Growing up in a house literally made of sod blocks, Robert (or “Bob” as he prefers to be called) went through a Colorado elementary school in a true one-room schoolhouse. “We went through all eight grades with the same teacher!” he exclaims. Although not all grades were taught the same material at once, Bob managed to excel, pushing through four years’ worth of elementary school in just two years.
After elementary school, he spent one year in high school before dropping out to help his father support the family. “We traveled around the area for six weeks just looking for work. This was in the time of the Dust Bowl, too, so for four to five weeks, there was no sun! Just dust, and more dust. I had this superstition one winter that germs were carried over the dust, from smallpox to measles to whooping cough to chickenpox.”