Local author’s new book details finding hope, joy, place

Signing set for Aug. 11 at Hip to the Groove Boutique

Cynthia Olsen

Author Cynthia Olsen will be signing copies of her newly published book, “Home for Friendless Children,” Aug. 11 from noon to 3 pm at Hip to the Groove Boutique.

Her 218-page book is the true story of her husband, Rob, and how he became successful despite tremendous adversity, including living in the Reading, Penn. orphanage, Home for Friendless Children. Olsen, an interior designer who has a flair for writing, has been her husband’s only confidant. She listened, took notes, and recorded his story.

When he and his four siblings were very young, they and their alcoholic mother were abandoned on top of a Pennsylvania mountain by their father.  “Rob recalls walking with his mother and brothers and sisters 16 miles down the mountain after they were evicted from their cabin.” When one of his brothers attempted to kill their mother by hitting her over the head with a baseball bat family services stepped in. The then 10-year-old Rob Olsen was taken to the orphanage with the unfortunate name.

After spending five years in the orphanage, he was the only child from his family of five to graduate from high school. “Both of Rob’s brothers have served prison sentences. His oldest sister, who is mentally challenged, was unfortunately placed in a home for retarded adults and remained there until Rob was able to find her. She now lives near us in a lovely group home. He also finally tracked down his other sister who lives in Nashville and does see her from time to time,” Mrs. Olsen reported.

When he left the orphanage, Olsen worked two to three jobs to support himself and became a skilled machinist. One of his bosses realized Olsen’s potential and encouraged him to go on to college, an opportunity he embraced. Olsen was accepted at The Ohio State University where he worked at least three or four jobs while he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He has worked in that field ever since.

“I was the only person with whom Rob shared his life’s struggles,” Mrs. Olsen recounted. “None of his co-workers or friends knew anything about his early life adversities. I so wanted to tell all about what he has overcome and what he has accomplished. Rob’s history is as amazing, as is he. We have eight grandchildren and I want them all to know their ‘Papa’s’ history,” she added.

“It has taken Rob all of these years to let his real story be told.  Rob is getting ready to retire from his long career and said I could publish this book He is now comfortable with other people knowing about his past,” Mrs. Olsen noted. “He wants to let others who are struggling know that no matter what, there is beauty in life, and to never, ever give up.”

“Home for Friendless Children”  is available on Amazon.com, and at  Hip to the Groove Boutique.

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