Reflections on Growing up Olsen

( On November 11, 2009, I videotaped my uncle, Eric RP Olsen telling stories about his life in Marquette, Michigan. This post is but a segment of this recording and in Eric Olsen's own words.) I have learned that if I become a success it’s because of my parents. I was born on July 17, 1939 to Emil and Edna Olsen. My dad came to this country from Norway on a whaling vessel when he was 14-years-old back in the days when kids worked. On his second voyage on the Whaler he got sick and they put him off in New York City and he ended up on Ellis Island, recovered and made his way to Minnesota and from there to Chicago where he met my mother. Dad sailed for years on barges on the Great Lakes.  In 1918, everyone had the flu and this killed an awful lot of people. Dad quit his job on the Great Lakes as a skipper to come home to take care of the family.   I had four brothers - Clayton, who died of diphtheria at two-years-old, Donald, Richard who retired as a skipper on the Great Lake

Birdman of Small Acres Lane

As I review the "trees" of my childhood, I find myself ruminating about my maternal grandparents who lived in a farm-y home at the end of a short dirt road. These memories light up this tired ol' soul.   Please take the journey with me.   Turning south off a busy road, you are immediately met with a tall hill lined with tombstones. To me it was a place of quiet and time with grandpa. The cemetery was a sacred place my grandfather, known and written about as The Birdman of Small Acres Lane , would take me, sit with his back against a gnarly tree tenderly petting his beloved dog, thinking or reading, while I wandered around reading the stones. Next to the cemetery was the Red Cedar River, which he told me to view but admonished me about getting too close. Following this dusty road toward their home, we pass Sadie's woody and partially hidden home on the left and Lilah's small cottages on the right. Rumor back then was that grandpa and Lilah were good friends and

In the Arms of Mother Nature

I believe, I believe, I believe in the healing power of Mother Nature and spend as much time with Her as possible. She helps me sort through emotions, feelings, thoughts – even revealing hidden gems to explore on my path in this life.     Into the Woods County, state and local parks provide a healthy way to explore life and to engage with family and friends. Mother Nature soothes concerns, problems; accentuates action plans, goals; allows for mind-half or mind-full-thinking.  Find rejuvenation on the plethora of paths throughout Michigan.  Mother Nature makes my complicated and sometimes painful life appear simpler and more stimulating. Communing with the animals, birds, leaves, water, mud, snakes, and even walking through the swarms of freshly hatched bugs, gives me nourishment for the multitude items on my invisible schedule – my life blood is enriched. I am a verbal processor, or, storyteller – embellisher of life -- it IS who I AM. My feelings, tho