OLOF ANDERSSON 1871-1963 |
What I remember about Olof J. Anderson.
Written by Emily, Olofs daughter.
My first clear recollections of Olof J. Anderson, my dad, dato back to the winter of 1910, when he was critically ill with rheumatic fever. He was in the guest room with the door shut. I tried to get into the room but always was whisked away from the door either by my mother, my Aunt Nealie, or a stern-looking lady dressed in white (in the wintertime!) and wearing a funny-looking white cap. The only visitor was Dad's friend, Dr. Aldrich, who came every day, sometimes two times a day, and upon leaving talked to my mother and the lady in the cap in a very low voice. The house was quiet. I was quiet and scared not knowing quite why. I somehow felt responsible for this nightmare which seemed to last forever. Then one day things changed. My mother and Aunt Nealie looked happy, the guest room door was left open, and the lady in white took her suitcase and went away. I peeked into the guest room, saw my dad in bed, and jumped into the bed with him. Aunt Nealie entered and tried to snatch me from under the covers but Dad held me tight saying, This is just what I needed.
From then on I was allowed to come and go into the room all during the convalescence. When spring came and fishing season opened Dad was chomping at the bits. Because of the effect of the rheumatic fever upon his heart, Dad's physical activities were still being curtailed but his persuasive ability was top-notch. He inveigled Dr. Aldrich to take him as a partner on a fishing jaunt. Dad, well bundled up, with fishing gear in hand, stepped into the doctor's car and away they went. The doctor, after seating Dad on a rock in a sheltered spot beside the stream, wandered off to seek another likely pool, promising to return within an hour. Ice and snow still lingered in protected areas. When Dr. Aldrich returned he found Dad a distance away from where he had left him, soaking wet, shivering, and triumphantly displaying two handsome trout! Dad had slipped on a rock and fallen into the stream. He was hustled home, plunged into a tub of hot water, and put to bed. He suffered on aftereffects, however.
Dad was a Methodist minister. According to my mother's idea of the way a Methodist minister, or, for that matter, any minister, should act, Dad did not measure up. In addition to formal pulpit attire, my mother believed that he should be at least tidily, if not immaculately, dressed at all times. Dad was happiest when wearing his "working" clothes - the kind that he'd be comfortable in while fishing, hunting, chopping wood, gardening, or snow- shoveling, all depending upon the time of the year. He'd even been known to make pastoral calls in such attire. My mother also objected to Dad's unministerial behavior in such an exploit as horse-trading. In my early life there were few automobiles in the part of Vermont in which Mother, Dad, and I lived. As with most of the townspeople we had a horse that served for pulling us about in a carriage or sleigh, whichever was appropriate for the season. I remember at least four occasions when Dad set forth with one horse to return with a different one, jubilant because held made a good trade, having swapped for a better horse or getting something - never money. sometimes a better carriage or harness - to boot. Dad was itching to own an automobile. My mother had no knowledge of Dad's maneuvers to become a salesman for a Studebaker agent until the day he arrived in the driveway behind the steering wheel of a spanking new demonstration model. Mom was heartbroken. In her eyes a dual occupation, that of minister of the gospel and automobile sales- man, could not be. After tears and lengthy discussion a compromise was reached. Dad would be allowed to fulfill his obligation to the automobile agent by selling only one Studebaker and then curtains. I don't believe that Dad was in too much of a hurry to sell a car. I accompanied him on demonstration trips and can still remember the features of the car that he stressed - a "floating rear axle and Timken (sp?) bearings." Finally Dad made a sale, then back to horse and buggy. However, not long thereafter Dad sallied forth transported by said horse and buggy to return with a rather dilapidated Plodel T Ford. He'd traded the horse and buggy for what was known around town as "Ed Eastman's old car." My mother was shocked but capitulated after Dad convinced her -that .,upkeep of the car would cost no more, and maybe less, than hay and grain plus shoes for the horse and detailed the advantages of an automobile over that of a horse and buggy as a means of transportation. From then on, Dad always had a car, that is, until he was almo ' t 90 years old, when, after a minor accident, he decided that his reaction time was not what it used to be.
Dad was a swede. He was born in Eskeröd, in the town of Norra Rörum, on January 29, 1871. He was the sixth of eight children. His maternal grandfather, Anders Jönsson, is buried in a cemetery in Södra Åby, Skåne. His paternal grandfather, also named Anders Jönsson, but not related to his maternal grandfather, is buried in Gislöf, Skåne. Dad's father, Jöns Andersson, died of pneumonia, at the age of 42 years, on March 2, 1878, when Dad was 7 years old. When Dad was 11 years old his mother was unable to keep the family together any longer. Dad was sent to live and work at an uncle's farm at Storegarten, Gislöf. At age 14 he went to Slagarp to work for Per Larsson, a Lutheran minister; at age 17, to Upphärad, in the province of Westergotland, to work for his uncle, Jöns Adler Andersson (Bo's grandfather), who owned a milk business. Besides that a creamery in Upphärad, Dad's uncle had a milk station in Nygård, a creamery in Nol and one in Goteborg. Dad worked in all of these for varying periods each, but mainly in Goteborg, for about three and one half years. On April 8, 1892, Dad left Goteborg in route to the U.S.A. He arrived in Portland, Maine,on April 22, 1892, where he was met by his brother Anders, to be known to me later as "Uncle Andrew." Uncle Andrew secured a job for Dad in a granite quarry in Green's Landing (later renamed "Stonington"), Maine, a town located on Deer Isle. Dad became an apprentice to a blacksmith who sharpened tools for the stonecutters. He worked at this trade off and on, when not attending preparatory school, for several years, in Green's Landing, Barre (Vermont), and North Jay (Maine).
*The children, listed in the order of their births, were:
Anders (born May 22, 1864; left Sweden at age 16; some years later married Annie Gilley; had six children, (Julia, John, Louise, Gilbert, Marion and Robert).
Cecilia (had 10 children; Walborg, I believe, was the youngest of these).
Olga (never married).
Kjersti (died when 12 years old with typhoid fever).
Anna (came to the United States in the fall of 1897; married a man named Johnson; had four children Olga, Olof Herbert, Carl Einar, and John. (John died at age of 41).
Karin (never married).
Ida,Benedicta (came to the United States in the fall of 1897 with her sister Anna).
After two nonconsecutive semesters at Bucksport Seminary, in Bucksport, Maine, Dad enrolled with his sister, Ida Benedicta, in Maine Wesleyan Seminary and Female College (later to be known as Kents Hill Seminary), in Kents Hill, Maine, where he met, and later married, Waitie Butler, my mother. To help pay for his board and tuition he served as night watchman. Upon graduation he matriculated in Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut. Here he majored in theology, played football, and earned "his keeps" by acting as steward for his fraternity. During vacations he had various jobs. One summer he sold tombstones and other monuments. In another, in Joplin, Missouri, he was a door-to-door salesman for a manufacturer of suit and coat hangers. Dad must have been a successful salesman for upon his graduation from Wesleyan (in 1903) he was offered a position as salesman for Heinz USA - the "pickle people" with promises of advancement leading to a glowing future as an executive in the company. I heard, or, rather, overheard, about this occasionally during my childhood. When ever a financial crisis arose, Dad, addressing my mother, would say, "I should have gone with the Heinz pickle people and you should have married Jimmy ITIcBride."
Apparently it was my mother who influenced Dad to become a minister and it was Dad who influenced my mother to marry him, a minister, instead of her other suitor, an Aroostook County (Maine) potato king! Dad's first pastorate was in Wilder, Vermont; his second in St. Johnsbury Center, Vermont, where I was born, one year to the day following his marriage to my mother. Later Dad served as Methodist minister in three other towns in Vermont - Derby, Richford and Bradford. About ten days before his transfer from Bradford to Ludlow, Massachusetts, and one month prior to my graduation from high school, my mother died, from complications of pneumonia, at age 47. Both Dad and I experienced a lonely summer in an unfamiliar town. I presume that Dad was even lonelier when I went off to college in the fall.
Two years later, while still a pastor in Ludlow, Dad married Martha Knight, a sister of one of his classmates at Bucksport Seminary at whose home he had been a guest on several occasions while a student. Martha, and Dad had renewed their acquaintance in Derby, Vermont, when Martha came to teach in the high school there. After leaving Derby, Dad had no knowledge of Ylarthals whereabouts until the summer of 1924 when he and I, while vacationing in Maine, chanced to call at the Levi Knight farm in Deer Isle. We found Martha there with her parents enjoying a vacation from her teaching position in Leonia, New Jersey. A courtship began forthwith. About two years after Dad's and Marthals marriage they had a son, Paul Knight Anderson.
After leaving Ludlow, Dad was pastor of three other Methodist churches in Massachusetts - in Rockport, Orange, and Feeding Hills. When in Rockport he became a member of a glee club. In the summer of 1930 this club traveled to Sweden. Dad went along, taking Martha, Paul (a three-year-old), and me with him. I was thrilled to see the places familiar to Dad during his childhood and early life and to meet many of his, and my, relatives. During his pastorate in Orange, Dad bought some land beside Packard Pond in Athol, a few miles from Orange. He eventually built, or, rather, helped in building, three "camps" on this land - one for himself a nd family and two for summer rentals. I enjoyed several vacations in one of these. In 1942, at the termination of his pastorate in Feeding Hills, Dad retired at the age of 71 years, planning to convert his camp at Packard Pond into a year-round home. He was deterred from this undertaking when a house, with several acres of ground, in Orange was offered for sale at a very reasonable price. Dad bought this house. Shortly after being settled there a former parishioner who owned a small factory in Orange that was serving the "war effort" and was short of help persuaded Dad to come to work for him. Dad became foreman of the "trigger room." He worked long hours, earning more money per week than he had during his prior life. Not having time to care for his camps, he sold them at a handsome profit. After the war ended and he was no longer needed at the factory Dad enjoyed working in his garden, fishing, and engaging in community affairs. He lived a full and happy life until his death, following a brief illness, at the age of 92 years