Olive Clayson

Jan 01, 2018

Can You Find Love and Friendship Online?

Articles About Our Friend Olive…

In the late 1990s, a diagnosis of mastocytosis left most with fear of the true unknown.  My family, like many others, didn’t have a personal computer in our home.  Computers were for work.  I had been unable to work for some time, but my old boss had become my close friend.  He searched for any answers for me and showed up one day with boxes filled to the brim with computer paper – you know the type with the holes on the sides to allow its passage through the printer, and each page needed to be torn to separate.  He had found The Mastocytosis Society and had printed up the entire archives of every email sent to date on the TMS “ListServe.”  I poured over every detail.  Here were the original founding members of TMS!!!  Questions were asked, and the same names continued to come up over and over, and one member stood out to me.  She was extremely knowledgeable, accessible, and signed her name, “Love, Olive.”

I became a member of TMS and signed onto the email list and chat line.  Olive was one of the first members to answer my questions.  The only online medical journal at the time was an autopsy; however, Olive had learned how to access and amass an arsenal of articles and had them filed by involvement.  If a patient or physician needed something on eyes and mast cells, she would copy the article for you, and it would arrive in the mail – there was no such thing as a PDF scan!  She shared with me how to research, order, and pick the articles apart and understand what I was reading.  As time went on, we reviewed articles immediately upon any release.  When Olive became the Chair of TMS, I was given the honor of guest-editor for The Mastocytosis Chronicles, and we began to work even closer together.

Olive was more than a resource and a name in type, she was my friend.  She shared stories of her love and pride for her family having been married to the love of her life, Snick (Ralph), since Valentine’s Day in 1957 and having 5 wonderful children and numerous grandchildren.  She shared experiences that she had being a foster parent to over 60 children and funny antics of her critters.  Olive was a Mormon, and I am a heathen.  Olive never judged me; rather, it gave us shock factor and more reasons for laughter.  We called each other just to share our most recent comedic antics!  We also cried together….I loved Olive.

On September 15, 2017, Olive joined her husband, whom she missed dearly since his passing.  I never had the opportunity to meet Olive in person, but, yes, I found love online.

~ Michele Lamanna

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A  TMS  Hero…

With the passing of Olive, I was asked to write something about her.  I really had to stop and think of how I could do that.

Olive was a special person to many, not only as a source of information regarding Mastocytosis, but a friend to many of us who struggled each day with this disease.

I first met Olive in 1984, and we have been friends since that time—over 33 years. We met in the Mastocytosis online chat room.  You could log into the room, and there was always someone to lift your spirits or just tell you that you were not alone. I miss that.

We talked on the phone a lot, and emails flew between us several times a week.  We supported each other…we laughed together…and we cried together, and most of all, we hated Mastocytosis together.  If I was ill, she was on her vast data base of Masto to see if she had information to help.

Our last project together started as a joke.  Olive sent me a color book for my 83rd birthday as I had been very stressed.  She had read that it was good for stress, and it worked.  It was the start of “Pencil Paintings” and a series of Flower Missions pictures that I color and send to people who just need to know someone cares. Thank you for that Olive.

Thank you Olive for being my friend…I will miss you…and I cried.

~ Joyce “Redbird” McEntire