Lois Larson, age 95, is taking a “leave of absence” from her volunteer work at the Bingham Memorial Hospital Gift Shop. She has worked there for 17 years.
“It’s nice to work in the gift shop,” Larson said. “You get to visit with people. They tell you about their visit in the hospital.”
“I’m still available when needed,” she added.
Her decision to take a leave of absence is because of a bad knee.
Larson lives in Firth. Family members drive her to Blackfoot for her shift.
“I’m thankful for what I’ve got; I’m thankful for my family and that I can take care of myself,” she said.
“I never thought I was going to be an old woman,” Larson said. “There’s no need thinking about what you can’t change.
“Not a lot of people are left that I knew,” she said. ““I think I miss my mother the most. We were more like best friends rather than mother and daughter.
“She was a fabulous woman—my mother.”
Her mother, Alice McBride Catron, died when she was 99 1/2.
“You need to pretty well take things as they come,” said Larson. “Meet new friends and go with the flow.
“I’m content with my world,” she said. “I keep busy; I don’t do more than I have to.”
She plays the organ, works crossword puzzles and does church work.
She likes to collect coins and stamps.
She and her husband, Wayland, were married over 65 years. He died in 1998.
The two of them had Larson’s Trading Post in Firth.
“We did lots of trading with Indian stuff,” she said. “We sold antiques, new and used clothing and had milk and bread for sale.”
The business was sold to build the post office in Firth.
“We traveled to all 50 states,” she said. “My husband was an historian.
“He would find a reference to an overlooked cemetery and off we would go to find it,” Larson said. “I have a lot of good memories.”
Larson has four children—Carolyn, John, Lael and Winn--plus 19 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.
“I'm busy just keeping up with my family of almost 100,” Larson said.
Her secret to longevity is “eat lots of chocolate.”
“We ate healthy when we were raising our kids,” she said. “We had a cow and grew vegetables.
“When I was growing up, we only went to the store for flour and then used the flour sack to make a dress.
As an aside, she added, “I love indoor plumbing.
“Before indoor plumbing, we would warm water to bath the kids once each week,” Larson said. “We didn’t have deodorant. I wonder how we stood one another.”
“Having a washer and dryer is pretty nice, too,” she said.
Her son, Winn, who lives next door to her, visits her each evening.
Her grandson, Jason, comes each Saturday and hauls up or puts away decorations, as needed.
“I’m lucky I have my family around,” said Larson.