My life has been good and my family is all that a person could ask for.
My father was Alden L. Olson, he was born in 1915 and he went to be with the Lord on December 17th, 1987. He lead a good life! I wish it could have been longer but God choose to take him and I cannot question the wisdom of the maker of the universe.
My dad was a great father! I like to brag about him because if you were his son or daughter you would too! He loved children, loved to teach them things and he took the time to have fun and laugh with all kids he met. Kids loved him too and liked to make him laugh!
His mother (Ruth Johnson) died of smallpox when he was only nine years old. He was the oldest of the five boys she left behind. His father (August Emmanuel Olson) married Ruth's younger sister (Mildred Johnson) a few years later and she gave my dad five sisters/cousins/whatever and one more brother/cousin/whatever. I guess it was common for things like that to happen out on the "frontier" here in Minnesota. It made the family a lot closer than most "step" families would be.
My dad had to quit school when he finished eighth grade. He never had the benefit of a higher education but that never slowed him down from being the best at what he did. He learned arc welding in night school and taught himself everything he could about automobiles and trucks. He worked at various shipyards and truck shops as a welder and or a heavy truck mechanic most of his life. He made middle management by the time he retired from the local shipyard in Superior Wisconsin.
When he was in his late teens, he also worked on a ranch in Montana for a few years. He left Duluth with a close friend and "hopped a train" to see what the West was like. It was during the "great depression" and jobs were few. Men had to "ride the rails" to wherever they could find work. After he married my mom (Beulah) a few years they moved back out to Montana for a few years where my only brother (Larry) was born. An odd note, Larry is nine years older than I am, and if we had both been born in the same time zone, we would be exactly nine years apart. I was born just before midnight on the 16th, central time zone and he was born just before 1:00 am in the mountain time zone. My folks moved back to Minnesota when the war started as they needed welders in the shipyard here that was building small "Corvette" class destroyer escort ships. They stayed here the rest of their lives.
My brother and I were both only children! I make that statement based on the fact that if more than six years separate siblings, they are for all practical purposes separate "single" children. It has only been in the past few years that we are starting to have things in common. I was mostly a pain in his side while I was growing up and he was just the resident big guy who picked on me. I am surprised I survived, he had me jump off a roof of our barn into a hay pile once to see if it was safe, he pushed me down a flight of stairs (inside a big box) just to see what would happen. Another time, I cut my head with a sharp piece of metal (don't ask what I was doing) and he made me sit and watch his baseball practice with a towel wrapped around my head instead of doing anything about it. I lived and I hold no grudges against him, I would have probably done the same thing if I were him. I got even once in a while and made his life miserable from time to time. Don't ask how I put an arrow into the top of his best friends 49 Ford convertible's trunk lid either - I won't tell, just say it was really, really stupid.
On November 13th 2002 my mom went "home" to be with my dad, she would have been 85 in a few weeks. She worked most of my childhood for a second income and because she was very good at office work and liked working. She was an executive secretary for a few years and when the office she worked in closed, she taught short hand in school for a while. She eventually got a job at the U.S. Air Force base that used to be in Duluth. She retired from the Air Force a few years before my dad retired. She is missed.
I married my wife Lynette in 1971 and I love her more now than I did then. I hope we have many more years together. I am six feet four inches tall and she is five feet tall, so I guess that would be the thing you notice first when you meet us. We are a match even though it is a huge size difference. Lynette is strong in so many areas that I am weak in and vice-versa.
Our kids are the best! God gave us two wonderful children, Matthew (1974) and Alana (1976). Matthew is just finishing his Master's degree from University of Illinois, Urbana. Matthew has two B.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota all ready and looks forward to getting a job and a life outside the school setting. Alana got her B.A. degree in 1999 and moved to Seattle Washington. She has an apartment, a good job, and is thinking about a pet. Both of them graduated from every school they attended, with honors. They are good citizens and make Lynette and I proud to be their parents.
I won't bore you with more details about all the rest of the family, they have their stories and they can tell them.
Page updated on 12-6-2002
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