Michael Rustad's Memories

Twelfth Grade

1966 - 1967

 

My senior year of high school was during the beginningof fierce anti-Vietnam war activities. The House Committee on Un-AmericanActivities Committee was investigating anti-war activities. Dale Finney'ssixth grade class that year was writing to a classmate's older brother whowas in Vietnam. There was no division of opinion about the Vietnam Warin our high school. We were fiercely patriotic. I wrote an essay entitled,"Why We Should Win in Vietnam" that was widely reprinted and wonan award at a journalistic conference at Bemidji State College. We diddiscuss the Vietnam War that year in Bob Norton's present day problems class. However, most of the discussion was pro-U.S. policy. Gary Johnson joinedthe faculty our senior year. Gene Kjellberg was interim superintendent. Dwight Westman was selected to be principal.

My Dad was good friends with nearly everyone on the SchoolBoard. My senior year was Mark Baldwin's first year on the school board. Mark was my Dad's closest friend and deer hunting buddy. His high schoolclassmate Lyle Clow was the treasurer of the Board. Lyle and Dad were classmatesand long-time neighbors. Lyle and Dad attended the Northwest School ofAgriculture to round out their high school after the Humboldt High Schoolclosed in 1939.

The school reopened in 1957 and was then in only its tenthyear. Harold Finney, Herb Easter, Francis Ness and Virgil Bockwitz werealso on the Board.

Virgil Bockwitz was extremely popular with the young peopleof the community because he was very community minded. Bockwitz Farms wasa major operation and had lots of buildings. He would frequently let kidswork on their cars in his many shops. Virgil also flooded one of his shedsso that we could have an indoor skating facility. I wrote an essay called,"Man of the Hour" celebrating Virgil''s many contributions. Virgil'sDad, Fred, was a fishing buddy of my grandfather. Grandpa Rustad, QuentinTri and Fred Bockwitz frequently fished up in the northern waters of Lakeof the Woods. I have a picture of the fishing buddies enjoying coffee anda meal of fish.

The School Board of our town had deep roots in the community. Never did I see any favoritisim to the children of School Board membersor employess. My childhood experience was that there was an inherent senseof fairness and civic mindedness in my Humboldt. I was appalled by thecorruption I saw in Eastern cities which was completely unknown in our cornerof Minnesota.

Robert Norton was my present day problems studies class. Bob Norton had an interesting history. He was a bachelor farmer outsideof East Grand Forks and did not receive his bachelor's degree until he wasin his late 30s. He was a very wise man who brought a great love of learningto the classroom. He taught his class much like a college course with apremium for classroom participation.

Our class had some excellent students who participatedin the class in an informed manner. I remember debating Rhoda Symingtonon a variety of issues. Rhoda was a very mature and confident thinker. Rhoda Symington was the most brilliant student that I ever met and I includehere top students from Harvard University Law School, Boston College, theUniversity of Maryland, Suffolk University Law School, and UND. She wasparticularly active in Norton's class and expressed some very mature opinionsespecially on church and state issues.

Reynold Ward was appointed as vocational agricultural teacher. Reynold Ward was from one of the outstanding farm families of the entireregion. As a young 4Her, he was a state champion. John Schmidt was ourscience teacher that year. I took chemistry from Schmidt and found thatI had an aptitude for Chemistry. I scored in the top 1% of Minnesota studentsin Chemistry. This was the first indication that I had any ability in thesciences. I struggled the previous year in physics.

Martha Roberts, Myron Albrecht, Avonel Kjellberg, VirginiaOtt and Bernadine Albrecht were also on the faculty. The grade school facultyhad some of the most experienced teachers in Humboldt history. Marian Browntaught 2d grade. Marian Brown was the mother of my friend, Tom Brown, anda very capable teacher. Before she married Don Brown, she taught in theHumboldt system in the late 1930s. The kindergarten teacher that year wasVelma Isley. If you looked in a dictionary under the word grace, you wouldfind a picture of Velma Isely. Mrs. Isely was an elegant woman from a learnedfamily. Mrs. Isely was sometimes a substitute in Post Office and a goodfriend of my Dads. The Rustad kids were always on their best behavior whenvisiting the home of Warren and Velma Isely.

I have previously written about Dale Finney, my belovedsixth grade teacher. Minnie Hylland, Maribel Berg, Ruth Younggren and LillianKnutson taught the lower grades.

The faculty held a faculty spring picnic with their familiesin St. Vincent.

The PTA was also very active my senior year. Velma Iselyand Lillian Lapp headed the membership committee. Bea Bahr and Mrs. EarlNorland were heads of the publicity department. Donna Clow and Marily Burtonwere chairs of the health committee. Mrs. Mark Baldwin and Mrs. OrlandOlson headed the Magazine Committee. Humboldt-St. Vincent had parents whowere active in PTA

The PTA honored Carolyn Wiese and Rhoda Symington, NationalMerit finalists my senior year. I was also honored as Student Council President.

The important people in the school were the cooks, secretary,custodians and bus drivers. During my senior year, Donna Clow was schoolsecretary. Hazel Lofberg and Ann Hughes were the cooks. The bus driverswere Herman Loer, Gary Somerville, Lawrence Wilkie, Kenneth Matthew, WimSurface and Gordon Short.

Herman Loer ran over my dog Dandy who was fighting withAlfred Loer's dog Smoky. Everyone in the bus felt the bump as the bus ranover the dog. I thought for certain my dog was dead. The dog disappearedand came back two months later healed except for a half-dollar sized holein his side. Somehow the snow must have cushioned the weight of the bus. Smoky was unharmed and lived for many more fights with my dog. Dandy wasa fierce dog. I remember that he would catch a bunny rabbit and swallowit whole when we tried to take it from him.

I can still recall the entire bus route of Herman Loer. The Loer girls were picked up last after the Hemmes. Many winter morningswere 40 degrees below zero and we would wait the last possible moment tocatch the bus. To this day, I still have nightmares about not catchingthe bus! Herman Loer would always buy the kids treats at the end of theyear. He was a very generous man and a good disciplinarian. He would frequentlymake the trouble-makers sit up front on the radiator with him. By the timeI was a senior in high school, I was 6'3" and no one bothered me.

Seniors in 1966-67 were Michael Rustad, Ron Baldwin, RebeccaClow, Ron Baldwin, Renee Jerome, Jan Armstrong, Marlys Diamond, Ralph Giffen,Dan Ingeman, Clara Twamley, Rhoda Symington, Carl Seed, Martha Carlson andCarolyn Wiese. Our valdictorian was Rhoda Symington and Salutatorian wasCarolyn Wiese.

Rhoda Symington belonged to a religious denomination calledThe Bretheran which did not permit her to participate in extra-curricularactivities.

Rhoda was a gracious person which is evidenced by whatshe wrote in my year book: "This year has been wonderful. You've certainlydeserved all the honors you got: Student Council President, Journalismaward at Bemidji, state speech (you made our class famous), and then theMason thing when you don't even believe in what they represent. Rhoda wasreferring to the fact that I was a Catholic selected for a Masonic awardfor scholarship. What she did not say was that she should have receivedthat award but was not permitted because of her religion. She also wrote: "I'm glad they invited you to the Knights of Columbus Honor StudentBanquet in my place!" She also wrote: "I also think that theyshould let you give the valedictory address, since you're such a polishedspeaker.

I have also followed Rhoda's advice not to stray from myfirm convictions. However, I must confess that I have not always followedher plea to take "sensible and realistic positions."

Rhoda and I often sparred in present day problems class. She was a keen observer of human behavior as well as an intellectual withoutpeer in our school. She also asked me to please try to wear my belt right-sideout!!! She predicted that I would pass law school with flying colors. She promised to seek my legal counsel should she ever need advice. I thinkthat Rhoda Symington had Nobel Scientist potential and was also a wise person. Another trait that I remember is that she was always willing to share herextensive knowledge with her classmates. I often sought her advice on howto solve math and science problems. Carolyn Wiese was another student inthe Class of 1967 who was superior. Carolyn and Rhoda were perfect in everysubject and even had perfect handwriting.

I think that the Classes of 1967, 1968 and 1969 had highvoltage brainpower. Many of our classes were with the Class of 1968. Therewere superb students in the Class of 1968. Cynthia Baldwin, Randy Reese,Leslie Turner, Linda Stewart, Paul Symington, Alan Anderson, John Finney, and Linda Symington were excellent students. The entire class had talentedstudents. Jim Gatheridge, Len Jerome, Larry Olsonawski, Ron McAdams, BettyShort, Virginia Seed, JoEllyn Clow and John Wilkie were members of the class.

My brother's class, the class of 1969, was also loadedwith talent. Delores Diamond, Kathleen Finney, Lois Armstrong, Craig Wiese,June Webster, Christie Anderson, John Bergh, Jerry Bernath, Beth Boatz,Donna Easter, Diane Giffen, Brad Hemmes, Lee Jerome, Tony Rustad, Fay Turnerand Jim Wiese were sophomores my senior year. I had a good number of friendsin the sophomore class. I played baskeetball with John Bergh, Craig Wiese,Lee Jerome, Brad Hemmes, and my brother Tony. The class of 1969 was thenucleus for Humboldt's best football team in the school's history.

Our 1966 Homecoming King was my good friend Ralph Giffen. Ralph Edwin Giffen, Ronald Dana Baldwin and I were all babies in the samenursery at the Hallock Hospital. I would count Ralph and Ron as among mybest friends to this day. Renee Jerome was our Homecoming Queen. The royalfamily consisted of Cynthia Baldwin, James Wiese, Kathleen Finney, LennyJerome, Dan Ingeman, Carolyn Wiese, Renee Jerome, Ralph Giffen, Marlys Diamond,Ron Baldwin, Becky Stewart, Dan Finney, Barbara Bostrom, Keith Finney, NormaFinney, Louis Jerome. Jerry Boatz (later to become a rocket scientists)was the ring bearer with Connie Nordstrom who was the crown bearer. TheHomecoming King and Queen candidates all had campaign managers. I was DanIngeman's campaign manager. Other campaign managers that year were MarthaMae Carlson, Rhoda Symington, Carl Seed, Jan Armstrong, Becky Clow and ClaraTwamley. The Green Mountain Boys entertained at Homecoming. John Finney,Randy Reese, Jay Hoglin and Alan Anderson were in their second year as aquartet. Bob Norton played the guitar at Homcoming. I believe that hewas the only performer at a Homecoming festivity to play Joan Baez folksongs!

On the day before Homecoming, each class would have a skit. I convinced our class to have a Roman football game. I read a book calledLife of the Caesars and thought that the classical Roman emperors mightenjoy football. We all dressed in togas for our skit. We had a homecomingdance with music by The Knights.

Our football team was better than the 1965-66 team. Webeat Lake Bronson and tied a tough Midway team senior year. Lenny Jeromewas our best offensive player that year although he was named all conferencedefensive half-back. Dan Ingeman was all-conference defensive end. RonBaldwin was honorable mention as an offensive back. We played Badger, Hoople,St. Thomas, Pembina, Lake Bronson and Midway. We were not the Dallas Cowboysbut we were better than the football teams of the period 1961-65. ScottClow was a good lineman as was Larry Olsonawski. John Bergh gained a greatdeal of experience as quarterback. Lee Jerome became a sure-footed linebackerand safety that year.

Our dominance was in speech and debate, not athletics. Our senior year like our junior year led to another sub district and districtspeech trophy. In my junior year, I was eliminated in the subdistrict whenI tried the extemporaneous speaking category. I had lots of form and nosubstance. Marlys Diamond was co-captain of our Speech Team who receivedthe speech trophy at the district level. Brad Hemmes (co-captain) receivedthe sub-district speech tournament. Humboldt was a dynasty in speech. Another annual event we had was a speech night in which all of our parentsheard us perform. I think that Mrs. Roberts knew what she was doing inbuilding a speech team. I won the regional competition in the discussioncategory and was selected to compete in the state speech festival held atHamline University.

The State Speech festival was a great honor for me. Theprevious year Sharon Short participated in the festival. John Isely receivedthat honor in the discussion category when he was a senior. The SchoolDistrict paid for my parents and brother Tony to accompany me to the statetournament. Minneapolis was then about an 8 hour drive. We stayed thefirst night in St. Cloud in a $4 cabin. I remember my Mother complainingabout the accommodations. One of the traits of Northwest Minnesota is thriftiness. We kept our expenses down on that trip. I ultimately won a medal in speechat the State Festival which was held at Hamline University in St. Paul. It was a high point of my high school career.

Our debate program was then in its second year. We hada deeper team in my senior year. Mrs. Ott decided to separate the teamof Cynthia Baldwin and Michael Rustad so that we could have more strengthon the team. Ralph Giffen became my debate partner. Ralph was a gifteddebater and a real natural. Even though he did far less research on thedebate topic, he often beat me in speaker's points. I remember having literally1,000s of index cards with quotes and other information which I would diligentlyfeed Ralph. We became a good team and consistently placed well in the tournaments.

John Bergh, Tony Rustad, Dan Twamley, Barbara Bostrom,Margo Baldwin, and Cynthia rounded out the team. We lost to Lancaster ina round robin debate tournament. The Lancaster team consisted of my friendBrent Pearson, Iris Elfstrom, Nancy Hugg and Iris Elfstrom's younger sister. We became close friends with the Lancaster team. Brent and I knew eachother from basketball. Hallock was always a tough team to beat. I thinkthat we beat them once in my senior year. Vicki McVean was a superb debateras was her partner, Gail Nordling. We frequently debated Roseau and largerschools such as Crookston Central and Detroit Lakes.

Debate turned out to be useful to me in college and laterin the field of law. I was offered a debate scholarship to attend the Universityof North Dakota. During my sophomore year, I won several tournaments withmy partner Larry Dominick. I think that my debate experience coached byVirginia Ott helped me do well in college. The high point of my collegedebate experience was when I led UND to a 1st place finish in the Universityof Nebraska Kick-Off Tournament. We beat NYU, Augustana, Minnesota andColorado College that year. I am coach of my law school's moot court teamin InformationTechnology and Privacy Law. I have also coached my law school'sproduct liability and constitutional law team. I know that I first becameinterested in these activities at Humboldt High School.

Another memory I have is the importance of speech and debateat our school. When I was a senior, I attended a speech tournament at MooreheadState University and missed a basketball game. Dave Boatz found placesfor all of us to stay in the dormitories and was very nice to us. CynthiaBaldwin, Lois Armstrong, Delores Diamond, Tony Rustad, Mike Rustad and RalphGiffen represented Humboldt at the Moorehead tournament. We drove backfrom the tournament so that Ralph and I could dress for a home game againstSt. James of Winnipeg. Myron Albrecht, coach of the A team, was visiblyupset when we arrived too late for warmups. He held me out for much ofthe first half.

St. James of Winnipeg was one of the largest schools inWinnipeg, Manitoba. We lost to St. James on their court. They played Pembinaand Humboldt that year.St. James of Winnipeg had very tall players. Thecenter was 6' 11. They had forwards that were 6'6" and 6'5." I remember that the center refused to come out of the locker room at thehalf-time because local fans were shooting snapshots of him.

We beat St. James in the last minute of play which wasa very unexpected win. The problem with St. James was that they would shootfrom 20 or 30 feet out and not even attempt to exploit their size advantage. They also committed a great number of turnovers such as over and back andback court violations.

Another memory I have of the St. James games is gettinga lot of rebounds which seems incredible to me given that I was only 6'3". St. James had a huge number of fans who came down on Greyhound buses. The fans from St. James were very hungry and bought out the complete inventoryof Pearl's Inn. Rumors had it that they also stole beer but I cannot verifythis. I believe that Mayme sold out her entire inventory of candy. Therewere 4 greyhound buses. St. James even brought their own rock band. Iremember feeling very close to the fans that night because they were seatedon the stage and along the side-lines. The gymnasium was packed. I stilldo not know how we beat St. James after losing 75 to 51 on their court.

My senior year's basketball team was much improved butstill had a losing record. Ron Baldwin, Dan Ingeman, Ralph Giffen and Iwere senior players. Our squad consisted of Ralph Giffen, Ron Baldwin,Jim Gatheridge, Alan Anderson, Dan Ingeman, John Finney, Jay Hoglin, MichaelRustad, John Bergh, Jim Ingeman, Len Jerome, Lee Jerome. John Wilkie wasour student manager and Myron Albrect was our basketball coach. Dan Ingemanand John Bergh were probably the best players on the team. We all had nicknames. My nickname was Noah because of the arc of my shot. Ron Baldwin was RB. John Bergh was JB. This was the only year that I played signifiant minutesand it was thanks to John Schmidt, the B team coach.

Schmidt watched me in practice and told me that he thoughtI could help the team with my rebounding. John Schmidt helped me becomea more confident player. That year we played St. James twice and also playedin a holiday tournament as well as the sub-district. We were able to beatLancaster and Lake Bronson as well as Crystal and St. James that year. We also beat Strandquist twice. We almost beat Hallock on our home court. I remember that we were ahead of Hallock much of the first half and playedthem surprisingly well. I played against a much sturdier player, CharlieTrolin. Dean Carlson, Cedric Gustafson, Tom Gustafson, Gail Nordling, andPaul Nordling were also on the team. I played well against Hallock bothgames.

My best game was against Hallock in an away game whereI was high point man.
I remember that Mark Baldwin was at the game and I was pleased when he toldmy Dad how well I had done. We were far from being a contender that yearand just narrowly missed playing for the 7th and 8th place game. The Bteam had a number of good players: Ron Gatheridge, Marshal Hemmes, KeithFinney, Jerry Bernath, Brad Hemmes, Tony Rustad, Craig Wiese, Jim WieseDan Finney, Craig Olson and Tim Clow.

We also played Newfolden, Pembina, Karlstad, Argyle, Kennedyand Stephen that year. Pembina had a tough team. Dean Ritter, CharlieHart and Joe DeFoe were stars on the 1966-67 team. I remember being unableto guard Dean Ritter who was then 6'5" and a very strong player. Iremember him warning me about my continual fouls necessary to contain him. Argyle had one of the best teams in the district. Mark Newman, a 6'6"center was difficult to stop. Stephen and Karlstad were also strong teamsthat year. Don Sunby from Stephen was probably one of the best playersfrom the era.

The A squad cheerleaders were Linda Steart, Dee Dee Diamond, Renee Jerome, Ethel Finney and Marlys Diamond. The B squad cheerleaderswere Deb Gooselaw, Linda Twamley, Denise Gooselaw and Linda Diamond. Therewas a lot of school spirit despite our lack of athletic success.

During my senior year, Reynold Ward formed a Future Farmersof America chapter. Dan Finney, Scott Clow, Marshal Hemmes, Layne Turner,Carl Seed, Dan Twamley, Ron Gatheridge, Lenny Jerome, Larry Olsonawski,Ron Baldwin and Dan Ingeman were members. I was never much interested inagriculture. My goal was always to study hard to leave farming!

Another memory I have is being a senior letterman who gotto attend the State basketball tournament in the Twin Cities. Ron Baldwinand I were the only seniors to go to the state tournament trip and had agreat time. We were amazed at how good the teams were in the tournament. We cheered for the small schools. Edina was then a powerhouse and wonthe tournament. Many of Edina's players played Division I basketball. The best small school in the tournament was Walnut Grove.

I had never been to Minneapolis and enjoyed seeing sitessuch as the State Capitol.

One of my last memories from my senior year was our classtrip. We stayed at Lutsen's Resort and toured the North Shore of Lake Superior. I tried to interest my classmates in a swim in Lake Superior but it wasbone-chilling cold. We toured the Duluth newspaper and many sights alongthe North Shore. It was a fun trip which also included shopping. The seniorgirls thought it was high time that I began dressing with the times. ReneeJerome and Marlys Diamond helped me pick out a nice shirt and pants outfit. I can still remember the blue shirt with polka dots and corduroys whichI wore to college. We saved for the class trip by selling candy and popat basketball and football games.

 

that I began dressing with the times. ReneeJerome and Marlys Diamond helped me pick out a nice shirt and pants outfit. I can still remember the blue shirt with polka dots and corduroys whichI wore to college. We saved for the class trip by selling candy and popat basketball and football games.