New owners of a Minnesota home give former resident a sweet memento from his childhood

Rudy Olson.
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/KARE 11)

When the Hildre family first walked through their new home in Forest Lake, Minnesota, they all noticed the same thing: a closet door with the letter "R" carved into it.

"It was one of the interesting things that caught my eye," Ben Hildre told KARE 11. "What's this door? I was just so curious." The door is in his daughter Haiden's room, and the 7-year-old thought the letter "might be for rainbows," she said. It turns out, the "R" was in honor of another young resident — Rudy Olson, now 77, who lived in the home when he was a child.

In September, Olson and his wife walked by the house and saw the new owners outside. He asked if the door with an "R" on it was still inside, and explained that when he was a toddler, his parents carved the "R" at eye level so they could check in at night without waking him up. The Hildres told Olson that his old bedroom had been converted into the closet that is now in Haiden's room, and he was delighted to learn that it was still there.

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Seeing how much the door meant to Olson, Ben Hildre decided they should take it off its hinges and give it to him as a gift. Olson was touched, and said he plans to hang it in his home, adding a plaque to it in honor of the Hildre family. "I say it's the greatest gift," Olson told KARE 11. "And we need that in today's world, people caring about other people." Ben Hildre is now working on a new closet door for his daughter, and she has already requested he put an "H" on it. Catherine Garcia

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.