Oak Ridge Girls: A 99-word Story

Oak Ridge Girls

Newspaper advertisements across the country said that a new firm was looking for young women to work in a factory in Tennessee. The job description was vague, but housing was supplied.

Girls from the Midwest flocked to apply. Many high school graduates were hired for this job. It was good money for the times.

These women went into the job blind, not knowing what to expect. They were trained to keep the dial steady between two points, and they did. Only later did they find out their contribution to the war effort: enriching uranium for the first atomic bomb.

Nancy Brady, 2019

From Carrot Ranch:  In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the idea of enrichment. Use many of its different manifestations or explore reasons why it matters to the character. Go where the prompt leads. http://www.carrotranch.com

Above is my own take on enrichment, but to read more about these young women, check out Denise Kiernan’s The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. It is a fascinating read.



About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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5 Responses to Oak Ridge Girls: A 99-word Story

  1. Jules says:

    Oh, this reminds me of that wonderful move about ‘Math’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Figures
    But then those women mostly did know what they were doing, though it took years to get credited.

    A wonderful snippet of history that makes me want to investigate… ooh… thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right, but it was all done very secretively. The scientists who were doing the same thing of enriching uranium did not have as high of yield as the high school graduates. Another interesting book, The Radium Girls, about the women who painted the numbers of dials and clocks. They didn’t know what was happening to them until it was too late.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jules says:

        I actually remember having a Timex with glow in the dark numerals… And then that stopping. The people (maybe some men too?) would lick the paint brushes to get them pointy… with the radium on it!

        A bit like asbestos for isolation. I remember my Jr. High getting rid of asbestos in the late 1960’s.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think my dad had one with glow-in-the-dark numbers. I kinda wanted one, but after reading about what these women (and a few men) went through, I am glad I never did.


  3. This gave me chills, Nancy. There was so much kept secret. Now I want to know more. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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