Here is the first chapter of the book I started writing, I will put more out in the coming days.
Chapter 1 — Not everything is perfect!
By the time I started cutting the grass it already been a bad day, with each pass of the mower I replayed over and over in my mind all the things that went wrong this summer so far. This morning for example I’d almost got myself into a fight with my smart mouth, inside I knew I was wrong but I would never admit that to anyone for anything. In fact I could probably give a full account for everything I’d ever done wrong, but I had a bad attitude about life in general those days, and I wasn‘t about to let anyone see my faults.
That day in August was a hot one, it was still about 91 degrees just after 4pm when I started the grass. But not cutting it wasn’t an option at that point I’d already put if off several other days, and it was to remain hot for the next week or so, it was a real hot spell. My Father told me if I didn’t get the grass finished that day I wouldn’t eat that day. Dad wasn’t always that strict, but with all the problems I’d been giving him he was just about at his wits end.
Then when I was only about half done, suddenly out of seemingly nowhere Dad had pulled the choke on the mower. Before I could even ask him what the hell was going on, he had tackled me to the ground. By the time I cried uncle, Mom had came out and managed to get Dad under control by pinning him to the ground.
When Mom said to Him “Ole, this isn’t going to help anything, you have to calm down!” While I crawled over to a shady spot under a tree to recuperate, Dad said to Mom “Emma, I just don’t know what to do with that boy anymore.” Dad continued to say “What did we do wrong? How can He always be in trouble, and now this? We never had no where near the problems with any of our other kids.”
Ya see, I’d been a troubled youth, and my parents just didn’t know how to handle me. I was born the sixth child to Ole and Emma Olsen of Holikow, Minnesota. By the time was I born, the then youngest child was 10. While my parents would never tell me this, I’m sure I was an accident. I grew up in the sixties and seventies which were some crazy times, it seemed like everything was being turned on it’s head, old traditions and the old ways were being thrown out the window. The biggest problems were on collage campuses like the one my brother was attending. Even though I was still only a Sophomore in high school back in 1974, the whole culture shock thing just seemed to hit me harder than my Brother.
I’m not sure if was the whole do good farm boy image that was expected of me, that made me so rebellious. Maybe it was that my parents had a “let boys be boys attitude” that I took advantage of, which had worked well in the past, but just not with me.
As I was sitting there daydreaming and trying to figure out what had finally pushed my Dad over the edge, is when a family friend Lenny Erickson came over to me and began to talk. The Erickson and Olsen Families of Holikow go way back, something like a hundred years, from the time when our families first settled here in Minnesota. Both families were from the old country and learned to cope in this new land together. In this case Lenny was the Uncle of Hans Erickson who had worked for several years on our farm has a farm hand, and Hans was like the younger brother my Dad never had.
Well Lenny told me that his Granddaughter Maria, the girl I had been going out with, was pregnant. And if you couldn’t tell from my father’s violent reaction, it was my fault. And for the first time as my heart sunk, I managed to admit my guilt by uttering the words, “What have I done?”
Lenny could have been angry, but he told me he was just sad. Lenny continued “I was just in your parents living room, sobbing. I had so much hope for Maria, she was to be the first in my family to go to collage.” I could tell it hurt him to even speak of the fact that his young intelligent Granddaughter who was to go almost directly into law school after high school, could make such a foolish decision.
I told him of the fact that I had pressured her to give me “it” has a birthday gift which was the only thing she could afford. And I started to tell him how much she had meant to me, and the story of how we met.
I had began with the retirement party that Hans had thrown Mom and Dad after they announced that they were planning to retire from farming.
I said, “The party had stared already and I was running late because I had been out fishing with friends. Maria had been standing in the loft over looking the gathering below, she was the only person there that was my age. She was getting bored from hearing all the stories of old, some of them we had both heard so many times before. Other stories we just couldn’t identify with.
When she had saw me, she recognized me from school and came down to talk to me. Prior to that night, I had assumed that she was just some Preppy type who I couldn’t get along with. Well that night after a long talk, it occurred to me that if she had been born a male we probably would have been good friends.” But at that time in my life I just didn’t know how to be friend to a girl.
It was about 10pm or so by the time we got done talking, my Mother, Father, Lenny, and I were sitting around a camp fire by this point. That day I don’t exactly know what happened inside of me, but on that day I grew up fast.
That day, my parents in usual fashion came up with a plan to save the day. My Father Ole had just signed a deal to sell the majority of his land to developers who had planned to build a new subdivision of our growing town Holikow, Minnesota. The next day he contacted the foreman of the project and asked that they hire me to help build homes. The foreman agreed and that year I went to work instead of starting what would have been my Junior year of High school at Holikow High school.
Around that same time Maria moved out to Idaho to live with my oldest Sister Johanna. My mother arranged that Johanna would let Maria work in the small family law office that Her and her Husband had started. Maria could finish school out there, and get some practical experience toward collage. After she had the baby she would be free to go off to collage and I would raise our baby, and no one would ever have to know what really happened.
The official story was I got some city girl pregnant while I was working on a construction site in Saint Cloud. While I was not sure how long this little story would last or if it would work, I played the part and took the responsibility that I had. The way I saw it, this was the way it had to be. My name was already bad in town, no need to drag Maria’s name through the mud, she had already went through enough!
What became a turning point in life is, when I learned that Maria had given birth to a beautiful little girl. She had named our child Hanna. All I know is my eyes welled up with tears, the tough boy I was broke down with the realization that my own mistreatment of girls had lead me to be the father of one. “Oh how God makes good out of our sins” I cried out.
With in heartbeats my life seemed to flash before my eyes. Since I had hit puberty I had been out scoring points. Not the type of points I could be proud of, those that I could have had, if I was on the Cafes’ sports team in school. No out I was playing with human hearts, breaking those of every girl I had ever known. The saddest thing was I didn’t even know what I was doing at the time. I was so self centered. It was amazing that anyone like Maria would spend time with a creep like me. And while I won’t have admitted it to anyone then, I knew everyone in town was asking the same question.
It had been nearly a year since I learned of Maria’s pregnancy I had not seen Maria at all during that time, nor did I see my young child Hanna, until she was two months old. The fact I had no contact with Maria hurt me deeply. I know I will never forgive myself for the sins of My youth, but even if I had the chance I wouldn’t change a thing, because if I did I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter Hanna.
During the time between finding out I’d gotten someone pregnant and the birth of my Daughter, My Mother and Father were the driving force in making sure that their new Granddaughter had a chance in life. When Maria found out she was pregnant she had considered getting an abortion which was then legal, well my good Baptist parents could let that happen, and thank God they didn’t.
Has I begin to raise Hanna I begin to see how “human” girls really and the pain of my past mistakes really grew inside. I pray that Maria is doing well, maybe someday we will talk again. Maybe when Hanna is a little older.
Between raising Hanna and working construction I grew up fast. I made two important decisions as a result. First I vowed to do all in my power to give Hanna the best chances in life. For a change I began looking to the future to guide me to the right decisions instead of living for monetary gratification. Second I vowed to be part of the solution instead of part the problem, when it came to things like making the world a better place.
— END OF CHAPTER 1 —
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