From An Old Newspaper Clipping Found in a Box

This story was taken from a newspaper clipping circa 1969. Newspaper, unknown.

Lifestyle is the major difference now between European and American cities, according to a former Portage resident and his wife, who are now working with the United States Dependent Schools overseas.

Allen Dale Olson, a graduate of Portage High school, is serving as assistant to the superintendent of the American overseas school system. His title is special project officer. His wife, Joan, daughter of Mrs. Dorothy Farley of Portage, is a teacher in that school system.

The Olsons have been engaged for nine years in the program which involves 14 different countries, ranging from Bahrain on the Arabian Gulf to Madrid, Spain; from Asmara, Ethiopia and Kenitra Morocco, to Edzel, Scotland and Oslo Norway.

The 17th largest American school system includes 120,000 children (minor dependents of U.S. Servicemen stationed overseas) and 5,100 classroom teachers. The system includes 33 fully accredited high schools and covers an area about 2 ½ times the size of the continental U.S., roughly 23 ½ square miles.

In comparing the two lifestyles, the Olsons, who now live in Karlsruhe, Germany, pointed out that one could never get a full course meal in a European restaurant at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.

They noted that they usually dine at home at 7 or 8 p.m. And that the meal us a leisurely one, which may take 2 hours.

Mrs. Olson is a noted cook in her adopted land. She cooks for and exchanges recipes with a famous French chef, (They live just 20 minutes from the French border) and he has placed at least one of her recipes on his menu. She especially enjoys French and Italian cooking.

The Olsons entertain frequently , two to four nights, for anywhere from two to 30 guests. Mrs. Olson uses candles and flowers in abundance when she entertains, something, she notes, that not many Americans do.

They do a lot of traveling on weekends. And Mr. Olson, on his frequent business trips, does most of the shopping for Joan’s clothes. Her dresses come from England, shoes from Switzerland, lingerie from France.

The Olson’s seven-year-old daughter, Circe was born in France. At her tender age, she is already an accomplished artist and has customers waiting for her oil paintings of villages and landscapes. She speaks fluent German.

Olson served with the U.S. Air Force previously as a teacher and principal of Air Force schools overseas. Both he and Mrs. Olson taught in Turkey; he American children, she Turkish girls. They have also taught in England and France.

All in all, Joan has visited 30 countries, Allen, 40.

For the past two years, Olson has served as the president of the European chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, American honorary fraternity, and through his efforts, it was made possible for European educators to join the fraternal organizations.

Commenting on the American overseas school system, Olson noted that it has one of the most intensive language programs of any U.S. School program. He added that, “teachers and students have time to develop useful learning experiences together.”

“We have had,” Olson continued, “an opportunity to conduct pilot programs in nearly every discipline with great success in elementary math, reading and special education.”

He added that they have high school cinematography courses and a program of individualized instruction and team teaching that holds great promise for the adoption by American-based school systems.

This is the first trip back to the states for Joan in three years. Her husband comes back at least once a year on a business trip. They spent one week visiting with Mrs. Farley in Portage. During their visit in the U.S., they have driven across the United States.


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