Beda Larson Story
The following narrative is transcribed from a copy of a handwritten interview found in a file of Maine’s Swedish Colony. There is no identification given, but from piecing together information reveals that the speaker is Beda C. Larson (May 10, 1910-December 29, 1994.
My Interview with Kristi
(Lot No. 9, Dad’s)
This is June 13, 1989 and I’ve been asked to talk about the past. My parents were Andrew and Johanna Landin Larson. I grew up with four sisters and a brother, Dora, Ellen, Annie, Mabel and Arthur. We lived in Connor on a farm next to the New Sweden town line so we went to school in New Sweden until I was in the fourth grade when Mabel, Arthur and I had to be transferred to the Connor school because the town of C. couldn’t pay tuition.
My father was born in Ramsburg, Sweden and came to America in 1880. His family remained in Sweden, except for one brother, Carl Eric Larson who came over later. My mother was a housewife and helped out with chores and gardening. My father was a carpenter, mason, farmer, and worked in sawmills in the winter, where he was foreman in one of them. One sawmill was located in Jempland which burned down, then he worked in Iverson’s mill on the East road and also Hedman’s mill by the Madawaska river near home. He built our home in 1880’s which consisted of 3 bedrooms, kitchen, pantry, and living room. The house burned down 1960’s. Also helped with smoking beef and pork in our smoke house for winter, canning veg. berries.
My mother’s parents were Bengt and Barbara Johnson Landin. They came from Sweden, Europe in the year 1871 from Skane. They had seven children, Alma, Swante, my mother, Carl, Ida, Hjalmar and Olive.
My childhood was a happy one. We stayed at home most of the time but there was always something going on such as birthday parties, the neighbor kids coming to play, swimming in the river in the summertime, fishing in the brook, and hanging May baskets in the spring, picking May flowers. We did a lot of walking, to the store and Post Office, once a week to Sunday school, Grade school, Midsummer festival and to Confirmation classes which was at the Parsonage. There was no telephone, electricity, or a car but we got along beautifully (?). I can remember riding with my mother to the store for groceries with horse and buggy, she would stop along the way to say hello to her lady friends, always bringing a lb. of fresh butter and a jar of buttermilk, or eggs or cookies and to chat over a cup of coffee once in a while when there was time. That’s how they got the news if there was any.
I can remember our close neighbors very well. There was Mrs. Olson, her girls Anna, Signe, Lillie and Vera, Mr and Mrs. Lindgren, Robert and sister Helen, Martin and Martha Osell, their daughters Eva and Viola, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Nelson, can’t remember the older children but Hilma Hede was a very good friend of my sisters and I always tagged along. Then there was the Martin Larson, the Nygrens and Osells, Adlers and Landfors. The ladies would come for a visit real often, have a cup of coffee and visit for a while. Most always they had bread dough raising at home so their visit wasn’t too long. Those were the good old days. I used to deliver a quart of milk every day to the starch factory which was located by the river at the end of our farm. There was a boarding house there for the workers. They made starch from the potatoes the farmers hauled in. Had to walk thru our pasture and the woods as a short cut.
I was happily married later on to Chester Spooner, a wonderful man. We farmed for many years, lived on the lower Madawaska Road then five years in Perham, then back to my present home in New Sweden where I’ve lived for 40 years. We were blessed with four children, one son, Warren died at age 13 in a boating accident with his grandfather Spooner and 3 cousins. Our other three live close by, Berniece, Wendell, and Lois. All married with families whom I enjoy and love very much. My husband, my parents, sisters and brother have all passed away now so I’m the last one of the Larson family left with good memories of the past and now I can’t think of anything else to say.