Ole was another surragate mother figure at times in my childhood. She was also magical. Even though my mom would exhibit her own creativity in later years, it was from Ole that I really experienced creativity as a child. She could tell children’s stories almost better than anyone. My favorite from her was Hans Christian Anderson’s “Big Hans and Little Hans” or as it is titled elsewhere “Big Klaus and Little Klaus.” It is a dark tale of twists and turns and deceptions and horses and grandmother’s killed and sold. Ole delighted me with the telling of this story and the climatic “Dead grandmother sale!” Years later, I would get into such trouble when I was babysitting some neighbor kids in Escondido and told this macabre story. Apparently, instead of delight, those ungratful children only had nightmares!
In those days, I was fascinated with puppets of any kind, ventriloquists and their dummies. I had various hand puppets as a child but Ole made me a lifesize dummy that could move it’s mouth when you pulled a string. She made it out of paper mache and small boxes and it worked wonderfully. I think she may have actually made these at a couple of different times in my childhood. I’m not sure what would have happened to one that she would have needed to make another but it seems to me that there was more than one time that made these creations.
Mary Martin was a famous actress in those days and among other roles that she had in her illustrious career, she played Peter Pan in an annual production on television for sever years. I was enthralled with the story of Peter Pan and it has remained almost a theme of my life to this day. I could so closely identify with those “lost boys” and Peter. I so much wanted to fly away from all the chaos of my childhood and I never wanted to grow up into an adult with emotional problems and depression like my mom or an alcoholic binge drinking womanizer like my dad. I longed for Never Never Land and simplicity and music. I longed for a place where good always triumphed over evil.
Ole sprinkled her fairy dust on me and helped me escape for a brief moment in time. She took some tights and a t-shirt and boiled them in green Rit dye and cut off the bottom of the t-shirt so it was raggedy just like Mary Martin’s costume. I put on those tights and t-shirts and I was magically transformed into Peter Pan. I really could fly! Ole gave me that.
My aunt Ole wrote a book about my mom’s side of the family and that book can be found here. Please note that this is a huge pdf file and takes a couple of minutes to load. Be patient.: