Tag Archives: family

Artifact: Resume of Lorne H. Olson (aka Dr. O)

When going through my late Mom’s archive of documents, ephemera, photos, letters etc, came across this beautifully executed resume for my late Dad. The two were divorced after this time and very different people in general.

This document shows the collaboration from my parents as my Mom’s fingerprints are all over the layout and design. I would thing that this is well before digital desktop publishing but the typefaces and precise layout make me wonder the workflow. Anyhow…

Notably the multi-page dossier took me back to a time when the family was intact, before the rather tumultuous times which followed: Dad is smiling, has a Ed.D (Doctorate of Education which begat his nickname “Dr. O”) to his credit, and was fresh out of a few notable university gigs at Michigan State University (Lansing) and University of British Columbia (Vancouver) after earning his degrees at University of Oregon (Eugene) and BYU (Provo).

I see out last family address and phone number and the names of my brothers which allow me to date-stamp to probably 1981-3.

As it goes, he soon switched careers going into real estate sales (as Mom had recently done) at which he was diligent and successful by most any measure except some emotional categories. He also taught real estate licensing classes relying on his education education.

He died of cancer in February 11, 2014 at age 73.

Bob and Dave: Surrey and Ghandruk

Bob, Dave: Surrey, approx 1975
Bob, Dave: Ghandruk, 2017

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps

Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006

Sit on a tree by the river: (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72 (83MB stereo 192 mp3 1:00:05)

Continue reading (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72

Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

Dad's Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

When I was growing up, Dad often spoke of his Chevy Malibu SS – his favourite car.  So, while on his death bed, I asked him to tell the story. He speaks about acquiring the vehicle, the budget, the deal, the financing terms and oh, also about the car and how he enjoyed having a reliable and cool vehicle as a young married man creating a life, after growing up poor in Regina, Saskatchewan, then heading off to BYU in Utah. The story is interrupted by a nurse bringing lunch and news. He died 10 days later.

Indulge me by listening to: Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65 (78MB, 12:08, ,mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

Thinking about Mom, snorkelling at Starsand Beach in Guam

Pardon the terrible snapshot of a snapshot through glass but, this made me laugh and shows how intrepid Mom is/was. Here she is snorkelling at Star sand beach club where I toiled as a Japanese speaking club host… yes my job was to make sure people were having a good time on the beach all day and I was very good at it… Brother Anders and her came to visit one day and Mom jumped into all the activities with her usual bravado and enthusiasm.

#Mom #Lauralee #LoveYouForever

Obituary for my beloved Mother, Lauralee Elliott

While I am rather proud of this nice bit of copywriting: creative, concise and accurate, it’s something I wish I never had to write. #Lauralee #LoveYouForever

from Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BNs2tDLhIJl/

First Olson girls i ever met

These girls are related to me!!! First Olson girls ive ever known. Super lucky uncle. #love

By the way, they are pointing at a picture of their grandpa, my dad who passed away a year and a half ago.

This photo hangs at my favorite pierogi café on the burrard street and I encourage all of you to go to Maple leaf deli for ridiculous pierogies and cabbage rolls.

I took dad there on a great afternoon walk before we learned about the fcking cancer … The folks are so nice that I gave them a picture of my dad eating cabbage rolls and perogies with a big smile and a thumbs up which has a darn their window since.

#Grateful #DrO

Brother James says: Dave Olson – your girls are representing!

I replied: I’ve looked at this picture 20 times today and only cried about three times.

Annotations About Dad, Dr. Lorne H. Olson

A wonderful day with Dad, perogies, cabbage rolls and a west end personal history walk.
A wonderful day with Dad, perogies, cabbage rolls and a west end personal history walk.

Here’s to my Dad, Dr. Lorne H. Olson.

Born Winnipeg, 1941, raised Regina with Air Cadet forays to Vancouver, earned Bachelors at BYU “just there for the ladies”, first job in Port Arthur, Ontario YMCA (now part of Thunder Bay), earned Masters and Doctorate degrees at Oregon, then onto professorships at Michigan State and then University British Columbia in 1974.

Was then when we settled on 154th St. in Surrey. It was a dirt road then with plenty of woods around, and I walked with my plaid lunchbox to Harold Bishop elementary where I met people I still know today.

Then, in the 80s he became a real estate “king” of growing Surrey. His humble, noble face on bus boards throughout Newton, Whalley, Guilford.

Only those of us who knew about the accident that almost killed him could notice and trace the scars from 40+ stitches in his face that went out of the windshield and back in.

Some of my brothers and I, by this time lived elsewhere, due to the vagaries of marriage and divorce and moving. Yet, twice a year we would load up on suitably unsafe vehicle to come up to bond and hang out with our dad. It’s not unusual for teenage boys and their dads to not understand each other well, but we tried.

My brothers made him proud by doing the tasks expected of his beliefs, but me, I just kept going and going and wound myself up in messes and circumstances and situations which seem to just confuse him rather than excite him. But I was living – and I was not in Surrey.

Dozens of countries later, sequestered in Olympia, Washington, my extensive life resume lacked a few key letters which were antagonizingly close after four colleges and well over a decade, Dad and dear bonus mom Myrna stepped up and help me finish off my hard won Bachelor of Arts degree in Inter-disciplinary studies. Really, I dream of earning a Master of Fine Arts and a doctorate one day so I can take over his Dr. O license plates (despite the fact that I no longer drive).

We were all caught by surprise, he ate healthy, hadn’t had a alcoholic drink in 60 years or 50 anyway, didn’t smoke, frequently jogged, made kale smoothies with hemp nut, took infrared saunas…

So many good things and then in six weeks of frustration, confusion, occasional tears, misgivings and even arguments, The end came. No fireworks no lights from above no singing angels or earnest disciples from eons past to carry him away.

Just me, at 3:23am noticing the space between breaths had become impossibly long.

The doctor – or rather the home care nurse – told me: I must wait for five minutes and then we must wait for an hour as civilians, before we call the funeral home.

The non-resuscitation agreement, the “die at home” agreement, the funeral home pickup agreement was arranged.

Dad, I moved you from your side “drainage position”, lay you on your back which was now skin bones and a tumour — wiped the brown vile bile toxins from your face and tried to close your mouth.

I called in my dear stepmom Myrna, brothers Dan, James and Andrew — into the room & we stood, quiet. We knew our lives would never be the same.

The service was put together quickly and filled the church to the overflow area. Me and three more brothers spoke, told stories that none of these people understood about this dear old man. His challenges his struggles, his adolescence, the stuff he liked to do when he was just being Lorne. We made an audience laugh but it was mostly for our own good.

Afterwords in a dizzying array of small sandwiches and cookies, I was inundated with faces I hadn’t seen for 30 years and people I’ve never met told how Dad had impacted their lives so much — I could barely stand up or breathe.

Then there was a gravesite. No one seemed in charge, James blessed the grave, we sang a song, the workers lower the box and tidied the dirt and I just held onto my brothers for dear dear life.

I see him every day, and most days I cry, and so many times I want to pick up the phone and say “Dad I’m having a hard time” — i’m grateful for the times we spent together in the months leading up to the terrible news.

He was the healthy one of us then and we rambled through west end neighbourhood to his old houses where he stayed with namesake Uncle Lorne during sunny Vancouver summers at English Bay, (Incidentally Uncle Lorne was the long time maître d’ at the noted venue The Cave and often took the stage to sing with the Ink Spots or Sammy Davis (Sr.) though he used his pseudonym of Lloyd Hamilton instead of Lorne Head so his cufflinks still matched), to the Ukrainian deli where we ate cabbage rolls the size of our forearms. His picture is in the window of the Mapleleaf Deli on Burrard if you’re curious.

He told me before he died he was proud of me — and for being the “Black sheep” — that’s alright for me.

Memories of Dr. O (on his birthday)

In Memory of Dr. O, though they cause me to tear up a wee bit, here are a few recent cherished memories.

Dad pulling us on bike in the Lynden Washington (Whatcom County) parade

1) Me, brother Bob & Dad at Uncle Lorne’s (Dad’s fave Uncle and a former Maitre’d at The Cave) at a cemetery somewhere in Burnaby. This photo captures one of my earliest childhood memories and my first experience with death.

2) The (almost magical) retro Lions jersey, numbered and signed by Willie Fleming (Dad’s fave all time player). He put it on most every time when we came over and never once complained about his ailments. Thanks to Brian W for the huge assist on this.

3) Several months before we learned he was ill, Dad and I did a West End walking tour to track down places he had stayed, lived etc. To our surprise, the house he lived in with Uncle, Aunt and Mom on Barclay Street had not been torn down as he’d heard, but is now the Barclay Bed & Breakfast (not Barclay House). We interrupted the none-to-pleased private event and then lurked around the back for some photos and memories.

Now living in the West End, i see the places of my Dad’s youth, spent at air cadet camp and staying on with Uncle Lorne & Aunt Jan … cooling out at English Bay, going to Lions games at Empire, and learning how to be a man as his Father died when Dad was just 11.

4) Parade pic – either in Lynden Washington with our Bachman cousins or in Sapperton where my Uncle Mark worked at Cap’s and we’d always roll out crazy bikes like belly floppers, penny farthings and so on for parades. Here my Dad is dressed as a French-Canadian Couers du Bois (huge points for uniqueness and nuance). {above}

5) Dad exited this world with me, dear Myrna & other my bada$$ brothers tending to him though he was a wee baby. I was just returning the favour seen in this pic with bro Bob.

My plan to remember Dad today: take a big swim from Dad as he loved to be in the warm ocean or a YMCA pool.

Situation regarding dying Dad, various Brothers, Vegas and a train and airplane (2014)

Jan. 7 2014

Optimism is what I misplaced. Prob in a drawer with Magic & Swagger. In process of finding all of these powerful tidbits #healing #Grateful

Jan. 7 2014

Prepping for a north-bound train trip from country hideout to city tower love > then soon thereafter > LAX & Vegas via road #family #concern

Jan. 7, 2014

I resolve to face all challenges and adversities calmly, cheerfully – and with a bowl of oatmeal – as demonstrated in this post-apocolyptic situation in which i clearly saved the world and regrew the forests, all while looking sharp in my the plaid and specs.

Resentment? Bah! Suffering? Happens! Hugs? Still free!

As Lion Claw told me, “If you worry, it’s a problem. If you don’t worry, it’s a problem. So stop worrying and start living!”

The next few days will require me being soft and open to live, understanding other people’s points of view and motivations and moving peacefully (and restfully) through the stream and let the current of the story pull me along.

Jan. 9 2014

Am bound by aeroplane to Los Angeles to meet up with brother number one.

Together we will drive to Las Vegas to meet our other brothers and father for some family discussions of importance.

Brother’s wife has prepared pumpkin soup, Japanese-style, for when I arrive.

In 1992, when I first arrived in Japan, my brother fed me the same kind of pumpkin soup (though I’m sure not as good as this evenings version) and I wrote a haiku about that first night in Japan.

The poem is painted on rice paper in my mix of Eastern and Western art sensibilities.

The poem is especially appropriate for me as I need to feel the texture bottom of life right now.

Messages to future self.

Jan. 9 2014:

From Kris Krug:

Got my ole sick friend dropped off at the airport to go take care of his sick dad. When it rains it muthafuckin pours. Good luck out there @uncleweed! *hug*

Moments later >>

Jan. 9 2014:

And just when I thought life couldn’t get any weirder, I’m on the plane just about to taxi and just got some more strange, news that affects me greatly, yet I have no ability to control.

When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.

It’s weird.

##

Updated (in retrospect) Jan. 9, 2018

This dispatch came up in the flashback… To be clear, what happened was:

My dad had told us a couple weeks before that he had terminal cancer – he wanted to have one last visit with all five of his sons at once (keep in mind, we all live all over the place) in Vegas, which he love despite not gambling, drinking, smoking, strippers etc. -something about the “dry heat.”

Also, brother Andrew with moving into his own place so I had to dual purpose of giving him a bit of celebration and moving help (Nina include it with the help).

At this point, I was in pretty deep with my own illness but booked a ticket to Los Angeles where I would plan to meet up with older brother Bob Olson and drive to Vegas for the rendezvous. Kris Krüg dropped me off at the airport in the rain, got my wheelchair, through security blah blah blah. Keep in mind airplanes and travel in general is pretty tough for this guy but determined to do what my dad wanted.

Just as the airplane cost, announcements about buckling up and all that, and I reach down to turn off my phone to receive a call from step mom said dad was back in the hospital and unable to make the trip.

At that point, I had the choice of either making a big commotion and asking/demanding to be let off the plane and then likely being arrested or barred from flying for an indefinite period, or hunkering-in and do the trip. “You buy the ticket, you take the ride“ the good doctor said.

Of course, I did the trip, and let’s just say it was challenging. Sure all the brothers showed up but there was no place to stay as the timeshare condo had been canceled when dad was unable to go #EyeRoll so we were scattered around various makeshift hotel rooms, couches and the like.

We went out for a night, and tried to smile through it but the vibe just wasn’t right (for me anyway but maybe for others).

We (or I) were confused about what was going on, what comes after a parent dies and the like…

Note the Las Vegas trip is the worst possible environment for a guy in my condition who deals with massive sensory overload from even mildly stimulating environment. Let’s just say I overcompensated.

Brother Bob bugged out towards home the next day, Dan & James at some point after helping Andrew move into his new house… details, although completely unnecessary, are fuzzy but I just remember laying on the little grassy field in front of it with my head spinning with ridiculous pain and anxiety.

My return ticket wasn’t for several days later so I holed up in the Excalibur hotel with black out curtains drawn and fogged out on the prescription meds I was taking then.

Then got shelter at Cory DeMille’s house Where he kept an eye on me, played our favorite all time records then somehow I was at the airport and back to Vancouver but honestly I have no recollection of this part.

Dad would die a month later, 3:30 AM while I held his hand.

Anyhow,.. Didn’t mean to be cryptic with this announcement, but it was realtime on the airplane as I was wondering what the fck to do. Thank you for all your support and kind comments several years ago.

Still, dvo

##

Note to above:

Locating photos i also recall a few more things which are of course obvious but a little foggy:

  • we took a “dress-up as cowboys” photo which Bob paid for a gifted to each parent – Dad’s was displayed at his funeral

  • we went to Hoftbrau Haus and tried to have fun with sausages

  • we went to fancy Paris patio restaurant where Anders worked at the time – they treated us well and we ate much nice food

  • importantly, i purchased lederhosen and was very pleased with this whole idea, immediately changing into the fine garment and parading around as is my manner

  • Oh, and en route in LA where Bob was attending UCLA, i stopped by the library where there was a special exhibit about Gabriel Garcia Marquez