Priscillamae Olson

Author and Arist Living in Eau Claire, WI

Book Excerpt - The End of the Road: Full Circle Home

Page 18 The Old Country School

At Christmastime, we'd all have decorations to make, pieces to learn to recite, songs to sing, and plays to act in. We'd practice for weeks. Excitement would build until we'd nearly explode before the night of the program would finally arrive. Parents and neighbors would crowd the walls of our little classroom. Most having come by car, while some by horse and wagon, and horse and buggy. The program was a really big deal for the students and something for the whole community to look forward to. After the program, Santa would enter with his bag of fruit and nuts. The room would be abuzz with everyone whispering a guess as to who the Jolly Old Man was for that year. Everyone would enjoy a hearty visit over lunch that seemingly only farm women know how to prepare.

Page 25 Resourcefulness and Versatility

My mother is my unsung hero. Among many other talents, she was a creative seamstress. Mom's old treadle sewing machine was simply magical. She sewed far into the night, oftentimes singing as she sewed. My favorite dress was of multiple yellow fabrics --- a piece from this hand - me - down and a piece from that hand - me - down creatively sewn together into a "yellowish" dress my size and to my liking. However, nothing could compare to my jacket.

My prized jacket was constructed from several different items of clothing. It was wool and lined warm against the winter's cold. Pieces of solid and plaid greens, blacks, and grays made up the jacket. There were set - in pockets and the most beautiful buttons that were foraged from donated articles of clothing. I was so proud to wear Mom's latest and wonderful creation.

Pages 44 - 45 The Last Sunset

By the time I was twelve, my mother arranged for me to work for a neighbor for one dollar a day and to save it toward a college education. I baked, cooked, cleaned, and cared for children. At age fifteen, after we had moved to the Twin Cities, my mother obtained a job for me in a nursing home. Then at ages sixteen through eighteen, I worked as a nurse's aide at the same metropolitan hospital that my mother had gained employment.

My monies were earmarked for college, but it was my brother who was immediately in need of monies to complete his teacher's college. It was decided that I would loan Dean the money so he could finish his senior year, and then he would repay me my first year of college from the money he would earn in his first year of teaching...

Very early on, my mother insisted that I inquire what was required for entry to college. At that time in my life, we had no stationery. She gave me a piece of a brown paper bag. Many years later, a college official showed me the brown paper bag's inquiry letter and shared his heartfelt congratulations for a job well done...

I tell you these things to confirm for you, if you are struggling, that regardless of unfortunate circumstances of poverty and deprivation that you may have been born into, education, hard work, faith, love, and forgiveness can help you blossom into a happy, successful, meaningful, and richly fulfilling life.

 

Book Reviews

Sam - Highly Recommended

I couldn't put this book down. The moral of the story hits home. One can come from nothing, the depths of poverty, and still become something in this world, and make a difference. The number of lives this author touched is amazing. If we as individuals can make a difference in just one person's life, we have succeeded. This book has lessons for all age groups. It touches one's soul. It's a great read.

K. Sprain

The entire book is an inspiration for dealing with many situations in life and can be understood and useful to people of all ages. Fascinating reading from the beginning to the end. Ms. Olson helped me relive and appreciate a big part of my life. It seemed as if we were neighborhood friends. The entire book is an inspiration for dealing with many situations in life and can be understood and useful to people of all ages. It should be considered as a class study in our schools.

Anonymous

Memories of the past! I found this to be a wonderful book about life in rural Wisconsin! In having grown up in similar circumstances, childhood memories came flooding back to me. This book shows us the importance of family and the values one learns from life. Priscilla Mae writes from her heart about a family which she loves dearly.

Anonymous

Wonderful read! Inspiring story of family, responsibility, and triumph over poverty through education. Priscillamae Olson skillfully paints with words, and brought me me right back home to the farm where I grew up.