided it still might be worth the investment.
Marshall also told me that he wanted to train me as an estimator. Now that was something I knew more about. My father was an estimator. Marshall’s plan, as he outlined it to me, was that I would learn the drywall trade first and after becoming a Journeyman, I would then become a full time estimator for him. At the time, it took 2 years to become a Journeyman and it was all on the job training and no classroom instruction. I would get a raise every 3 months until I reached full pay.
I made an appointment and went downtown to some State office building to take the aptitude test, which consisted of placing square blocks in square holes and round blocks in the round holes…Whoopee! I passed. And then I went to the office of Local Union 1506 and gave them my $100. In return I was given a nifty little book to record my dues payments and was welcomed into the Brotherhood. Dues? Marshall hadn’t told me about that.
The next day, Marshal called me and told me to come over and pick up my tools. I would be going to work the next day…in Hollywood, at a project called the Leon Apartments.