Elaine Olson

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Natives of Oldsburg, KS, they grew up on a farm and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. In college, they roomed together and spent their summers together in Colorado, working as waitresses and climbing mountains. Both became teachers.

Louise taught elementary school in Salina and Wamego while Elaine taught high school English and typing in several locations before beginning a 23-year career at Erie High School.

Louise was the first to get married. She and her husband had two daughters. They lived in Oldsburg.

Elaine met her future husband at church. Although he was older than she and had two grown sons, they married in 1963. She loved being a farm wife and teacher.

Although living in two different parts of the state, Louise and Elaine kept in touch, writing letters every week. These letters they kept and made into a book later in life. When her husband died, Elaine came home to Oldsburg, built a house and helped take care of Louise and her husband, whose health was failing. When Louise's husband died in 1996, she moved in with Elaine.

The two turned their home into the cultural center of Oldsburg, hosting Bible study and exercise groups, senior citizen meetings and after school programs for the children.

"It was THE meeting place," Elaine laughs, explaining that was typical of small town life, where neighbors are friends.

The two sisters moved together to Via Christi Village in Manhattan, first sharing a room in the health care courts and then an apartment in assisted living. After Louise died in 2008, Elaine stayed in the apartment, surrounded by all her new friends and neighbors.

"It's a beautiful place," Elaine says. "They take good care of me, everybody is so helpful, and I have a beauty shop right down the hall. Who could ask for anything more?"


Elaine Olson and
Louise Southerland


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