May 14th, 1937
I’m sitting here at my new desk (which seems so novel! so scrubbed, so clean!) and writing a few words before the children come in for school. They’re not so much younger than I am. I wonder if they’ll notice that I’m so very green myself? That I just got here, too? I hope they like me. I hope they listen to me. I’m going to teach them about Anansi the Spider Man, and show them Africa on the map, and point to Kenya, where the stories come from. Africa would be nice today, as it’s only 40 degrees (and it’s May!).
One thing I’ve noticed about being here in Alaska is that there are no ghosts. None that I can hear, anyway. No one is whispering, no one is looking over my shoulder, no one is sighing a few rooms away. Justine, the foreman’s wife, asked if I was frightened to sleep here all alone at night. I told her no, that the building was big but that it was cheerful and warm at night. I didn’t tell her that it was too quiet, that there were no other souls padding around the floorboards at night. Just me.
If there ever were ghosts, maybe they’ve scattered away from this place. I don’t feel them at all. Maybe they’re at home, with their own people. Maybe they don’t want the men to dig up the mountains. Maybe they don’t want to talk to us because we don’t speak their language. I miss the rest of it. I miss the ones I knew.
Must close this now, though. I hear the children coming up the steps (how many steps they have to climb to get to school! a classroom in the clouds!) and I want to be smiling and standing and ready for them.