Bob Hartson was born in the small upstate town of Gouvernuer, New York, one of seven siblings. The product of a broken home, he lived in various foster homes and orphanages until he reached the age of seventeen.
He joined the Marines in 1956 and subsequently served eight years active duty with them. No reserve time, and attained the rank of E-4 (Corporal). After his discharge in 1964, Bob migrated to Chicago, Illinois. The day he got off the Greyhound bus, he discovered that they had somehow managed to lose his sea bag, which held all of his worldly possessions. Wandering down Michigan Avenue, in Marine Green uniform, he applied for a job at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel.
“Hi, I’m Bob and I need a job,” he told the manager.
The manager looked him up and down and said, “Looks like you already have one!”
He hired Bob, and from there, for the next four years, Bob worked in the classiest hotels in Chicago as a front desk clerk. These establishments included The Ambassador Hotel and The Drake.
At night Bob went to Columbia College and took liberal arts courses, majoring in English and creative writing. One of these classes was taught by the Poet Laureate of Illinois, Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, who remarked that his poetry was “classic as well as unique.”
By 1969, Bob had completed his courses at the Midwestern Broadcasting School in Chicago and became a DJ on stations WRMN in Elgin and WJJD there. He was in the radio business for approximately three years.
He married in January of 1970 and had one child, a son, named Bobby. Pat, couldn’t bear more children and he was their only child when he died in a freak auto accident in 1981. He was fourteen. Bob and his wife split up within a year after that and he remarried Ann, his second wife, who bore him a son and a daughter before that marriage failed six years later.
Bob stayed single until 1999, when he met and married his current wife, Lynie. Lynie had two boys of her own at the time and they now have seven grandchildren.
Bob worked as a professional Santa Claus every year for fifty-one years until last year when he finally retired and handed the costume over to his son to carry on the satisfying and profitable tradition.
He has always loved writing and finished a novel called “Falling Up The Stairs” which chronicles much of his life as a youngster. In addition, his poem, “Constant Autumn” has been published and can be googled for more information.
He is currently working on his second novel, a detective story highlighting a mystery solved by his hero Cleve Hawkins.
Always hoping to have his work published, Bob continues to write every day and advises new writers to read as many books as possible. Fiction, non-fiction … anything in print. He believes if you want to be a successful writer, you must read. Reading shows you how it’s done and plants seeds to improve your own writing skills.