Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sophie's Dilemma by Lauraine Snelling
Sophie and Grace grew up as twins-together at all times in sleeping and waking hours. Everyone in the family and school learned to sign so they could communicate with Grace and she learned to lip read. Growing up in North Dakota in the 1800s was quite different from today. When Sophie and Grace were small their aunt and mother bought the first sewing machines in the farming community of Blessing. The cooperative bought a threshing machine and they would travel farm to farm for several months one year and later for six weeks helping each other to bring in crops. Hamre was one of the Bjorklund boys-big, strong and blond with blue eyes that attracted all the girls. He worked hard on the farm but his dream was to own his own fishing boat and spend his days on the sea. Since he was older than Sophie he waited for her to grow up and then asked Lars for his blessing to court her. Lars felt that she still had some growing to do and asked Hamre to wait a year. But Sophie could not stand the thought of being apart from Hamre for a year and persuaded him to take her with him when he returned to Ballard, Washington and the sea. Sophie wanted adventure more than she wanted to knit and sew like other girls of her day. The decisions and actions of these two young people in love changed their lives and caused hurt for them and those who loved them. Sophie learned about waiting for her man when he went to sea for months. She stood in cold, smelly conditions in a cannery for weeks until she was fired. And when tragedy struck and the Ballard community was shaken, she finally returned to Blessing and the people who encouraged her in her daily life. When Sophie asked her aunt what to do she said "Pray first". Faith and prayer were all important to many in Blessing and Sophie was reminded of this many times in Ballard and when she went home again. How would people receive her after she hurt them so badly? She was not able to sit and feel sorry for past mistakes. The future and more growth awaited her. More innovations came to them all as with the sewing machine and thresher, later the washing machine helped in their lives. Even medical innovations and treatments for women impacted Sophie and her family. She was home with people who loved her. Now what will she do?