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Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Different Perspective - Mothers Day and Irma Martin

The blue dishes that were once in cereal boxes in the past days of Irmas life were collected by her over time. After she passed, I bought these dishes at her sale conducted by her sister Leatha Schenk.

.................................. It is Mothers Day. ..............................................................
A day to honor your mother gives cause for me of course to reflect about her, it gives me cause to reflect on myself as a mother. And I wonder about my friends in other places how they are doing on this day. What are their plans, what are their children doing with them. And in the case of my friends Loretta and Pat and cousin Mary, who only nurtured one child.
It's still Mothers day no matter how many children, nor how you got your children. I believe even for those who lost their child before birth, it is mothers day.

And not to leave anyone out, I have to mention that some of my friends just did not have any children.

I guess I am not so easily getting to my topic today, my dear, dear Irma Martin Olson. She was not a mother. But I cannot say she did not have any children. I think I asked her once and she had said something close to that effect. That she had had a lot of children in her life. She was first a teacher and then a principal at her school and then back as a teacher. She knew children, she loved children.

Let me tell you about Irma.

She was born in 17.02.1903 at Riverside Iowa to Anthony and Laura Martin. She lived among my other relatives in Iowa descending from the Stolley line connecting to my Minnie Meyer of Juergen Heinrich Wilhelm Meyer. Or Grandpa Willy. Just like the Herman Meyer and some of his other siblings descendants, other descendants of the vast tree in Iowa came up to Minnesota for cheap land and good farming. The family farmed and later lived in Madelia.

Irma in her later years looked much like the girl in the last row on the very left and the girl to her right. [ I am ashamed to say, I don't know who those people are as of yet.]

While Irma was making a life in Minnesota, she had a sister Leatha in Wisconsin married to Edward Schenk at the post office of Schwano area. In 1930 Irma took time out from her teaching to marry Ole H. Olson from Yellow Medicine county and they lived in a sweet little cottage at Hazel Run. Children for various possible reasons didn't happen, but the war did. It took away her Ole Olson and her chances to be a mother. She kept the house most of her life.

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I was aware of her in her fifties and sixty years of age, when she lived and taught in Rosemount, Minnesota. Often times she would make a little run down to Watonwan county to visit us. She and my mother seemed to get along pretty good, and I think she told my mother a great deal about her children experiences. She did a little genealogy, I heard later, and so often mentioned something or talked of a few things with my grandfather or my father. Unfortunately, I have no clue what she found out or mentioned.

Sometimes, when she stopped it was before she would be on her way to Iowa or west to Hazel Run, or back to Rosemont. . She had her remodeled mothers house in Madelia, where she she would stay, work, store and haul things from and back to be stored.

I didn't realize back then that Irma did not stop at my aunt and uncles residence in Lewisville. My cousin once told me that she did not know who she was. Usually when relatives stopped, they also went to see my father s brother or his wife, or there might be a big get together. Uncle Lyle died young and so if Irma had desire to see Amanda and her child that would be reason to go to their place, or not.

Irma had plans to retire and become a antique dealer with maybe a little cottage somewhere. Everyone should have dreams and that was hers. She drove this station wagons usually stuffed with boxes or furniture. Later when I had my license and a car of my own, I had boxes in the car either coming home or going to my apartments, mom would affectionately call me ''Irma" because I " put her in the mind " of Irma. I, of course ate it up. Not that I did any of it on purpose. I had gotten to know Irma on a personal basis in my teen years and it felt good to be called Irma. [ It was just mom' s way of teasing.]
Later on, when mom called me Irma, not one of us needed to ask why. It was that reason.

Do you repeat phrases of those you know or used to know. Sometimes I think I say it unintentional and sometimes I do it in an affectionate recall, just because I want to. I say it just like Irma used to say, she would be thinking aloud as she did things. " Now then" she would say and then move on to what she wanted to do next.

Since, she was my special woman [relative] involved out at Sunnyslope Farm in our families life, you can bet your sweet petunia [and I know you got one today], I will be writing about her again, you just wait and see.

Irma Minnie Martin Olson was a Memorable woman with out birth children of her own, but she had all the warmth of a deserving Mother, and so I honored her today on this Mothers day 2010.


  1. Not all mothers give birth.A lovely tribute and I really like your little"altar" in the photo.Reminds me of dia de muertos.Thank you for sharing.

  2. ha, Dust bunny you are very close in figuring out the original posting of that photo. I almost caroppped out the apple from the Halloween photo, but thought, nah.

    And I did forget of adoption which my cousin did that makes her amother. and others raise their husbands children and other family situations. etc.



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