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Sandy Osler

Interviewed by Eric Paulson, Hometown Taxi driver, who says Sandy is the most inspiring person he has ever met.

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Keep on trying. Do your best!

What have been your greatest difficulties in life and how did you face them?
That happened during my high school years. I had 14 people in my class and they didn’t understand about my condition (cerebral palsy). So I got bullied and called some names. Thanks goodness that is behind me! I guess I just didn’t really that it was as bad as it was at the time.

What are you most proud of in your life?
Living life as normally as I can with cerebral palsy.

Can you tell us something about your husband and how you fell in love?
We met in 1958 at the Vocational Rehab in Des Moines. We went out own separate ways until spring of 1967 when we ran into each other again at “Camp Sunnyside.” I went with him six weeks and had an engagement ring that was a big surprise for me! The priest wouldn’t let us get married in June – he said that we needed more time to get to know each other. So he had to would come to Decorah or I would go to Des Moines so we could see each other. We were married in October of 1967.

What are you most looking forward to?
Nice springtime weather – warm and sunny after the last, hard winter we have had to live through.

What jobs have you held that brought you the most satisfaction?
I babysat for a living, which helped my husband and myself, as we were childless.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
A person who tries to do her best – a determined person.

Can you tell us about the greatest inspiration in your life?
My husband, Virgil Osler. He was hurt in a car accident while in the service and was able to accept his disability. This helped me accept my own disability.

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Dee Kuhlman

Dee Kuhlman, aged “it’s nobody’s business” but her own, loves to cook (and fancy at that), is incredibly organized, and has a wonderfully loving and happy spirit. Interviewed by Lorraine Borowski, long-time friend and Decorah Public Library Director.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up during the depression – I had to help support my family, I didn’t have a choice. When I was 10 I said I could go out and work. My dad – previously a successful and wealthy businessman in Chicago – couldn’t stand the idea that I would be a working girl. Finally, he said, “You’re not going to work with your hands, you’re going to work with your head.”

What do/did you do?
At 15 I started working as a stenographer for Sears. I hated it. My friend was going to Europe for a year and said I could take her job working for the railroad while she was gone. I interviewed for a secretary job and they gave me a sheet to write out – I did good job on it and they said, “Okay, you’ll do.” I told them okay, great, but I want a job after my friend gets back too. I was the secretary to three railroad presidents, traveled all over the country – I had a very exciting life. I worked there from age 16 until I was married at age 31.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
I’d want a guy, and the three things he would have would be a good body, a good personality, and a real insight about the world.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
Weird and crazy.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Well I love to eat, if you can’t tell. Anything that tastes good. I love chicken. Oh, and anything terribly fancy and well-served.

Name one thing you could not live without.
Joy and the interesting people around me.

How did you meet your husband (the late Will Kuhlman)?
I was at a church function – that I didn’t really want to go to – and it was crowded. I had my hand on a banister and some man put his hand on mine, holding it. I said, “Excuse me, we’re you the one holding my hand? How dare you?” I wasn’t entranced, but he said he wanted to see me again. A good date’s a good date, so I went. And soon, there was something wrong with me: I was falling in love.

Multiple choice: tell us about… your wedding day.
We were engaged February 14 and married in May just months later. We knew he was supposed to be going overseas to the war. It was very simple – sweet church wedding. My whole office was there, and then there was a reception and dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Chicago.

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