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Johnson, Melvin J. / History and my memories of Wind Lake Telephone Company

Reflections of Melvin Johnson,   pp. 58-80 ff. PDF (11.0 MB)

Page 76

the rate would run similar to it or equal.
We reported this to the Public Service Commission and the immediate
result was no way.    No way will we subscribe at a rate that you
should pay that kind of money.     You cannot charge that to your
subscribers.    You have to go to REA Federal.       So we made an
application to the Federal for this kind of money, I believe it
was 5%, no limit. We got the deal with a man by the name of Ray
Dulbert.   He didn't look like that kind of a businessman but he
sure was. He was kind of a rugged guy, a good natured fellow. You
wouldn't think that he was in that kind of business but he knew
what he was doing. He got on the ball. We were getting busy here,
looking for dial and what type to get in there.
I remember one time we were down by The Abbey in Williams Bay, Lake
Geneva, at the telephone convention, it covered the whole state.
At that time there were 116 independent telephone companies that
covered the state. Hulbert and I were there along with a few other
We ran into Ray Jelbert down there. He said Mel how are you doing
on getting your money?    I said, we're not getting it.     He said
you're not getting it! I said it takes good tape to get it out of
Washington.   He said come on along with me.   He went and found a
telephone and you don't think that guy by looking at him that he
was that kind of businessman.    But I tell you when he got on the
telephone and started to talk to the bigshots in the head office
that he must of been a very popular, respected man because he got
results. You would never think he was a man of that caliber.
I was sorry to hear a short time ago that Ray Jelbert passed away.
He was a special man.
Here we went around and got our complete set up with REA. They set
it up in such a way over a 30-year period. We pay back each year,
so much on interest and so much on payment to liquidate that debt
eventually.   We have a ways to go on that one yet and we may have
to get some more money pretty soon, but that's the way business is.
I remember years ago driving through South Dakota seeing houses
miles and miles apart. No one could afford to put electricity in
there, but through the Federal Government, REA, I believe was
started up by Roosevelt.   They got grants up there which allowed
them to put in telephone wires that ran house to house, thus being
able to communicate with their neighbors and take care of their
needs of life.
So the REA has done miracles for us and we're still going to deal
with them for a long time I'm sure.    We're going to work another
deal with them the way things are going.
Hulbert, Willie, Roy, Kenny and Gorky were all getting busy to get

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