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Thunder and Lightning

(by Bella Duve)

For a period of time, my family and I left our house in Denmark to live in an old mobile home, travelling the roads of Europe. The year was 1989. I was five; my sister was two.

The reason we lived this way was that my father was a journalist and had the possibility of working “from home.” He eventually wrote articles from the different places we visited and made a photo archive—this was before the Internet made it easy to get photographs from many different sources. My mother usually worked during the summer season “turning herrings” at a factory in Hirtshals, a town in Northern Denmark where most of the income is from exporting fish. Her job consisted of placing the herrings correctly so that they could be wrapped using a machine. It was mostly done at night, as the boats came into the quay in the late afternoon or evening. There were dayshifts too, but the salary was better at night. I recall very well the strong smell of fish on my mother’s clothing during the seasonal work.