Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Friday, February 24, 2012

THE OSA CLUB ~~~~ BY LELAND STANSFIED



It was called the O. S. A. Club; it's meaning was "Our Social Afternoon".  This was an early day women's club, organized back in the eighteen hundreds.  The purpose was to help alleviate the everyday drudgery and backbreaking jobs that came to every early day pioneer woman.

My Danish grandmother was just such a woman, but she was also determined to overcome most of the obstacles that confronted her, so with the help of three other women, she founded just such a club.  It was organized in such a way to give its members something to do besides the chores of the everyday hard life they had to endure.

A few days later, they held a meeting with the hep of more people, and it was not long until they had the club going with duly elected officers.  My grandmother was sworn in as the first president.  They decided to meet on the first Tuesday of each month thereafter.

My grandmother came from Copenhagen, Denmark.  Her maiden name was Sophia  Nielsen, but later it was Mrs. John Stansfield.  However, she loved to be called by her first name.  This name, Sophia, suited her, and everyone else.  In due time, she relinquished the position of president to another, and was glad to do so.  She was remembered as the club's first president for a long time afterwards and was loved just as much as remembered.

I do not remember much about my grandmother, but my mother told me that she made quite a fuss over me when I was small and game me some little gifts from time to time.  I do remember one time long ago when she gave me a little tin hatchet.  I kept it and treasured it for a long time.  However, as time marches on, in the passing years the hatchet was lost.  I do not remember what became of it.

I was then seven years old, and was becoming quite perceptive of what was going on around me, especially when it was my mother's turn to entertain the club.  That only happened about once a year and so quite a great deal of planning and preparation was done in order for it to be a success.  I knew that tables and chairs would have to b e set up and that I could help to do that.  I was so glad to do it.

At last, all the club members arrived and the meeting began.  The minutes were read and after all the business was taken care of, the chattering away began.  They talked of this and that while stitching, doing embroidery work, or some played cards, all just forgetting the cares of the workaday world.  They even did a little gossiping while they were gathered together.

All of this was very exciting to me and from time to time, I peeked from behind the folding doors which separated the dining room from the parlor.  I really tried to hear what was said and if possible to catch some of the gossip going on.  I was not, however, able to catch very much of what was said because the women knew I was trying to listen to what was being said.  They were just as careful in not saying too much.  I did hear a remark made by someone and it was said quite loudly for my benefit:  "Little pigs often have big ears."  To say the least, I was really embarrassed.  Being just a child though, I soon forgot the incident and turned to other childish things.

This is just another page of my life and one that I shall cherish always.


I could not find a photo of the O.S.A. Club or of Sophia Nielsen Stansfield .  But here is a photo of the Sunshine Club and one of  the "Our Night Out Girls".  


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"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."



~Alex Haley




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