Dale Andersen

Dale Andersen

My people were Danish farmers in California’s Central Valley. Vineyards. Family farms. Grapes of Wrath and all that. Where I grew up, there were a lot of Danes. Huge amount of Danes. Whole gaggle of Danes. And---trust me, this is going somewhere---in our family, there was always the story of Papa. Papa, Hans Peter Andersen, was my grandfather. He died at age 92. Blind for half his life. Came to America at age...
My people were Danish farmers in California’s Central Valley. Vineyards. Family farms. Grapes of Wrath and all that. Where I grew up, there were a lot of Danes. Huge amount of Danes. Whole gaggle of Danes. And---trust me, this is going somewhere---in our family, there was always the story of Papa. Papa, Hans Peter Andersen, was my grandfather. He died at age 92. Blind for half his life. Came to America at age 17. Ellis Island, then on to Wisconsin, North Dakota and California. Bear in mind Papa was an orphan. Orphan in the nineteenth century was a euphemism for born out of wedlock. And that was true of Papa. But Papa was a very special orphan. About as special as you can get. For the family oral history has it that Papa’s father was none other than the great Hans Christian himself. The mother, a lady of the Portuguese persuasion. Probably a groupie. Hans Christian Andersen was, in his day, famous for his fairy tales, novels and travelogues. And he certainly did travel to Portugal and publish an account of his stay there. Alas, nothing about making the two-backed beastie with the fair Teresa…or was it Carmen…Rossetta maybe? Ah well. As the Johnny Cash song has it, “I’ll Never Forget What’s Her Name.” I went to Cal State - Fresno. Then a year at UCLA and another at the University of San Diego. Served my country in the Coast Guard (just like Alex Haley) and the Peace Corps (just like Jimmy Carter’s Mum, Miss Lillian). In the late 70’s, I tried my hand at lending. Then I signed on as a federal bureaucrat. I learned to say (with a straight face), “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Picture that. The former Pakaporn Suvansarang is my spouse of thirty-nine years. We have one son, Thomas Russell, age 32. I have a radio quality voice and I put it to good use, recording books on tape for the blind and dyslexic. I like the New York Times, Mexican beer and songs about star-crossed lovers. And that’s all I’m gonna tell you.