My Grandma

Esther Larson

by

Abigail Larson

 

6th Grade 1996, Tri-County School, Karlstad,Minnesota

 

Esther Phyllis Eirckson was born to Erick and Freda Eirckson,the fourth and last child of the family. She had two older sisters andone older brother. When she was very young, Esther was called Phyllis andgoes by that name today. The Eircksons lived across the road from the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was heated by a wood stove, so it was sometimes very cold.

As far as games played during recess, they played softball,baseball, tag, and hide-and-seek. The school teacher often stayed with,and ate with the Eircksons. Phyllis started first grade when she was 5years old and went to a country school for seven years. After that, shewent to Karlstad and finished school there. Her favorite subject was mathematics. For fun, she played with friends and cousins. She was a girl scout whenshe was eleven or twelve.

In 1949, Phyllis Erickson and Wally Larson were marriedat Bethal Lutheran Church in Karlstad, Minnesota. They had three children. The children were very young (far from being in school), Wally got a jobabout sixty miles from the Karlstad, Strandquist area. Wally got a job ina timber woods with only pine and spruce trees. Phyllis remembers livingin a trailer house out by these woods. When the men cut down the trees,the deer would be at the other end eating the tops! It was very prettythen when it snowed. There was almost never wind and the snowflakes werehuge, she recalls. They stayed there three years and only in the winter. Phyllis loved how peaceful and soothing it was when it snowed.

The next three years Wally had a summer job down south. He worked for a combine crew. Phyllis and Wally lived in another trailerhouse, but only for the summer. Phyllis remembers cooking all of the mealsfor the men who worked for the crew (there were about 12 of them, but shewas the only cook!). Most of the time the kids were the only kids at thecamp. The men would eat breakfast and supper at the trailer house, butPhyllis and the kids had to take food out to the men at lunch. Phyllishad to go to the store every day because the little trailer house couldn'tstore enough food for more than 3 meals a day. She did all of the laundryevery 3 or 4 days. It was always hot and dusty, says Phyllis, and the rainstorms were bad. It was always a treat to come home and only have to dolaundry and cooking for 5 instead of 12! We started in Texas and workedour way north through the summer. We left home around the 15th of May andreturned around August 1st. The people down south thought we, the peoplefrom the north, talked fast. When we were down south, all of the kids wouldpick up southern accents! The kids got to see a lot of rodeos, says Phyllis.

Phyllis believes all of the traveling was very educationalfor the children. She now like to travel herself and has been been to manystates. She has lived in the same house from when she was married, althoughshe has remodeled it many times. After working in different states forthree years, she has worked for Land-O-Lakes for twenty years and Digi-Keyfor three years. She is now retired and enjoys painting and having hergrandchildren over.njoys painting and having hergrandchildren over.