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ficlet: toward the sky

Posted on 2013.02.17 at 18:52
Title: Toward the sky
Characters: Jeannie, Madison
Genre: gen
Rating: PG
Word Count: 6 x 100
Summary: Five women in Jeannie's family who had to fight for their education and one who got it all.
Warning: Impending death of a child in one sequence.
Notes: Written for the topic "women and education" at 14valentines. Inspired by and counting stars.


No head for numbers. No signs of improvement. And if after ten years of schooling she still cannot tell the difference between ‘d’ and ‘g’ – quite frankly, what is the point?

Papa argues that if Rosalin is truly as blind to numbers as the teachers say, how do they explain the accurate drawings from her hand?

It is of no use. A year later Rosalin’s brother passes the class, no matter that he is prone to the same writing mishaps.

Theodore McKay buys her a ring. When he hires crew to build their house, it is her design they are building from.


Their prodigy son and daughter requiring the best education available is the only topic Jeannie can later remember her parents ever agreeing on. Yet when she starts, her teachers already bear scars from one McKay.

Jeannie learns to make fewer thought-leaps, to ask less questions than her brother. She takes two years longer to graduate. Since she can – barely – pass as an adult at college it’s not all bad.

She dreams of doing math outside her brother’s shadow but knows that they’ll be better, go farther as a team.

If only he would still tell her stories like he used to.


There is no use in teaching her, her father says. Despite his words, he sits with her and lets her show him her letters each evening.

Rosalin is no longer allowed to see her. Mari counts the coughs and wonders if she might draw a picture from the amount that would predict when she will die. Maybe Mama knows and could show her, but Mari cannot stop coughing long enough to explain.

There is little use in teaching Mari anything. In between fever dreams and making up stories, learning is yet the nicest way she knows to pass the time.


She is the first girl in her family to finish school. The first woman with no fiancé upon reaching majority.

Angus marries Ceridwen. Lyssa applies to college. Dares to, some say, but Papa laughs, proud.

The Institute of applied chemistry welcomes her – mostly – with open arms. By the time Lyssa graduates summa cum laude Ceridwen is pregnant for the second time.

Lyssa never sleeps with a professor. It’s a policy that rarely affects her grades but later gets her passed over for promotion twice – though not a third time.

Ceridwen is still at home. Lyssa is never having children.


She is the first child born to her parents in the new land. Her brother claims to remember the Sea Voyage but Meredith does not believe him.

Her parents haven’t the money for schooling both her and her brothers. Meredith follows along with the boys’ books and puzzles out their homework every night. She solely does not absorb more knowledge than Cal and Gil because her brothers, too, are very bright.

Everything she needs to know and more she teaches herself, though her family approves. When she marries Simen, it is understood that it gains her access to and time for his wealth of books.


She graduates from high school at the age of 17, a compromise the adults settled on by comparing Uncle Mer’s experience, her Mom’s, and Dad’s. In the fall she enrolls at the University of Phoenix because S.I. funds really good programs and because she wants to.

She’s got her eye on cybernetics because application is something she still struggles with. A challenge.

Her mother could pay. Her uncle could pay. Madison Miller pays her tuition by proofreading the math that lies behind Sheppard Industries’ newest creations. Whiteboards and tablets are her element. She is ready to reach for the stars.


kitchyy at 2013-02-18 03:39 (UTC) (Link)
This is beautiful. I love how you have a realistic view of the times for each generation, and the slow change from how it was to how it will be is very well done.

Also, many hearts for including a McKay family tree!
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