There are many in our community who follow their daily routine without anyone batting an eye: the people you see at the grocery store or those walking down the street. But we rarely stop and ask ourselves, “What is their story?” I got the opportunity to learn the story of a citizen of our community and my neighbor, Rick Erickson.
Rick was born on February 17, 1953. He grew up with three siblings: a brother and two sisters. He had told me that he had a great relationship with them, adding that “We all got along well, as well as you could with a sibling.” Rick graduated from Lyons High School in 1971. After he graduated, Rick moved to Idaho for five years to work on different construction projects. He talked about camping in the mountains and just having fun weekends. After Idaho, Rick moved back to Lyons and lived on a farm just outside of the town.
Even though I had been his neighbor my entire life, there were still many things I didn’t know about him. When I asked him when he married his wife, he responded with, “I wondered if you wanted to know about the first one or the second one.” Rick was married twice in his lifetime. He married his first wife, Gwen Easton, in 1973. They were married for five years and had a divorce. He later married the recently divorced Starla Carpenter in 1983. He had no kids with Gwen, but he inherited two from Starla and had a third later in life.
Rick has been living on the same farm near Lyons since 1979 and has enjoyed being a part of the community. I had asked him what he thought was the biggest change in the community, and he discussed the businesses leaving and how he was saddened by the fewer number of businesses.
One of the most memorable moments for him was witnessing the assassination of President John F. Kennedy while he was at school. When I asked how he felt, he responded, “Kind of just, empty. How could such a thing happen?”
Rick’s most exciting time of his life was getting to see his grandchildren grow up and to be involved in their lives. He regrets not spending as much time with his children. He told me that he had focused too much on work to enjoy the time he had with his kids.
Nowadays, Rick can be seen either at his home or at his workshop, where he enjoys tinkering and building new machines. The one piece of advice Rick gave me was, “Listen to what others have to say and take it all in.” Rick Erickson believes that he has lived a great life, and after interviewing him, I couldn’t agree more. He has a healthy marriage and has good relations with all of his kids. Rick is just one of many great seniors in our great community, and we are here to make sure their stories are heard.