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Saturday Night at Humboldt


When I was a child in the 1950s and 1960s, the traditionwas to visit

Hallock on Friday night. The children had their own traditions. My favorite

store was Clay's Drug Store with its attractive displaycases. The one that

held the most fascination for me was the revolving displayof what I then

considered to be fancy nuts. We rarely had unshelled nutsas a child. I

never had the money to select nuts and always wonderedwhat it would be like

to be wealthy enough to have some of those cashews whichglistened in the



Hallock was the gathering place during those daysbecause the residents

supported the local businesses. Visits to Grand Forkswere reserved for

purchases that could not be made in Hallock. We wouldalways purchase candy

and comics at Clay's. My favorite candy was the 7-UP barwhich was featured

in an essay by Cynthia Baldwin. My parents were friendsof Jim and Janice

Gustafson and so they would purchase hardware at theirfamily-owned business.

I cannot ever remember, for example, purchasing groceriesin Grand Forks or

Hallock. I believe that they would occasionally purchaseselected items at

The Farmer's Store. All of our purchases were made atMayme's General Stores
where we had a line of credit. The Ben Franklin store was also very

attractive to children.


My Dad told me that Humboldt was a boom town onSaturday nights in

the 1930s and 1940s. His Dad would sell his cream andproduce. All of the

farmers would go to town on Saturday nights which by theway, was also bath

night. Saturday night in Humboldt was a festive atmospherefrom all

accounts. By the 1950s and 1960s, Humboldt was no longera boom town on

Saturday nights. Our generation congregated in Hallock. Today Friday night

at Hallock has been replaced by Saturday day trips to GrandForks. We may

see Grand Forks being eclipsed by the Internet.


The large tail trend in these observations is thedecline of

community. The German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies callsthe transition

from gemeinschaft (community) to gesellschaft (society). The sense of

community I experienced in Kittson County decades ago helpedto shape my

personality and character in a positive way. AlthoughHumboldt was no

Mayberry, it was at outstanding small town which has producedits share of

professionals. I think of Jerry Boatz, rocket scientist,Brad Clow, Vice

President of a major corporation, Cynthia Baldwin, nationallyknown professor

at the University of Nevada, Leslie Turner, insurance executive,and Ralph

Giffen, Brookings Institution fellow and U.S. Forest Service.

There are countless others including Dennis Matthews, whohave achieved a

great deal after leaving Humboldt.


The unique ethos of Humboldt derives from Prince EdwardIsland roots.

When I visited the Clow cemetery this summer, I saw a numberof the names

memorialized in the pages of this web site. I did notfully grasp that

Humboldt was so shaped by Prince Edward Islanders. Asmy Aunt Dorothy

reminds me, the Rustads were not related to anyone. My family was not

from Prince Edward Island and I would like to acknowledgethe role of those

forward looking pioneers who built our community. Giventhat we were not

related to anyone, we became well integrated into thecommunity. We became

family. This web site maintained by a Humboldt nativeson has continued to

remind us of our common heritage as friends and family.


Michael Rustad, 25 Mar 2000, <>



Michael Rustad, 25 Mar 2000, <>