Published July 14, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Baltimore, Maryland. Feel free to visit the library at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University  Or cruise around Baltimore and find your own street view or photo sphere for inspiration.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by this week’s location. Once your piece is polished, share it with fellow contributors using the link up below.

After entertaining guests for a week and another week to recover from all the festivities, I’m ready to revisit Pegman.  Thanks so much to Karen and Josh for co-hosting this group of globetrotting writers.

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

I would call this an excerpt from my most recent novel AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN. However it’s actually a tweaked scene boiled down from over 600 words to a 150 word stand-alone. At any rate, a great challenge and a pleasant visit to two favorite characters. Not exactly about Maryland, but a tenuous connection. 😉 


The woman skimmed a gloved hand along the top of the medicine cabinet and peered at the rows of bottles. “I assume you sterilize. I insist everything should be as clean as humanly possible.” Straightening, she extended the same hand. “I’m here to answer your ad.”

Florin’s tongue stuck to his teeth. “So sorry, my dear, I’ve hired a nurse.”

She withdrew her hand. “I am Eleanor Whitaker Turnbull, MD. Have you already hired a physician as well?”

Florin mopped his perspiring brow. “No I haven’t. But such an attractive—I thought—”

Her sorrel gaze pierced him. “I know exactly what you thought, Doctor. You’re a man after all.” She took a framed diploma from her carpet bag. ”I graduated from the New York Medical College for Women, class of 1892. Suma Cum Laude. I served my internship at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?”







35 comments on “THE GENDER TRAP

  • Great story about the gender bias back then. Sure glad it doesn’t happen now…..oh wait. Never mind. Anyway, good job of editing this down. It tells a story of many potentials in so few words. However, I do love the complete story in the Novel.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Excellent story, Rochelle. I can hear her icy tone. I had a great aunt like this, Sarah Herring Sorin. She was one of the first women to try a case before the Supreme Court in 1906. The terrible thing is that after more than a century we are still in the same place, more or less. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

  • I looked up Eleanor Whitaker Turnbull but couldn’t find anything substantial. Given your talents for crafting historical fiction, I thought she would be a factual character.


    • Dear Karen,

      As soon as I saw John Hopkins in the prompt, I was all about editing this chapter. I enjoyed the challenge of making it fly solo. 😉 And I’m even happier to know that Eleanor rang true. Thank you.




  • having not read the 600 word version – my thoughts are on this tightly woven piece and the whole thing stirs up a lot about early med says (when sterilization was still not assumed) and then the inclusion of this as “humanly possible” really anchors the whole piece – such a humanity fiction because gender topics go deep

    Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Well, I DID read the 600-word story and am amazed that you managed to still make this come through in 150. No, what am I saying? Why am I amazed? Of course you did. You are a master of this genre. I loved her in the book, and I love her now… no messing with this woman!

    Lotsa love,



  • Dear Dale,

    Of course you know I’m a firm believer in the merits of flash fiction as an exercise in word conservation. It’s amazing how much you can say with less. Of course, this is still one of my favorite chapters in AOMOC. Although I wouldn’t change it, with all it’s little nuances, it was fun to see if I could distill it without losing the integrity of the story. There, my reply is nearly as long as my story. Good morning. More coffee, please.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you, Gila. So happy to see you here. Actually there will be another book in the Havah series. A Stone for the Journey. A book of short stories and illustrations by Yours Truly. 😉




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