Bob Carlson Shares Wisdom of 90 Years

Bob Carlson Celebrates 90 Years

Today I introduce you to my good friend Bob. At ninety years old he is active, travels, owns an iPad, Kindle and is a genius with his camera. Did I mention he is fun, happy and interesting. His daughter, Linda is my good friend as well. She introduced me to Bob!

The Bold Life:
How many years were you married and what was the secret of staying together?
I was married for 67 years.  My friends accused me of robbing the cradle, but at the end of those years they accused her of robbing the cradle – story about that later.  It will amuse you!

Olga Louise (Tiny) McKnight, was new to my home town of Ft. Dodge, IA, when I first met her in 1941 at her place of business.  I immediately saw a petite, sweet, pleasant, friendly, and cute girl.  In short time I bought two tickets to an exhibition  pro baseball game, dedicating a new high school stadium, and asked her if she would like to go.  She accepted, and the rest is history.

When you first meet someone you have certain expectations and opinions.  In our case we must have both been satisfied.  If not, you either change, adjust, live with, or eventually go your separate ways.  

We did not, and after about one year of dating she asked me if I would like to go down and meet her brother and family in her home town of Wisner, LA – yes she was a Southern Gal.  While there ( I guess they accepted me) we tied the knot before returning to Iowa.  

Four months later I was drafted (WWII ), and home was wherever they sent me – State-side, because of eyesight.  Proved to be a rewarding 3 ½ years, because all the friends we met and socialized with ‘were in the same boat’…

Throughout those 67 years it was ‘live for the other one’, and not all thoughts of yourself.   We never had great wealth, but always saved and did what we both wanted to do and enjoy, and could afford.
The Bold Life:
You have seen a lot of changes in the world in your life time, do you have any advice for us?  

Depends on what ‘WORLD’ you are looking at – your private little world, or what ‘EVERYONE’ else is doing.  I think the most important thing in this world today is EDUCATION, whether it be self, school, association, or wherever you can find it.  

Know the difference between RIGHT and WRONG,  and live a clean, healthy,  satisfying life.  Many changes have been made in every aspect of life, so make your choices, and don’t try to follow them all. THEY say GIVING is more satisfying than TAKING – I’ll go along with that.  

The Bold Life:
How does it feel to be 90 years old and how could we improve the lives of older adults?

Some might say it’s just a statistic.  You do slow down and wear out.  So, don’t expect older people to do what they have always done, but on the other hand, don’t ‘ baby’ them to the extent you make them feel completely helpless.  

Main thing I believe is to make sure they aren’t about to injure themselves – where they may not be as alert to danger as they once were.  I’ve enjoyed pretty good health, so can’t speak for those who have health problems related to old age.  Ask me again in 10 years.

The Bold Life:
What has brought you the most joy in your life?

Just living it with an exceptional choice of  soul mate for a long, what I consider a longer than average life.
Do I wish it could have been longer?  Yes,  but I cannot complain about it.  Can only live with the memories and wonderful times, and not dwell on the negative.
The Bold Life:
I don’t know anyone your age that keeps up with technology the way you do.  What keeps you going?  Tell us why you like your new iPad.  

Well, back when computers were comparatively new, I said I didn’t need one to balance my checkbook. Then as they added software and became quite versatile, I decided to buy one.  At the price then, I said I couldn’t justify paying that much without getting my moneys worth out of it.  

So, it was back to 101, books, help from friends, and a lot of trial and error.  Cell phones were next – analog – and could probably get along with one now.  Now I get text messages, so have to reply – 101 again.  Don’t need a camera – have enough of those.  

Photography?  Coach in Jr. High School (1935), organized a camera club.  Made our own pin-hole camera, and how to develop and print negatives.  I was off and running.  Kindle?  I like to read 2 or 3 books at the same time – Kindle made sense!

You asked about iPad, well, must be a 90’s perk and birthday gift.  Someone said it’s pay-back time. Haven’t done  anything to get paid back for, so must relate to GIVE is more rewarding.
When it comes to e-mailing photographs, and the pictures are in my iPad, you just click on one, window comes down, click on 'e-mail', and it immediately goes to a blank e-mail window.  
Lot easier than copy & paste, or send attachment, and having to then look for the picture.  I need to 101 'formats', and 'layers'.  
Dave's dad taught graphic arts, but told me he was not versed in 'layers'.  Also need help with Photoshop Elements 7.  I have Elements 3, but can't use 7.  I do most of my editing in Picasa – a free software, and easy to use.  Does everything I want it to do.  Try it!

The Bold Life:
Any advice for those who fear aging?  

What’s there to  fear?  If you are doing all the right things, and take it ONE DAY AT A TIME, then we must let THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY!  Leave a good legacy and the legacy will take care of  you.

Education, family, friends, good habits, right thoughts – the rest is up to God.  I had to reach 90, and without my sweetheart, to realize if tomorrow never comes,  what’s there to worry about.  I am now asking questions and researching HEAVEN.  That is my question to you!  

Thanks for the opportunity to vent my ideas and feelings. I do so with tears in my eyes. If my thoughts and ideas can help anyone, it will make my day, like taking a photograph now that I can give to someone to enjoy. Simple, but rewarding! maybe that's the answer to all your questions, Tess. JUST KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Bob and I would love it if you left a birthday wish or comment in the space below!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tess November 15, 2010, 9:14 am

    Thanks so much for being my friend and guest today. I love spending time with you and hope to see you back in Michigan after the new year. Maybe we can get hubs to make a house call to get those taxes in order! Tess xoxo

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:07 pm

      Sounds good to me! Can’t wait!


  • Samantha November 15, 2010, 10:53 am

    Bob, I love this saying:

    Leave a good legacy and the legacy will take care of you.

    Now THAT’s something to live by! Thanks for sharing with us… I will forward this on to my 80-something grandfather.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:11 pm

      Hello to Gramps! Maybe we could go have a beer together. :o)


  • Belinda November 15, 2010, 11:15 am

    Great interview, Tess and happy 90th b-day to you, Bob! And what a beautiful photo of your grandkids (?) in the sunset!!!

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:15 pm

      How about GREAT grandkids! 7-3-10-3-5


  • Jay Schryer November 15, 2010, 11:29 am

    This is awesome, Tess! Thank you so much for introducing Bob to us!

    And Mr. Carlson, thank *you* for sharing your wisdom. I particularly like this gem: “Know the difference between RIGHT and WRONG, and live a clean, healthy, satisfying life.” I think that’s just about the best advice I’ve heard in a long, long time.
    .-= Jay Schryer´s last post…Too Little- Too Late =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:18 pm

      Keep the WRONGS a secret!!


  • Hilary November 15, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Hi Tess and Bob – congratulations on your 90th – a special day. That is an amazing interview – get to know you letter – it was great and you certainly are one wise man .. and I’m sure you and your wife Olga made a great community couple – a couple to look up to .. wise words indeed. Tess and family are one lucky set to know you .. may you enjoy all ahead .. all the techie challenges and fun of achievement as you blog, clip photos, mail, text .. et al .. enjoy life to you both .. happy days – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Tales- Sagas- Stories we can glean from our vegetables =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:23 pm

      Thank you! Will pay closer attention to my ‘veggies ‘ ! :o)


  • Aileen November 15, 2010, 4:01 pm

    Happy 90th Birthday Bob!
    Tess, I loved reading this! Thank you for posting this beautiful, heart warming interview!
    Bob, thank you for sharing your insights, your opinion and pieces your personal story.
    .-= Aileen´s last post…A Tribute to Real Life Super Heroes =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:28 pm

      If you think I’m special, you should have known Louise!


  • Betsy at Zen Mama November 15, 2010, 5:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Bob! Thanks for the inspiration! I want to me like you when I “grow up”. I’m all about education, too. Like you I am lucky enough to be with my soul mate.

    Tess, thanks for another great post!

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:32 pm

      Sounds to me like you’re ‘on track’… Enjoy it!


  • Hugo November 15, 2010, 6:50 pm


    I hope you remember me, I’m Susy’s brother…
    I’ve met you and Louise in person, no doubt I’ve learned a lot from both of you while I was there …
    Thank you for all the love you have shared with my sister and Eduardo, for being a wonderful friend a loving neighbor -an amazing person indeed.

    You sure made a difference for me, I will never forget you. I’m back in Perú now but I hope I will see you again…so long my friend!



    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:36 pm

      Hugo, I do remember you! Long time no see!!!


  • Susy November 15, 2010, 8:08 pm

    Dear Bob,
    We are so happy that we had the opportunity of meeting you and Louise 18 years ago. Thank you so much for being you, and for your friendship. We admire you and we will always do.
    You and Louise are always in our hearts and thoughts.
    Happy 90th Bday and many more to come.
    Eduardo & Susy

    Thanks Tess for posting this great interview, there is a lot to learn from this amazing man.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 12:41 pm

      You guys are the greatest! Linda e-mailed me the other day and said, we should go see Eduardo and Susy some day! Please get just a little closer :o)


  • Evita November 15, 2010, 8:57 pm

    Dear Tess and Bob

    I read your interview between tears and laughter! Bob you are awesome! I know people half your age who want nothing to do with technology and don’t know the basics of using it, so I know that it has nothing to do with our age number and everything to do with our personal drive, priorities, choices and desires!

    I love your sweetheart story, wow – 67 years! Maybe one day, I too will be there with my husband…. I think we will be around 100 then, but we don’t see a problem with that 🙂

    And I love how your described the “world” question!!! Awesome! I always say there are as many worlds out there, as there are people on this Earth, and one of our biggest mistakes and reasons for pain is trying to force change in the world’s of others, instead making the best of our own. After all, we are the “change, we want to see”.

    Thank you Tess for such an awesome interview – you couldn’t have picked a better person 🙂
    .-= Evita´s last post…Book Review- All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:01 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments!

      Tess owes me a box of kleenex. :o)


  • verna broderick November 15, 2010, 9:17 pm

    Bob, what a wonderful story you have told and good advice for all of us too. You are indeed a role model for living the good life.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:04 pm

      Thinking about running for office, or just buy a new hat? Could run for DOG CATCHER. :o)


  • Brenda November 15, 2010, 9:57 pm

    Tess and Bob,

    Thank you for this interview…love reading the simple and meaningful wisdom gleaned from 90 years of living on this earth! And what a joy to read the life lessons and the enduring love of Bob and his lovely wife! Like Jay, I loved the line about knowing the difference between right and wrong and living a clean and healthy life…good, wholesome advice …much needed today

    By coincidence, the family got together today and interviewed my 93 year old father in law. It was awesome as we all got to ask questions and he shared his wisdom and secrets for living long. Excercise, cultivating an interest in many things and people and treating others as he wanted to be treated. There was much laughter and tears…

    Life is beautiful…Happy birthday Bob!!

    • Bob Carlson. November 17, 2010, 1:08 pm

      Tell dad i’m still working on 91…


  • BakeR Gendron November 15, 2010, 10:15 pm

    Happy 90th birthday Bob! What beautiful words you shared with us, thank you!
    I met a woman tonight that I thought was in her mid-80’s…we were at a dinner meeting where people share their gifts and talents, from an MD who is now doing healing through energy work to an astrologer. This beautiful woman I met, Jean, is actually 97 yrs. young! I had so much fun talking to her, what a live wire…just like you Bob!

    Thanks again Tess!
    .-= BakeR Gendron´s last post…Healing Journeys =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:14 pm

      Doubt I’ll ever catch up with her!


  • Linda November 15, 2010, 11:31 pm

    Well, I happen to know, firsthand, the wisdom of this man and the rare relationship he had with my mom. As his daughter, I see a man who learns something new every day, who knows far,far more than I do when it comes to computers…..our family and others have been blessed by his amazing photography. He thinks my three children and I should write a book, Daddy, you’re the one who needs to write that book, complete with pictures!
    Thank you, Tess. Leave it to you to realize the importance of sharing his story.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:19 pm

      Don’t know ya!,,

  • Suzie Cheel November 16, 2010, 5:42 am

    Happy Birthday Bob, I can feel that you will enjoy those next 10- what a wonderful outlook you have on life. I love what you have shared.

    Tess what a wonderful post, I loved reading it and those last words KEEP IT SIMPLE rang in my ears. 🙂
    .-= Suzie Cheel´s last post…Suzie’s Oprahgeous Dream =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:22 pm

      AND I AM SIMPLE :o)


  • Heidi November 16, 2010, 11:24 am

    Hi Bob~what a wonderful interview! I feel honored to have actually attended your 90th birthday! What a great outlook on life you have.
    The photograph of your beautiful great-grandchildren speaks volumes!

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:24 pm

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

      C U in G.R. Soon.


  • Alex Blackwell November 16, 2010, 1:11 pm

    Comforting, wise words. Thanks sharing Bob with us Tess.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:28 pm

      The words turned to COMFORT?..


  • Sandra Lee November 16, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Happy Birthday Bob! Thanks to both you and Tess for this incredible interview. Bob, I admire your dedication to basic human values like giving more than taking, knowing right from wrong, and living one day at a time. I am so inspired by you and really take heart from your advice on fear. May you continue to live a long, prosperous, healthy, and joyful life!

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:32 pm

      Thank you so much!!! And the word ‘taking’, should have been RECEIVING..


  • Travis Webster-Booth November 16, 2010, 7:27 pm

    What a wonderful, positive account of a gracefully aging human being. We need more stories like Bob’s out there as inspiration to us all. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:35 pm

      Tess, made me do it :o). Ha!


  • Ande Waggener November 17, 2010, 1:22 am

    Beautiful interview. I love his bottom line: keep it simple. Oh how true that is. Bob, thank you for sharing your wisdom. Your love for life and all of us on this journal comes through. 🙂
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last post…Can Your Past Negative Energy Bite You On The Butt =-.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:38 pm

      Simple words from a simple person. Drawn out of me by knowing Tess :o)…


  • Tammy November 17, 2010, 5:25 am

    Happy Birthday Bob and yeah for education! I loved the phrase, “it depends on which world you are talking about.”

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 1:53 pm

      And even going beyond this world – I’ve always wanted to know – where is the end of space? And now that I’m about ready for Heaven – I’d like to know a little more about this place they are sending me, don’t I have a right to know?
      Seriously, I have added another 101. Help!


  • vija November 17, 2010, 7:38 am

    Now that I live far enough (I hope) from you to avoid those “candid” shots –I can appreciate the TALENT residing in you!!! All of the above comments are pertinent to my assessment of you — your strength, wisdom, and integrity…anything else would be condescension on my part…Linda is a Lucky Girl to have a Father like you!!! Vija(Vicki)

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 2:01 pm

      You make me blush!

      How are you adjusting to your new home? Hope to see you soon!

      Maybe we could go have a beer, or evan an ice cream cone.

      Luv ya!


  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord November 17, 2010, 8:55 am

    This is one of the most endearing interviews I’ve read in a long time. Straight from the heart – no pretense, and totally relatable. Bob, I love what you said about your life being made greater by choosing the right soul partner. Fantastic! You give me hope.

    Now it’s time to send your words of wisdom to those I love. This is just too good not to share! Thank you, Bob and thank you, Tess!

    Love, health & happiness to you always!

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 2:14 pm

      Yes, this whole interview should have been about Louise. She was the STAR
      of this relationship, and half my life from age 22, when I first laid eyes on her in 1941… Couldn’t have been luckier than for her to accept me.


  • Lea November 17, 2010, 1:09 pm

    It was so nice to read your history with Louise, whom I had the pleasure of knowing as well. Your advice for living is inspiring as well–I know you instilled the honor of GIVING in your daughter–she is one of the best! Let me know if you read anything good on your Kindle–I downloaded the Kindle app for my phone, so I’m especially looking for good free titles.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 2:29 pm

      Hey, look forward to seeing you again next year! Yes, it’s about here! Linda comes back over and we return together 12/29.

      I downloaded the .Kindle app onto my iPad, and first book I purchased (9,95) is Stones into Schools, by Greg Mortinson. If you haven’t already, read Three Cups of Tea by him. As you know, I prefer nonfiction. Missy’s book club just chose History of Love, I think it is. Think it’s pretty popular.

      I’ll be on the look-out!


  • Ashley Rasche November 17, 2010, 6:23 pm

    Loved the article! Someday I hope to be able to say I was married for 67 years. You truly are inspirational Mr.Bob.

    • Bob Carlson November 17, 2010, 6:47 pm

      When Mr. Right Guy comes along it will happen. I see some of the same traits I saw in Louise back in 1941.

      What’s new with mom? Haven’t heard from her in awhile.


  • Caroline November 18, 2010, 5:08 pm

    Hi Bob, Thank you for sending this wonderful interview to me. Happy Birthday! I am sorry I missed you when you were in Lafayette, but if you come back, I hope to see you. Your ability to live simply and walk humbly has always been an inspiration to me because I find it so hard to do. Take care of yourself and enjoy life and the beautiful great grand children. xoxo, Caroline

    • Bob Carlson November 18, 2010, 8:46 pm

      Thanks for your kind words! Yes I hope to come back to CA soon – like next spring. Will be here in CT until 12/29.


  • Becky March 22, 2011, 1:04 pm


    Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I hope your next ten years are as awesome as the ninety before. Let’s keep it simple and enjoy the possibilities.

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