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Showing posts from February, 2017

Diary of a 1938 Cabin Dweller (Part 8)

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A treasure was discovered in this 1938 diary from my grandmother, Edna Olivia Olsen. Written during a difficult winter beset with one of the worst blizzards in UP history, illness, and trials - she shares her daily diary entries with us as she is living in a cabin in the woods .. in Marquette, Michigan. Sunday, February 20, 1938 "Dicky was quite sick today. Was up practically all nite. Couldn’t sleep & then the squirt started throwing up – sleeping in my good bed with me. Had an hour to sleep to be exact between 5 & 6." (me – the family is aware that Edna and Emil lost their son, Clayton, to diphtheria and having any of their other children sick, must have been scary. Picture is of brothe rs, Richard and Donald Olsen at the 2 nd marriage for Dick – first wife, Fran, had died. Dick is a captain for the great lakes in this picture. One of the family outside on a mattress playing with their child, almost looks like outside of a building on the island in Marq

Diary of a 1938 Cabin Dweller (Part 7)

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Diary of Edna Olsen continues.  Wednesday, February 16, 1938 "Did he ever find me in a temper! Dam’s & darn’s flying high wide & handsome. When I got thru he informed me he was a Baptist minister. Why isn’t there a hole handy to crawl into at such an embarrassing moment. Not only that I had actually smoked a cigarette while talking to him. Oh me – oh my, I haven’t got over it yet & never will. Oh well, such is life out in the sticks – when everything goes haywire!" (me – can you imagine! I heard about this incident at some point in my life; and remember it. Ever been embarrassed? What was your most embarrassing moment?  Picture of Edna and Emil visiting the hospital room of one of their best friends, Alphonse -  an old farmer who helped the family tremendously over the years.) Thursday, February 17, 1938 "Was all rheumatic after my set-to with the washtubs. I guess I’m getting old. I’m sure that I’ll be the topic of Axel Anderson’s S

Diary of a 1938 Cabin Dweller (Part 6)

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The diary of Edna Olivia Anderson Olsen continues through the winter months of 1938. Living the cabin life in the woods of Marquette - Edna is getting real antsy to find a place to live, in town. Monday, February 14, 1938 "Father couldn’t get his car started today. I had a tubful of clothes on to start to wash but he wanted me to go to town with him & see some houses. Blizzard raging & I didn’t feel like going – but went. Mrs. Phanief (sp) doesn’t want to do anything to the upstairs we were looking at & wants 12.50 so we are undecided – no bath, clothes closets or wood shed – poor entrance. Kinda hope we can make a deal though – well, we’ll see."  (me - Happy Valentine's Day - or Valentinsdagen in Norwegian. I wonder if our grandparents celebrated as there is no mention of this in her diary. Emil Olsen holding his son, Eric, on Baraga Avenue ... note the radio to his left. Russell Olsen standing on the porch with sister, Jan Olsen, in the Furnace lo

Diary of a 1938 Cabin Dweller (Part 5)

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My grandmother, Edna Olivia Olsen, has been living near Marquette in a cabin during the winter of 1938 - and has been writing a daily diary post of her experiences. This is the third blog about her experiences ... she is getting quite tired; the blizzard has passed but the drifts still remain 20 feet and higher. Her husband, Emil Berger Olsen, children, Richard, Donald, Betty and Russell Olsen are also in the cabin - times are hard. Wednesday, February 9, 1938 "Baking bread today & coffee cake. Also get to iron some things. Feel positively lazy but must get busy – I’m ashamed of myself – no energy at all. Hope we can get rid of the cattle & so move. Too hard on the children out here and also on mother! Called up Dorais (sp) yesterday – hope he comes out to look at Beauty & Rosie. The pigs will probably butcher. Need the meat but how I do hate to kill them – they are such red beauties." (me - picture of Emil sitting on the front porch at 616 Baraga Avenu

Diary of a 1938 Cabin Dweller (Part 4)

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Edna, Emil, Betty, Donald, Russell and Richard Olsen weathered through the worst blizzard in U.P. history as seen through the eyes of my grandmother, Edna. The family lived in the woods of Marquette, in a cabin a mile from the nearest road. The diary continues... Saturday - Pay day, February 5, 1938 "Went in to town with Alphonse and Big Irene today. Trailed around town for an hour.  So darn good to get away from camp. Then went up to Billies.  Scrubbed her kitchen floor, got lunch. Also, when Emil came had another lunch & so to get my groceries & then home.  Feel a lot better today.  Betty had supper ready when we got home.  How nice! & I treated the kids to a round of cards."  (me - this picture is the side of the Olsen Baraga Avenue home, which overlooks Marquette; the second picture is the ship crew with my grandfather's face circled; Aunt Janice, Edna's youngest, with my brother, Stephen, facing the Baraga home - the house in the background

Diary of a 1938 Cabin Dweller (Part 3)

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This is a continuation of my grandmother, Edna Olsen's diary from 1938, written in a cabin in Marquette beginning January 1, 1938. Monday, January 24, 1938 "Less said is best. Don asked Alphonse to help him get wood & he did but a storm came up so I asked them to carry home one each when they went out for their axes. Children were sent home at noon & has it stormed or has it stormed. Ye God’s. Father not home - wonder where he stayed.  I know he’s worried about us & I’m worried frantic over him." “Seventy-six years ago this January, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula succumbed to a surreal snow storm that left students stranded   in   schools, trains stuck, and even started a few fires.   In “So Cold a Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories,” meteorologist Karl Bohnak writes that the 1.5-day storm is often referred to as “the worst of them all,” and is still a benchmark for Yoopers trying to gauge just how bad a storm is.  The 50 mile-per-hour winds caused s