Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From Sweden to the Osage 2

Cliff Olson 1942 - age 26
 My Great Grandad was a stone cutter in Sweden and was a wealthy man who lived in a home he built in the early 1800's.  When his wife died he never recovered from the loss and started to drink and lost his wealth.  He had four children that I knew of with my Granddad Olaf, born in 1872 or 1873, no one is sure and neither was Grandad.  Granddad's mom died when he was very young and when his dad lost all the money the children had to go to work to feed the family.  Grandad quit school after the second grade and started driving a team of horses which would deliver the potatoes to the distillery.  That is where they made potato whiskey which was very popular in Sweden.  It also explains why Grandad and Dad knew how to raise potatoes and particularly sweet potatoes so well.  The distillery was like a coop and it was owned by five families and each would take turns to process their potatoes.  Grandad said he could deliver one load of potatoes a day to the distillery.  Interestingly enough he fed the horses home bread when they traveled.  That seems a little strange to me since they had an entire load of potatoes and horses like potatoes.

Another thing that was interesting is they baked bread twice a year.  They would wrap it in cloth and store it back in the oven for up to six months.  They say it was very hard bread.  If I were guessing I would say you could use it for a hammer or snow shoes or a lever to lift things if it was able to last for half a year. 

Anyway what drove Grandad to come to America was the fact that the tax rate was 72%.  The government promised to take care of you when you retired including all medical and housing.  From Granddad's perspective you could never get a head no matter how hard you worked because the taxes were so high.  In fact because of that he said no one ever saved any money and far too many people became alcoholics  and lazy because they did not have enough responsibility which made them lazy.  Does this sound familiar?

So in 1898 Grandad left Stockholm, Sweden for America at the ripe old age of 16.

part 3 tomorrow

What did I learn from these stories in the Osage?
  •  Responsibility makes a man (person)
  • Lack of responsibility ruins people
  • If it seems free, remember it costs someone
  • The Osage really was and is the land of opportunity
Thanks for your time,

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