When Dorothy boarded the train for Kansas City the entire framework of the sisters’ alliance began to crumble. Louise abruptly announced that she, too, was jumping ship, striking out on her own. She was weary of big city life and was captivated by photos of the desert southwest. She was also silently weary of being under Lucille’s thumb.
By day she waded through stacks of legal briefs for her lawyer boss. In the evening, if her boss insisted on being with his family instead of escorting her to a fancy restaurant, she pored through travel magazines. She was especially intrigued with the black and white photography and color artists’ depictions in Arizona Highways. She inhaled descriptions of Arizona’s prized trifecta of national parks and monuments: Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, and Petrified Forest.
One afternoon her boss begged off dinner–again–noting lightly, “I think I ought to be home tonight. Mary Lou is expecting, you know. Have to be home…”
Louise watched him back out of the office door, hat in hand. “S.O.B!” she hollered at the closing door. She snatched up the telephone earpiece and fiercely clacked the yoke up and down to attract the operator’s attention.
“Do you know how I can reach the newspaper in Holbrook, Arizona?” she barked into the mouthpiece.
“One moment. I’ll contact the Arizona operator.”
Louise tapped impatiently on the desk.
“Is this a collect call?” the operator asked.
“Not on your life,” Louise replied. “Bill this number. Is there such a thing as a first-class call?”
About the Book
Author: Nila Aamoth
Genre: Biographical / Memoir / Historical
The Daughters of Lem witnessed and survived the tragic event that forever transformed them. Orphaned, frightened, fiercely independent, the four sisters fought defiantly to raise themselves. But Lucille, Louise, and Nell Rose could not defeat the notion of a Lem bad seed; they chose to remain childless. Only Dorothy sought to achieve what she perceived to be a “normal” life as a wife and mother. In the process, she discovered her power as an independent woman. Her own three offspring became a new generation of the Daughters of Lem, and fortunate participants in their mother’s improbably joyful journey.
Nila Knack Aamoth wrote her first story at age four, and never stopped plying the pencil, the typewriter, and finally the computer keyboard. She began her journalism career in Houston, Texas, and owned two community newspapers in Michigan. For 25 years, she was editor and publisher of The Penasee Globe. “I figured my thoughts were more valuable than the traditional penny, so I called my weekly column A Nickel’s Worth,” she likes to joke. Those mostly light-hearted musings won her numerous state and national writing awards. Her insightful editorials, both humorous and serious, won the Michigan Press Association award for “Best Editorial” two years running. “I believed I could write about anything,” she says. “But writing the incredible story of my own family was almost too heart-wrenching. I think I’ve finally grown up!”