John "Andy" Hoglin
Memories by Michael Rustad
Andy Hoglin was the Humboldt school custodian during the 1960s when
I attended Humboldt -St. Vincent school. Andy's wife Gertrude or Gerty was a
member of the Turner family (daughter of Ernest and Delia). Andy's sister
Bea Bahr and brother-in-law Earl Bahr had a large successful farming
operation. Andy, Gerty and the kids lived in the heart of Humboldt. Andy
was known for his excellent work ethic and the school was always kept
spotless under his watch He was a gentle man who was always helpful and
supportive of school activities. If there were chairs to be moved on short
notice or messes to be cleaned up, he was not a complainer.
I remember him sitting at the teacher's table during lunch hour. He was
greatly respected by teachers, staff, and kids. Donna Clow was another
pillar who helped make the school run well during those days as were the
teachers of that era: Roberts (who leads the list), O.A., Abelson, Durkhop,
Bock, Voiles, Moore, Borg, Norton, Finney, Hylland, Younggren, Evers, and
yes, even Beatrice Berg. I have left out many other memorable teachers from
that era. The Humboldt-St. Vincent school did not have a languages
department, fully-equipped science lab, or a computer. Yet, I think the
school served us quite well. Although most of the sons and daughters of
Humboldt-St Vincent have moved to other cities, states, and regions, I hope
they will take a moment to remember Andy Hoglin and their school years.
Andy Hoglin took a great pride in making Humboldt-St. Vincent's school
look very nice for school activities. Andy had no published writings or
awards, yet he was integral to the sense of community through his example.
Andy taught us to have pride in our occupational role. Whether you are a
lawyer, minister, educator, or accountant, it is important to have a sense
of pride and professionalism.
Andy's children were certainly a big part of growing up in Humboldt. My
brother Tony and I were close friends of Jay Hoglin throughout our school
years. Jay was a very good athlete and played on the basketball team with me
my senior year. We had many happy afternoons playing with the Hoglin kids.
Adele and Andrea often played in touch football games and other neighborhood
games. The Hoglin house were next door neighbors to Ree Schoenbergers and
close to my grandparents house. One of our favorite activities was to
congregate in Pearl's Inn on a rainy day. Jay, Tony and I had many happy
afternoons at Pearl's Inn and she sustained us very well. Pearl Iten was
part shrink, part rabbi, and part counselor. She had a way with kids. Ann
Hughes and Pearl Iten (and Hazel Lofberg) were famous for making sure that we
were not hungry at school.
I have many memories of playing with the Hoglin kids. Jay, Tony and I
would play the jukebox and the pinball machine. Some of our favorite songs
were Sloop John B, Paperback Writer, and Help. Pearl was famous for her
less than a dollar meal that consisted of a hamburger, heaping plate of
fries, and a soda. We call soda pop and we could have a delicious glass
bottle from the cooler for .10. As a younger child, pop could be purchased
in smaller bottles. Pearl made all of the kids in the neighborhood feel
very welcome. I used to enjoy seeing the farmers on their stools. I
believe that the beer was only 3.2 but Pearl made it a worthwhile
congregating place. She was a good listener and a font for information about
the community. If you wanted to hear the latest, you needed to go to Pearls.
When we built floats for our homecoming parades or other activities, we
always stopped in at Pearls. I think we assembled our float in the eighth
grade in a shed owned by Clarence Iten.
Pearl's Inn was almost always packed on rainy days when the farmers in
the area came to groan about farm prices, and the difficulties of making a
living in an area with such unpredictable weather. The farm kids would
often drive their motorcycles into town as soon as it rained and head for
Pearl's Inn. I can still see the pickups congregated outside of Pearl's.
When I hear Garrison Keilor talk about the kibitzing at the Side-Track Cafe
in Lake Woebegone, I always think of Pearl's Inn.
When I reflect on the life of Andy Hoglin, I realize that he shared
common ground with Pearl in our mind's eye.. Our town was certaintly humble
with its undistinguished buildings and unpaved streets. There was not a
single swimming pool in town nor a teen activity center. However, as I look
back at childhood in the 1950s and 1960s, I have many happy memories of
The school which Andy kept in such good order was the center of the town
in many ways though you could make a case that the Post Office was the
communications center and Pearl's Inn the social center. Although we were a
small school, we frequently were a powerhouse in speech and debate
activities. Our speech team won the sub-district and district and sent
contestants to state many times. A great number of those speech and debate
contestants went on to become lawyers, academics, accountants, as well as
agri-businessmen. We all complained about Martha Roberts' high standards in
English and Speech. Yet, everyone in the school did compete in our local
competition which was a key to our success in competition. I wonder whether
you remember how the town turned out for Speech Night. Andy always had the
school sparkling for speech night and the class plays.
Martha Roberts organized Speech Night so that the contestants for
inter-school competition would have a chance to work out their last-minute
adjustments in speech.
The first speech night I remember was when John Isely was a senior and
participated in the discussion competition and went to state. Cheryl Ingeman
was also a contestant that year. When I saw those seniors compete at the
local competition in the eighth grade, I vowed to make speech one of my
activities. During my years in school, we were not competitive in sports but
we were a powerhouse in speech. Success in sports had to wait until my
brother Tony's class where the team led the league in football and had an
excellent basketball team. Tony's class, too, had great success in speech
activities. Those were the years in which very high academic standards
prevailed and we had a high proportion of kids who went to undergraduate
school and beyond. I think that the emphasis on achievement versus athletic
success was a good value to instill.
As I reflect on Andy's role in the community and in the school, I
think about the debt we owe our little home town. Humboldt was never a
quaint little town, but many of us love to recollect our childhood there.
David Boatz frequently uses the comparison to the Andy Griffith Show. He
thinks my Dad played a role similar to Andy Griffith. Perhaps Pearl was a
character with qualities like Aunt Pearl. I am not sure who the Barney Fife
character was since we did not have a police department. However, I think
Dave is right in drawing the comparison. Humboldt did share some qualties
with Mayberry though there was never a television program inspired by life in
that little town. Although Humboldt was not a very impressive or imposing
town, there are many of us who still relish our memories.
Class of 1967, Humboldt-St. Vincent