Andrea goes ice skating:online short story
Winter in Duluth 1894
Andrea picked up her ice skates and glanced at her reflection in the mirror on her dresser. She had just splurged ten dollars on this winter coat and hat. That was over a fourth of her monthly wages. . The coat and hat were a bit expensive but she still allowed herself a bit of vanity in how well they looked on her. Just a slip of her golden blond hair showed below the hat on her forehead. She wore the fine boots that her brother, the shoemaker in Bock, Minnesota, made for her. The tan coat with brown trim went well with her light skin and blue eyes. She allowed her self just a bit of vanity for how a bit of understated style made her look. Besides she was sort of celebrating that her employer was pleased with her work as a housekeeper and giving her some time tending the reception desk It was pleasant meeting the new hotel guests checking in.
She would send another ten dollars to her mother back in Sweden. Her mother had more of a struggle than she would admit to get by on the little farm by herself. She did get some help from Andreas brother Alfred. He is such a fine young man, Andrea was thinking. He now owns a small store in the village She was proud of him
Sidewalks of New York
Her reflections were interrupted by a knock on the door. Karolina, her new friend was there to go skating as they both had the afternoon off. “What a nice hat,” Karolina exclaimed. “The boys will all have their eyes on you.”
“Don’t talk nonsense. They never look at me when you are there. They like that long black hair of yours. Especially when you flash those brown eyes of yours.
”Truthfully in a town filled with single young men both young women attracted attention..
“I heard about you facing down that mob awhile back,” Karolina said.
“It was not a big thing. Anyhow it was Roel’s fault using his pulpit for his own gain.”
“Was he a friend of yours?”
“Not exactly,” Andrea replied. She explained that he was the son of the minister in their village back in Sweden. The clergy are in a higher social class than we were.”
“Then it was brave of you to tell him off as well as the people who threatened him.”
“Oh, not so much.”
They got to the frozen pond which was crowded with skaters. The air was crisp with a bright sun shining off the blue ice. The girls got their skates on and slipped into the flow of skaters. Andrea was energized by warmth of the increased activity. She started singing the newly popular song “The Sidewalks of New York.”
“East side, west side,” she heard a clear male voice close to her. She looked in the direction of the voice and found a handsome young man skating next to her. My he has the nicest brown hair and brown eyes, she thought. She smiled shyly at him and continued skating.
“You skate well,” he said,” when they finished the song. Sing well too”
“Likewise, young sir.”
“Have you ever been to New York?” he asked.
“No, but it is a nice song and the rhythm is good for skating.”
“Shall we sing it again?”
They fell into the rhythm of the song and their skating became like a dance.. Somehow Andrea found herself holding his hand and became lost in the song and the rhythm of the movement across the ice. When they finished singing they slowed the pace of skating. “Have you been skating long?” he asked.
“In our village we learn young,” she replied.
“And where is that?”
“I came here from Sweden last year. Already, I feel more American, than Swedish.”
“You speak good English. Like you belong here.”
“And how about you?”
“I was born here, but my family came from Canada. We’re part French and not sure what other nationalities.. Say, aren’t you the girl that confronted that angry bunch of people the other day?”
“That was nothing. None of them really knew why they were there. They needed somebody to tell them what to do, or not to do. Cowards really.”
“Are you close to the young man they were after?”
“We come from the same village. In Sweden the church is important, like part of the government. The local pastor is like a government official. The get a salary from the government. Among other things they come to our houses and teach us to read, mostly the Bible. Sometimes we wonder weather they serve god of the government. Out Pastor was a good man and respected. He often brought his son with him. His son is Roald, the young man we are talking about. “
“I understand you had some sharp words for him too. Is he so very bad?”
“We grew up in the same village. I always thought him arrogant and pompous and I haven‘t changed my mind. He is smart but he has to always show off that he is.. He says he is starting a new ministry because he differs with Martin Luther’s theology. Frankly I think the seminary gave him the boot.
“Isn’t that him skating with your friend?”
Andrea looked to see Karolina hand in hand with Roald. “ Come, let’s go see Karolina.” She dashed off like her skates just slid over the surface and came to a stop by he friend. Roald looked a bit embarrassed and started scratching by his collar. “Karolina, I want you to meet my new friend…” she looked at the young man.
“Oh.” He said “Call me Jay.’
“I’m sorry ,Andrea said, “we were having so much fun we forgot about names. I am Andrea.” While Jay and Karolina talked she slid closer to Roald. And guiding him outside of hearing of the others. ‘Roald, if you hurt my friend Karolina word just might get back to our village about it.”
“Whatever do you mean, Andrea?” he was scratching at the spot on his collar.
“Well, the way you knew I was coming here was that you read my letters home that were posted on the square and published in our home paper, didn’t you?”
“Roald looked uncomfortable and tried to loosen his collar more.”
“I still write letters home every other day. Now if something popped up in those letters about you, I am sure your father would be delighted to hear about you.”
The look on Roald’s face resembled panic. “I have nothing but the most honorable intentions toward Karolina.” he said.
“I’m sure you do,” Andrea replied. She nodded to Roald and turned her skates to join with Jay. “Oh yes. We were talking about the church and government. In Sweden, you see, you are pretty much subject to the government with the church as allied with the government. It does some good, but they can both be corrupted. That is why many Swedes come here to be free to choose. Some are no longer Lutherans I think I like Lutheran separated from the government though.”
“Andrea, would you go with me to the dance Saturday night? I’d like to know you better.” Jay said.
“I’d like to know you better too.”
© 2012 Don A. Hoglund