FEBRUARY 10, 1997

 The Edwards Agency

Features

Olive Sahlstrom as I remember her

Olive Sahlstrom

Olive's house was full of antiques. Once when I talked about her old Monarch stove, she said she'd will it to me. When she died, nothing happened. That's okay; no place to put it.
Photo by Oscar Roloff (1976).

Oscar Roloff by Oscar Roloff
One day, years ago, a Seattle man called my wife and asked if I would obtain the phone number of Olive Sahlstrom of Avondale. I knew her anyhow, and called the number on the slip. As I prepared to hang up, I heard him say disgustedly, "Good grief. That number seems familiar. It's my own number."
   When I heard that, I called back and apologized. He then told me, "Years ago, she was my teacher and I was a mean kid in her class. I want to apologize to her before I die; I'm getting along in years."
   I told him "Catch the Kirkland bus, and I'll meet you at the bus stop and take you to her house. She lives in Avondale."
   En route to Olive's place, I stopped at Safeway to buy two apples. "One apple is when a kid likes the teacher. In your case, being so nasty to her, two might appease her. Don't bet on it."
   They had an enjoyable reunion and he apologized.

Onward
   Having known Olive for 15 or 20 years, often I'd drop by her small house, and we'd talk about our own teaching days or she'd tell me about her family pioneer history. There's a book out on it. I've lost mine.
   Her husband had been a logger and was killed in an accident. She then carried life on alone. I'd watch as she sawed her own wood, got water from an outside pump, washed her clothes in a tub, and hung them on the line to dry.
   Other times, we'd sit at the kitchen table and just gab. A very gracious lady. Her Monarch kitchen stove kept the home warm.
   As years wound on, she got up, erased her name from the school chalkboard, walked to the door, opened it, stepped out, closed it for good, and left. Her school days of life had ended.