Monday, May 21, 2007

Olaff Andreassen Opseth

We are all aware when searching for our family members, a variety of spellings and pronunciations are observed. On death certificates and news clippings the first child of Andreas and Hannah is known as Olof OR Olaf. The only place his name is written as Olaff is in the family Bible. Even, Olaf, an avid reader, stamped his books with Olaf Opseth.
I want you to look at his middle name and think about how the Norwegians were named. Cock your head to the side and look at it again. Do you see it!!! Yes, it is ANDREAS SEN, which of course, means, Andreas son! I blush when I think about how many times I looked at that before I realized it!
Olaf was the reader of the family. He collected leather bound books, many of them published at the turn of the century. He also had National Geographic’s magazines bound in leather. He gave them to his sister, Julia and she gave them to me, I am his grand niece.
What did he do for a living? He was a farm laborer and a carpenter, and a stone mason. The best example of his stone work is the Rosebank School near Rosewood, MN.
The best story of all was told recently. Olaf was a surveyor for the New Solum Township in Marshall County. It was related that everyone loved when Olaf did the surveying because he had big feet and the documentation always showed the people had more land! The story goes on to say the land owners DIDN'T like him when it came time to pay the taxes on that extra land! Olaf owned a small house in Rosewood, years later there was still a dip in the land. It is stated that people used to go dig around where his house stood. They thought since he was a surveyor, he would have money buried. No money was ever found. As well as surveying, he was Justice of the Peace.
The comparison I am thinking about today is about reading.
Hannah and Andreas, according to census, both could read. How many books or what kind of books beyond the Bible is not known.
Olaf gave only a very small portion of his reading material to his sister. When the house was cleaned out before it was moved to town, hundreds of pieces of reading material were found. The books were moldy; they had been stored in the basement. There was no choice but to destroy them.
It isn't known if Julia read the books; they were stored in an oak and glass case. Her grandchildren were allowed to look at them whenever they visited but they must be very careful. They were and always have been called "Olaf's books".
The next generation which is my dad, read everything he could get his hands on. Daddy always contributed his love for reading to Olaf. When the time is right, I will share a picture of him sitting in field with a book in his hands. Vacationing with him was fun; he had read the history of every place we went. He liked westerns, all magazines, and newspapers. As a child, I remember him having dinner, reading, and taking a nap before going back to work. When I was little, I pestered him to read the Sunday funnies to me. Mother discouraged it, as I was always covered with news print after our session!
I loved to take volume 35 of the bound National Geographic out of the oak and glass cabinet and look at the paintings of the breeds of dogs. As an elementary school student, I read books about dogs and horses. The first informational magazine I ever opened was The American Shetland Pony Journal. I was a subscriber to American Girl and Little Lulu comics. I read according to my present interest and still do. My friend, Dixie, said I read five books on how to plant a tulip bulb, I am grinning because it is true.
To know Rachel is to know someone who read the books before we got home from the library, had to be forced to lay her book down and look at the mountains, and who had peach crates full of books under her bed. She is the sort of person, which while working in a book store probably read every best seller that came in the door. If my memory serves me right, she was told her eyes had abrasions on them from reading too fast! And then there is Ryen, who can read a pattern for sewing a garment or make a quilt and say, "Okay, I can do that". He didn't get that from me!
Where is my grand daughter in the scheme of things? We certainly like the dog books! I have a feeling she reads well and understands but would rather be creating or moving about.
Thank you for thinking about Olaf and reading with me.
I wish you joy for the day.



Rachel Thomae said...

Jaeme loves it when people read to her but doesn't enjoy reading to herself. She loves going to the bookstore and reading a big pile of books aloud to each other, but silent reading? Well, not so much.

She's only recently started reading for enjoyment (actually, to pass the time when spending time at her dad's dry cleaning business on Saturdays), and she only likes books about teenage girls, so I've had to make sure that the content is acceptable. Of course, this makes sense when I think about reading Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and so forth as a child her age. It also makes sense when I think about how all of the Disney shows for her age group star teenage characters.

Jaeme prefers to be creating something on her own instead of sitting down to read about it--unless she's reading for information and in that case, she'll find what she needs to know! For example, I think we've now got three dog encyclopedias, and she knows quite a bit about small dog breeds.

She can read diagrams, which really helped me when I was trying to put together a bookshelf for her room. She didn't get that one from me, that's for sure.


ryen.anderson said...

where did jaeme and I get our ability to read directions and understand diagrams? Mom always taught me to skip to step 5 and dad always makes up his own steps.

I do think we are all most likely to read for information!

Susi said...

I too, am or at least was an avid reader. I used to always have a book with me. I remember that at a parent teacher conference, my mother was told that I read too much, and needed to pay more attention to my lessons. I also remember hiding books behind my textbooks so I could read them instead of the lesson! My favorite books at that time (in the 70's) were the Boxcar children, and a certain brand of biographies.
Now, I mostly read books on art techniques, which I am notorious for taking them with me to dr apts or even if going out to lunch by myself! I also read at night before going to sleep, I read until I can no longer, and i often find myself with a book on my chest in the morning when I wake up!
I also raised my children to be readers. i read to them from the time they were in the womb! Kaity, who is now 16, still asks me to read to her everyonce in a while, because it reminds her of when I read to her as a little girl. She also reads as many books as she can get her hands on, mostly harry Potter and fantasy books at this time. She makes a resolution every year to read a certain number of books, and she almost always meets or exceeds that resolution!