Flora Erickson
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Aug 29, 2013 | 2357 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Flora Erickson
Flora Erickson
The hot, dry desert of Moab is a long way from the lush, green islands of Scotland where Flora Erickson grew up. Erickson never thought she’d leave the country where she was born, but she says an educational opportunity led to love in the place where she least expected it.

Erickson was born on the island of Stornoway, located in the Western Isles of Scotland. For seven years during World War II, Erickson and her family, along with the other residents of the island, weren’t allowed to visit the mainland except for emergencies.

“They wanted to keep the waterways clear,” Erickson said.

Erickson’s family also played host to soldiers during the war, allowing several soldiers to live in an extra bedroom in their house.

“They roomed in with us while they were building housing for them,” she said.

At first, the family shared their home with two privates, who were forced to share a single bed.

As a young girl, Erickson’s mother taught her to sew. She passed on her love of sewing to Erickson, who made much of her own clothing. Later, she started making teddy bears.

“She was an amazing seamstress,” Erickson said.

Erickson estimates that she’s made over 200 teddy bears in her life, and they’ve traveled all over the world. Every room of Erickson’s Moab home hosts several of her handmade bears of all shapes and sizes.

“I’ve never sold any of them,” she said. “They’ve all been gifts.”

After high school Erickson moved to the mainland of Scotland, where she studied medicine in Aberdeen.

“I wanted to be an obstetrician,” she said.

As part of her education, she was offered the opportunity to move to California to gain experience.

“They would pay my fare to California, I would stay for two years, and then I’d go back to Scotland,” she said.

That might have been the plan, but that was before she met and fell in love with Bob Erickson.

“I never went home except to visit,” she said. “We were married a short time after meeting.”

Bob Erickson disputes that story of their meeting.

“She came here to marry a rich, handsome American,” he said, winking. “Two out of three isn’t bad.”

The couple settled in Los Alamitos, Calif. It wasn’t long before the first of their two daughters was born, and Erickson decided she didn’t want to work as an obstetrician, despite having completed medical school.

“I knew I’d never be home,” she said.

Instead, Erickson took a job with the Department of Health and Human Services, providing needed medical services to low-income children.

“I worked there for almost 20 years before retiring,” she said.

When she and Bob Erickson retired, one of their daughters had completed college and moved to Moab.

“We decided if she was going to stay here, we’d come too,” Erickson said.

Flora and Bob bought a small house in town, but kept the home in California with the intentions of driving back and forth in their motor home.

“The third time we made the drive, we saw all the ugly buildings and pollution rising up over the ocean. I turned to Bob and said, ‘Why don’t we just move to Moab?’” she said.

So they put their house in California on the market, and it sold within a day and a half.

That was 18 years ago, and the two have called Moab their home ever since.

“We just fell in love with the place,” she said.

Erickson continues to sew. A sewing machine takes up residence in a dedicated craft room in the Moab house the couple built. Though she no longer makes her own clothes, she still does alterations and other smaller projects.

Erickson said the beauty of Moab and the love of her husband and children have made Moab home.

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