Power & Light
She had thirty-two dollars held back, hidden from her brother, Emil, enough to pay for the training. She was going to be a telegraph operator. They offered classes down in Grand Forks at the business school, and next year she was going there to learn Morse code. After she passed the course, she would get a job as a telegrapher. Maybe in Skye, in the telegraph office at the train depot. Maybe in another town across the Red River and into Minnesota. Maybe across the border–Canadians were nice–and Winnipeg not far. Either way she would have her own chair to sit in, her own headset to wear. She would listen to the incoming clicks–the dits and dahs–of strangers far away, and she would type out their messages and click messages in return. Click like a cricket, the chirps racing down the wires that ran along railroad tracks from Skye to Fargo to Minneapolis, to Chicago and New York City and beyond. Under the sea, even, through a cable that ran on the cold, dark ocean floor where odd fish swam above the iron cord crusty and cold on the outside and warm bright copper on the inside that carried her beeps all the way to England. France. Beyond. Already she had the basics of Morse code down–the stops and starts–it was a kind of arithmetic–and arithmetic was never hard for her. Her job would help her “move up in the world.” It was the phrase her father always used to explain why they had left Norway for America.
So happy to see this one finally in print. Order it at your local bookstore, or at Amazon.com