Helen Tri Conversation


Michael Rustad


I recently had a conversation with 86 year old Helen Tri who began teaching

in the Humboldt school system in 1937. Helen was my teacher in the

mid-1960s, but began teaching in the Humboldt school system in the 1930s. My

father, Rustee Rustad and his brother Einar had Helen as a student. Helen

remembers Dennis Matthew fondly as a student in the school system. Helen

told me that the old Humboldt school did not have many amenities when she

began teaching. She noted that the school had chemical toilets and the only

method of hand-washing was the old-fashion pitcher with water drawn from a

well. Helen's memories of Humboldt was that it was a thriving village with

several restaurants and many businesses. She told me that Humboldt was a

special place though initially its primitive nature was quite a shock to a

Minneapolis girl. She also noted that Humboldt was a community made up of

many civic minded individuals. She was impressed with the people of Humboldt

from the beginning of her teaching career. She mentions that she met her

husband, Quentin Tri, in Humboldt. Fellow teacher, Marian Brown, also dated Don
Brown, son of Humboldt's mayor, Tom Brown. Helen remembers Tom Brown as

a man of great integrity and vision. She thought him to be a special person who

contributed to the ethos of the town. Helen has a special place in her heart

for Humboldt and remembers fondly her former students. She now lives in

Thief River Falls Minnesota and is glad to hear from former or present

Humboldites. I very much enjoyed our conversation and am glad that Helen has

continued to be an avid reader. However, I am pleased that she has many

pleasant memories of her friends and family living in Humboldt.