That’s me standing, my mom in the chair, my daughter kneeling, and my granddaughter in Mom’s lap. We are second class citizens of the United States.
Vote Blue, no-one is coming to our rescue. We must save ourselves.
Nothing short of brilliant, Dale Olson could expound on almost any topic. His knowledge of sports, history, and literature rendered him as a true Renaissance man. He also loved the Simpsons.
Dale Curtis Olson joined the planet on February 10, 1954.
Born and raised in Spokane he attended public schools and graduated from Joel E. Ferris in 1972. A graduate of the University of Washington in History and Political Science, he pursued jobs that carried him around the globe. With positions from Antarctica and to Johnson Island, Dale found the world his finishing school. He did not simply tour destinations, Dale relished them, as food for his soul.
His children were his books, and those surrounded him. Still news of his grandnephews and niece arrived welcome to his home.
Throughout Dale’s long trials with illness he persevered, aided in large part by our brother David. Our gratitude is heartfelt.
Dale was predeceased by our father, David E. Olson, and survived by our mother, Rita Olson. Also his sister Gail Chumbley(Chad) of Garden Valley, Idaho, brothers Stephen (Elizabeth), and David Olson of Spokane. He is remembered by all his nieces and nephews residing from Spokane to Portland, to Salt Lake City.
We will have no service, and in lieu of flowers donations to American Battlefield Trust, https://www.battlefields.org are suggested.
Oh to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you’re thank that you are leaving there too soon.
Dear Helen and Chum
I’ve neglected you since publishing your story, and I regret my doubt-inspired silence.
The delight of researching the both of you, made clear that you lived more life than I’ll ever see in mine. Risk, peril, glamor, and ambition. You put yourselves out there, and is the best story, ever.
I wrote those books wracked through with feelings of inadequacy. Possessing little experience as a writer, I took on both volumes largely on my own and finished them, impatiently pushing the story out to the world, mistakes and all.
Still, I’m not sorry to have narrated your journeys, it’s the most kick ass true story I’ve ever encountered.
Fear and confusion froze this greenhorn in her tracks. I am guilty of getting in the way of sharing your adventures, and reliving your forever love story. Forgive me. I presumed this 20th century saga belonged to me, but that is not so. Truly, there would have been no books at all, without your daring and triumphs to inspire me.
These books were not a mistake.
Chum, you squared your shoulders, took a deep breath and strapped into that cockpit, forging a career of monumental consequence. The victor of the 1933 Darkness Derby, you braved the night skies over a sleeping America. Flying your mighty Waco aircraft, you touched down at Roosevelt Field where Lindbergh and Earhart began their storied flights. Later, in defense of democracy, you piloted US invasion orders through a dangerous South Pacific typhoon, tossed and slammed by up and down drafts, to complete your mission.
And to you sweet Helen, though we never met in this life, you inspired the entire effort. It was that first visit to your Miami home when something stirred inside me. A unexpected inspiration. Remember that black and white glossy? The portrait of a sultry platinum blonde? You know the one. Chum had it up in his room until the end.
That photo triggered a spark, a slow burning fire I could not ignore. This story had to be shared. The European tours, dancing, dinner with Maurice Chevalier, cruises across the Atlantic on the SS I’le de France, vaudeville with comedians Jans & Whalen. Then off to Rio de Janeiro you sailed, opening at the Copa Cabana. And after your marriage to Chum, and the war broke out you took up ice skating, performing nightly for Sonja Henie’s productions at Rockefeller Center. My God! What a life.
“River of January” is done, as is the sequel, “River of January: Figure Eight.” Preserved in the pages is magic, whether in the sky, on the sea, under the footlights, and revolving across shimmering ice. This story crackles with your energy.
This won’t be neglected any longer. I’m getting out of your way.
With Love, and Eternal Admiration,
Gail Chumbley is the author of the two-part memoir “River of January,” and “River of January: Figure Eight.” Both titles are available on Kindle.
David Edward Olson came into the world at a difficult time. Depression plagued the US economy, and tyrants emerged overseas. Born on June 15, 1932 the child grew to manhood in rural Wadena County, Minnesota., In defiance of hard times, young David was a happy, shiny spirit; always a welcome visitor to the many homes of his extended family.
In 1950 the 18-year-old followed his friends into the Minnesota National Guard, which was soon nationalized for duty in the Korean War. A whiz with automobiles, David drove trucks for Uncle Sam, fulfilling his military duty by 1952. While away his parents relocated to Spokane, Washington, and David followed them west.
It was in Spokane, on a blind date, that David met the woman who would change his life, Rita Tucker. Hired on at Kaiser Aluminum in Mead, David and Rita soon married, bought a house and began their family. Coming of age in post war America, the couple embodied American prosperity, enjoying new cars, vacationing via the brand new interstate system, loading up the kids for drive-in movies, and Sunday afternoons cruising the countryside.
With his children and friends Dave loved to hunt, fish, and cut wood in the forests around Spokane. It was at Cocolalla Lake that Dave taught his, and everybody else’s kids how to play. He spent hours swimming, boating, and pulling skiers across that pristine little lake. Those were the best times.
After retiring from Kaiser, Dave turned his kindness to service for others in the community. For fifteen plus years he volunteered for the Spokesman Review’s Christmas Bureau. Additionally Dave gave his time to the Catholic Charities Food Bank, Meals On Wheels, delivering bakery goods to the Union Gospel, and transporting those in need to medical appointments.
Every morning for the last twenty years Dave was a regular with his dog-walking companions at Lincoln Park. Leading first his little buddy Toivo, then Padfoot the Pug, Dave met other dog lovers who became his dearest friends through his declining years. And the highlight of his week was Thursday dinner with the Post Office bunch.
David was preceded in death by his parents Kurtz and Mabel Olson, and his sister Marie. He is survived by his wife, Rita, his sister Susan, sons Dale, Stephen (Betsy), and David of Spokane, and his daughter, Gail Chumbley (Chad) of Garden Valley, Idaho. David loved his many grandchildren, and great grandchildren; his pride and joy.
Gail Chumbley is the author of the two-part memoir, “River of January,” and “River of January: Figure Eight.” Both titles are available on Kindle.