The Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt – Stop #18
Welcome to the 2013 Summer Scavenger Hunt! This hunt (which begins at noon Mountain Daylight Time) has 32 stops and runs 5/17 – 5/19/13. You can make the loop, reading unique content from 31 different authors, and if you complete the loop, and fill out the Rafflecopter form at Stop #32, you’ll be in the running for an iPad Mini (loaded with all our books), or one of two runner-up prizes—all 31 of our new releases in paperback. In addition, some authors are offering additional prizes, so be sure to read each post thoroughly to be in the running for all that are available. The contest is open internationally.
If you’ve JUST discovered the hunt, I recommend you begin at the beginning, Stop #1, found at LisaBergren.com. But you can also begin here, and keep on rolling. Just be aware that you have to have the COMPLETED phrase in order, which you construct by gathering the clue at each stop, within 24 hours of email notification from Lisa Bergren that you won. If Lisa doesn’t hear back from you with the correct phrase within the time limit, she will move on to the next winner Rafflecopter draws. Ready? Here we go…
INTRODUCING LORNA SEILSTAD
I’m delighted to be hosting Lorna Seilstad! I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with this talented author, and she’s every bit as delightful in person as her characters are on the printed page. Her ability to create stories that combine endearing characters with rich historical detail have put her books on my must-read list.
If you haven’t gotten acquainted with Lorna and her books yet, here’s an official bio:
A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of the acclaimed Lake Manawa Summers series, as well as her latest release, When Love Calls. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with her husband. Find out more about Lorna at www.lornaseilstad.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Today, Lorna shares some fun facts about “hello girls”–the switchboard operators of the early 1900s.
HOW TO BECOME A HELLO GIRL by Lorna Seilstad
Do you remember Lilly Tomlin’s nasally portrayal of a switchboard operator? Hannah, the heroine in When Love Calls, doesn’t quite fit Ms. Tomlin’s portrayal.
By 1906, there were 45,000 switchboard operators in the U.S. giving 25 million “hellos” every day. After I began researching the “hello girl,” I knew I had to have heroine go through the rigors of obtaining this position with a telephone company in a city. Rural areas were sometimes more lax with their rules, but the city exchanges, which 30 or 40 operators all working at the same time, maintained strict rules.
When Hannah, the main character in When Love Calls, is left with the responsibility of caring for her two younger sisters following the death of their parents, she needs a job that will pay right away. Since switchboard operators were paid during their schooling, she decides she can do this job even if she doesn’t meet all of the requirements. Surely, she can follow all of the rules if she has to. Right?
Here are some “hello girl” facts:
- The first switchboard operators were boys, but their rude behavior—running, yelling, and swearing—did not work well. They were replaced by young women who were much more docile and amenable to the rules.
- The qualifications for switchboard operators were precise. Only 1 girl in 8 measured up to the standards. The young woman had to possess good eyesight, good hearing, good moral character, a good memory, a good disposition, a good education, and have a pleasant voice. They also had to enunciate well, be intelligent, and be between ages 16 and 25. They also had to be pretty. This was because they were a reflection on the telephone company.
- When a “hello girl” was interviewed, she was weighed and measured. She had to be tall enough to reach the top of the board. She also had to give the name of her physician, druggist, and minister as references. Preference was given to girls with financial need as the telephone thought if they needed the job, they’d be more apt to not miss work.
- Switchboard operators were trained with lectures, charts, and practice. They learned the mechanics of telephony and had special voice classes where they learned how to speak in “low, melodious voices.” They were trained for about four weeks until they could work “the boards” fast enough to work in an actual exchange.
- There were over 200 rules for a “hello girl” at the exchange. There was no crossing of the legs, no turning your head toward or speaking to your neighbor, and you had to raise your hand to blow your nose.
- Calls were to be completed in less than six seconds. Someone with a deportment card for each operator sat a desk behind the operators and kept track on any infractions.
Could you follow all the rules, day after day? Join Hannah on her new adventure as a “hello girl” in When Love Calls and discover how she handles this demanding situation.
Lorna Seilstad’s new release, WHEN LOVE CALLS, is a delightful story that carries the reader to the exciting first decade of the 20th century, where Hannah Gregory finds herself the sole support of her two sisters in Book 1 of The Gregory Sisters series.
AND NOW, YOUR NEXT STEPS:
Write down this clue: encourage,
Have it written down? Great! Now head on over to Lorna Seilstad’s Stop #19 for the next clue! Thanks for stopping by–and don’t forget to read about the exciting bonus giveaway below!
To celebrate the release of my newest book, TROUBLE IN STORE, my wonderful publisher Bethany House is holding a giveaway, featuring hundreds of dollars worth of absolutely amazing prizes!
Win a glorious, four-place tea set of fine china, an artisan rosewood music box exactly like the one featured in the story, real 1800s coffee and an antique coffee grinder, and more.
The giveaway will launch June 3.
If you’d like to receive notice when it’s open for entries, “Like” my Facebook page (if you haven’t already), or sign up for my newsletter using the form below.
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