Robert Larsen, Karen Larsen, and Robert Larsen

Recorded June 20, 2008 Archived June 20, 2008 38:49 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBY004109


Robert (Bob) Larsen talks with his son Robert Larsen II and daughter Karen Larsen about growing up in Rawlins, his first wife Georgia and his second wife Patricia, and his mother, who lived to be 103 years old.

Subject Log / Time Code

The day Bob’s mother turned 100, she stopped riding her stationary bike
Bob remembers cutting ice from the pond in the wintertime
Bob was in the Army specialized Training Program at Stanford
After Bob was married to Georgia, they moved to a ranch and grew hay and oats on the ranch
Bob raised his children for the most part in North Africa
Bob sings an old song his mother used to sing


  • Robert Larsen
  • Karen Larsen
  • Robert Larsen


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00:02 Hi, my name is Karen Larson.

00:06 My age is 50.

00:10 555 today's date is the 20th of June 2008. We are at in Laramie, Wyoming and I am here with my father Bob Larson.

00:29 My name is Robert Larson II.

00:33 And I'm 59 years old.

00:37 Today is also June 20th.

00:40 Black 2008

00:43 In Laramie, Wyoming and we're here with our father.

00:54 My name is Bob Larson, and I'm 90 years old.

01:00 Today's date is June 20th. 08.

01:05 Where in Laramie Wyoming and and

01:10 I'm I'm not father of these two people.

01:23 Okay. So how many other children did we not bring today?

01:35 You tell him? Okay. Well we have has Robert and I are sister and brother and Christy is the his oldest daughter and then Robert is next and then I'm next and then we have an who's the youngest I won't call her the baby, but that's what she is and we're here today just to talk to dad cuz he has such great stories and there's just he's a special guy.

02:12 And we just wanted to be on with it. I have his wisdom didn't talk to him. So but and couldn't be here today cuz she's working Christy couldn't be here because she runs a bakery in Rawlins.

02:28 So she finally got her Bakery hun dad.

02:32 I think they got it paid for.

02:38 They need a new mixer song.

02:42 You're trying to get that from

02:45 Tell me something that she she started. She started the bakery. I mean her dream of a bakery came from your mother.

02:56 No, I'm probably let your mother is tell us about your mom and grown up in Rawlins.

03:08 Well, I am.

03:12 Was born in 18

03:15 And my dad was overseas.

03:19 And his job over there was running a sawmill because he had that experience and

03:31 He came home on my first birthday.

03:36 And mother

03:38 Stop the train down in about 40 miles from Rawlins and, it so that she could be the first one.

03:49 Honor and that was he was in World War 1, correct?

03:57 And don't

03:59 He came home and there was a whole bunch of people.

04:02 Pair to meet him in

04:07 Grandpa Larson's wife was real upset with mother because she

04:15 Got to see her son first.

04:21 They got home they had a lot of fun.

04:26 So you were born while he was overseas at the war that must have been.

04:34 You must have been there a long time then why didn't your mother get a letter from the government saying that have been killed over there? Yeah Telegram and she was let everybody in Rawlins was upsetting and they got another telegram that said everything was all right, so

04:58 Grandma grandma didn't believe that he was dead. Is that right?

05:09 So you were the first of many children that your mother and father had how many kids were there?

05:21 I can't tell you right now that I remember 7 a.m.

05:30 How many are left I was 5 your mother Grandma who is Martha Larson Martha Hanson, she

05:47 Died when she was 103 she was still living in her house still getting up every day and getting dressed. She used to ride the bike 3 hours 3 miles every morning her little stationary bike and the day she turned a hundred. She said that's enough and so she quit riding the stationary.

06:19 But all her kids were living when she died at a hundred and three.

06:24 Which is pretty amazing thing.

06:29 I remember when I

06:33 Mother turned

06:35 90 I think or something.

06:39 And

06:42 When were birthdays I came up and said?

06:49 How do you

06:50 Like to have a son that 60 years old, so I was a while ago.

07:01 Dora grown up and Rollins like

07:05 I don't remember that's fine you.

07:15 Well, I went to school here. Then I was in the band. What did you play?

07:23 I started out by playing the

07:27 A tuba that was a violin.

07:34 And then there are teacher over Peterson needed a tuba player. So I

07:42 I learned to play that and then he won the baritone player. And so I learned to play that I just was chilling in on anything. He wanted he was a great pianist.

07:59 Are we went to school where you're working now in my office?

08:07 Set alarm you guys had a from the stories. I've heard you all had a good time with the seven. I'm not only the seven kids, but your mother's house was the place where everyone came and used to hold used to go down to Grandpa's house. We went down to Johnny's House.

08:30 And

08:32 But the

08:37 At first we were living right next to the railroad tracks down on 1st Street.

08:43 And

08:45 Henry

08:48 I moved up to date Street.

08:53 Who am I?

08:57 Sister was born and

09:01 That was a big house.

09:04 Great big.

09:06 Your mother did a lot of entertaining a lot of

09:13 Oh, yeah, he was a contractor and had a lumber hardware store and lumber yard.

09:24 What are you remember about that Robert? Well, I wasn't around but stories I've heard is that the stairs was unfinished and every time he got his wife pregnant, he build another room.

09:44 One room that I moved into and then the other one the opposite was one that the girls had and then all of the boys had a big bedroom upstairs, so

10:02 We had a furnace up there. We had colon wood furnace.

10:11 And then you went to the ranch in the summer.

10:17 Curry House every time. Yeah, I went.

10:21 The ranch when I was

10:26 2 years old and we had to travel out to the ranch and and

10:36 We went in the wagon and had to take 2 days to get out. There was 45 miles out there. Say trick River.

10:53 Panda

10:56 And started out the next day and finally made the ranch. We first moved out there way. They told me that we had that we had to take a call. So we have to milk and all the supplies we needed for 3 or 4 months and

11:16 Lots of dried fruit cuz they couldn't have fresh fruit in those Daisy.

11:23 And

11:26 So we just moved out there and

11:30 Lifted

11:35 In one of the old prospector's cabinets

11:40 And the result

11:43 There's a lot of Prospect and go around and we knew all that gold prospectors and Grandpa.

11:52 Fennimore time

11:56 Dexterville was out there.

11:59 And it's still I mean, there's remnants of the

12:05 Dexter out there

12:09 It was it was going when you were first out there.

12:13 One of the worst people there now course, I don't remember if I was too young.

12:29 And of course we had to get her well water from a pump carried in the house and and carry all the slop out all that kind of stuff soon.

12:44 Add to milk to call ho soon. They had to milk the cows and I didn't but

12:52 Get to know your dad when he milked cows squirt you with the milk.

13:02 And I find it.

13:04 When I grew up I learned.

13:06 Miranda milk, we had a separator so we could separate the milk and cream.

13:17 And

13:20 Do you donate at 1 a.m.

13:25 Sing We had for a cooler was a

13:28 Before before

13:37 For horror

13:44 Shells and it was covered with burlap and a BIG running water down over the Burlap to keep that milk. Cool. Well didn't you guys from the bonds?

14:00 In the end the winter time is it summertime they could ice from the pond and

14:08 Brought it up from

14:12 Up to the barn and and put it in the barn with the hay and they had that that is what they had to.

14:25 How later on?

14:30 That was the progress times talk about your

14:39 Grandma and Grandpa eating

14:41 The cream or y'all gay

14:46 Arrieta

14:48 Large

14:53 Pan was about

14:58 12 inches in diameter and 4 inches high that we put milk and

15:05 Isle of Man creamiest coming out on top so it's getting that off.

15:11 And then would leave that milk in cooler and it made yogurt and

15:25 Grandma and Grandpa would get on it was done get on one on each side of the pan and eat it and was so that was a long time before they just different the older stuff.

15:43 That's me.

15:47 Anyway, it was a good time.

15:51 And then

15:53 What did you do? What did you do at when you graduated from high school?

16:08 Graduated in Rawlins right to know

16:17 After I graduated from

16:19 High School I hang out

16:26 Went down to the University of Wyoming.

16:31 And I eventually got my degree in civil engineering.

16:39 And not same time as I got my degree. So I also

16:50 Know that I did not get my degree at trucks right then so.

17:00 I want

17:03 I got into the

17:09 Pierre Herme

17:12 And

17:16 What does overseas do France and

17:22 We followed patent to that Brian and who was it? That was the last time he

17:33 Did anything.

17:36 Of course, I went to that saw was bombed bombed-out and Daniel Boone necklace.

17:51 Hello came back home and I think

17:57 And didn't go to San Stanford for the Army or something when you went to school in California to do with your army STP.

18:14 Army specialist training for okay

18:18 And

18:22 How do I get in there? What I don't remember much about that, but I remember Stanford because

18:34 Harvey

18:40 Sitting in the library studying

18:45 And I could feel a trimmer.

18:48 And the lights were shaking in the reserve earthquake. It's a slight wind so.

19:00 Did I went from Stanford?

19:05 Down them down to

19:11 Who took the train down to?

19:18 Complaints Downing

19:21 This Houston.

19:23 And

19:26 I had to learn to type in high school and

19:30 I was typing

19:33 A letter away and first sergeant came along Tommy typing. He says you're my clerk. So I was for the

19:47 14th century infantry when I went over there and that's what I stayed at. I didn't really get into the action except. I just walked all the way across Europe CD you got injured though.

20:04 All I got injured. Yes.

20:08 But we had to start a little.

20:13 Engine Small Engine

20:19 It was a real product to make electricity and I hurt my elbow, but I always closed but I never got never got hurt. So.

20:34 I never said goodbye. I still.

20:38 Car Spa North Miami

20:40 Captain

20:42 And

20:45 There's only

20:47 34 men left out of the 14th Infantry

20:52 There was a hundred.

20:55 Nearly 200 people and that's all.

20:58 Who were Diane off?

21:05 Why you came back from the war and how did we come about?

21:18 Well, we got her mother had a ranch out south of Rawlins that grandpa had and I think I was talked about that before.

21:37 Peter and I decided that we would

21:43 Want to go out to the ranch and make a goal.

21:48 And bought a tractor in a trailer

21:52 And took off road Ranch.

21:58 And we went out there and

22:03 Into the house

22:10 Started hanging

22:13 And

22:21 Who is it was during that time that.

22:28 Peter and I decided we needed some help around there. So he was going with that one girl named Ella.

22:38 And

22:41 The two of them got married and she came out to the ranch and

22:51 I'm going to marry, Georgia and

22:54 I took her out to the ranch to so.

23:02 Now why these girls ever put up with me?

23:09 We were it was tough out there for him and

23:14 Hard work and

23:19 And of course I

23:22 I left after about a year and a half or two years.

23:27 Cuz I could see that there wasn't enough money in there and the rat in the small ranch.

23:36 Provide for two families. What was it you were trying to grow?

23:42 Hold that time we were growing hay and oats and and always made it garden and lots of potatoes. It was good. It was good.

23:56 Soil for Potatoes song

24:00 And would take those to Town & tell if you

24:03 Mag 7 song

24:06 But what about your turkeys?

24:12 Well

24:19 I had gone to Laramie to go to school.

24:24 And found out we could get some money.

24:28 From the stage

24:32 To buy some equipment and we only thing we could buy was a bunch of turkeys. So we bought those and made a brewer house and and raise turkeys out at that ranch and that was a stupid thing to do.

24:48 But we did it went right it.

24:53 Hey hun. That time of year when we got snowed in.

24:59 And the neighbors. From down the road why they came up and helped us put your them and we had to take the

25:11 Turkish two bags in a sleigh horse-drawn sled and then meet them down there in Amber.

25:25 Take him to Rawlins soon.

25:29 And when

25:35 I charged if I was pregnant.

25:38 When Georgia was pregnant why we had to go to town and we had to take that.

25:46 One horse, sleigh over the mountain over the snow to bags and

25:54 But she was pregnant with my Christy my first our first daughter.

26:00 I went back down to school I guess.

26:06 And

26:09 So what?

26:12 They put up she put up with me.

26:17 I remember that my sister Kristy when her boys were like two and three and five pieces Robert. How did Mother put up with you? She was a saint.

26:36 Lucy Rojas, what do you think about living 90 years?

26:45 13 more to go if I stay with me about my mother, but had a problem with my back. So now I'm on a with the scooter.

26:59 And

27:02 I got.

27:06 Robert to take care of me

27:10 So I don't get around very good, but I still feel alright night.

27:16 Course, I'm losing my memory as I can remember something but not much.

27:26 Will you tell me something about what you think of it?

27:31 Well, I want I just want to see you. We were very very lucky to have you as our father. Not only do we did we get a whole bunch of aunts and uncles and cousins. But we got you and you had the courage in 1961 to take a job in North Africa and back then I mean, you know we grew up there but that must have been a really big decision and then you went over by yourself and mother had to bring her for little kids to to Africa. It was great. I remember the thing but and then you know when we had such a good experience over there and we do take us to Europe and says staying in hotels you we drive through the countryside and

28:24 Eat everything. We actually got Robert eats good cuz we told him it was a onion ring, but but you just not only did you give us great experiences, and I know you shake your head when you

28:41 When you say it took you to Africa to get you out of Rawlins, and do you all come back but you know, we wouldn't wouldn't have had them opportunities and be the people we are today.

28:57 And I'm just really glad you're still with us. And even though you can't remember anything. There are some things you can't remember your kids can't remember things and people ask me how you are and I said, well he's doing okay and his kids stumble along behind him and you and you've had given us to wonderful Mother's because not only did you Mary our mother and live with her for 25 years, but then you married her best friend and she became our best. Well best friend wicked old stepmother. She used to say that she was wonderful and it's really thank you for all that you've done for us.

29:40 Taking care of us.

29:44 Who is that? It was great. My first wife was.

29:48 The Georgian

29:50 She developed heart heart problems and

29:57 I had to go to California to live for a while.

30:03 And

30:05 You guys have fake went out with me and

30:12 She just couldn't make it through.

30:17 I had to bring her home.

30:20 And then

30:24 Call Patricia and

30:29 I known her men Mad Men.

30:34 In school and she was one of Georgia's best friends my Georgia's my first wife.

30:44 And

30:47 When my Christy was getting married.

30:56 They invited her up and we decided to have a dates and and

31:05 I just developed it was everything was fine.

31:11 We got married.

31:14 And now

31:17 And then she came to live with us, but she didn't have to go out to the ranch. She just had to go overseas first. We went to Algeria.

31:34 And of course she was very likable and like to talk and and could write real. Well, she was a reporter for the Daily Times Daily Boomerang boomerang.

31:51 And she could write and she wrote home later so every month or so and they really liked him. She told what we were doing and all that kind of stuff.

32:06 And even took our stepsister on the Marrakesh Express.

32:16 But I remember Patricia because not only was she mother's best friend, but she was also others bridesmaid and she was my godmother and I remember when I was small she we were looking through pictures and she showed me this one and she said this is your godmother. I looked at it a nice as my godmother.

32:44 The Robert. Do you have anything to say real wonderful that?

32:54 Dad Mom got together had all ice wonderful kids

32:59 Without them I wouldn't be here.

33:09 What are you going to do for the next 13 years?

33:14 Well sit at my desk and

33:26 But there's a lot to my life.

33:30 I was very fortunate and I think our life overseas was a lot of fun. We got to see all kinds of countries and on we got to go with the correct time because after we left it just started going downhill real bad.

33:50 And my mother came over to see his several times.

33:59 She wouldn't she say.

34:02 I better go this time because you know, I'm 70 and may not be around longer and then it was 75, but it was fun to have her over their favorite saying is well, you better do this for me cuz I'm not going to be around that much longer.

34:24 So what would you want to do you want those kids to do with the rest of our lives?

34:30 Too late to get married and have kids George. Does that ever bother you that only one of your children?

34:40 I had a successful marriage.

34:43 And you finally only just got your first great grandson.

34:49 Text Mom to go to work. That's fine with me. You guys are doing fine and

34:57 Christine you know, she had one for each other.

35:03 Keep on doing what you're doing. All right.

35:10 You're going to be busy.

35:13 Didn't care of me. They have taken care of you and the ranch ranch Rollins.

35:25 So, how about do you remember the song about won't you come over to my house or do you remember any songs that used to be used to sing around the campfire? Where is there anything?

35:39 Bonfires

35:45 Well the one that this is Mother song.

35:49 And I

35:51 The song about

35:55 Those kind of like Hope to come over to my house won't you come over and play yours.

36:07 I got some plans.

36:10 I got some placing send plenty of room. I live in the house across the way I'll give you call and play put your hair in a curl won't you come over to my house and play that you love my little girl. Just one of the way my mother while she was a very

36:42 On one of her greatest accomplishments. I think it was that she went to school to Homemakers school in Washington DC and they baked the wedding cake for what was it Grover Cleveland and her class made the wedding cake for maybe I saw it when they were talking about presidential weddings. Your mother was.

37:19 One of nine children, but she was the only one that lived.

37:26 And from the oldest sibling was 4 when she died in that was Karen and that's who I'm named after and so is her mother lost all those babies in so your mother really want to have lots and lots of kids.

37:46 So we got you and we got the oldest to which was good only because you were also the most responsible and when your dad on his Deathbed

37:58 And you

38:00 And you told him you take care of the kids. You've spent your whole life taking care of your brothers and sisters.

38:09 Well, thank you for doing this.

38:15 Have any parting words

38:19 Well

38:21 It's good to have you kids around.

38:24 Even if ya could each other all the time.

38:29 But you seem to get along finally started when we were younger. Thank you. I love you.