Monday, January 27, 2014

Chewing the Fat @ the Virtual Water Cooler

Recently, on a social media site, a few individuals who grew up in or near Humboldt, MN were reminiscing...

Deacon Jim Hunt One of my fondest Humboldt memories was living across from the Tri Honey Apiary. Old P.N Tri would let us go in when they were loading the extractors and get gobs of wax and honey on our fingers to chew. It was delicious and fun for a small boy growing up in the 50's in the little Minnesota town.Still love that honey and think of the Tri family every time I taste it.
Keith Finney I have lots of fond memories of them and the honey as well. Only got stung once and PN put a gob of wet mud on it. My eye still swelled shut. Ha. Tony and I used to stop by his grandma's after school for peanut butter and honey snacks.
Deacon Jim Hunt Henrietta - Very kind old woman.
Michael Rustad I used to worry about the bees but never once got stung. I spoke with Helen Tri often in her last years and I learned that Humboldt honey was mail-ordered around the world. They had a large number of dedicated customers in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to name just a few. We had our specialty food business right in Humboldt across from the Hunt house. And speaking of that house, it was huge! We had some really big houses in Humboldt and some really small ones too. The Boatz house, built by the Elevator Association, was tiny. Our house later occupied by my Grandparents and still later by Dick Gatheridge was a nice size. Does anyone remember Ree Schoenberger and their house. I think Bill Sylvester lived there before Ree and his wife.
Does anyone remember an incident when a massive tree was cut down near or at the Hunt's place by an unknown vandal. I wonder how that could have happened.
Keith Finney I forgot her name, Jim...Thanks. Mike, we lived in Ree's house later on.
Michael Rustad Another memory I have is running my huge bike into the side of Louise and Maynard's car failing to look both ways on my way to the Hunts. The Hunts were Humboldt's equivalents of the Kennedy family. Everyone had at least one Hunt friend. I had 5 or so Hunt friends--Ray, Bob, Earl, Jim, and Paul. Earl was one of my best friends when I was 6 or so.
If my memory serves me right, the Hunts were into the double digits in number of children by 1957 and there were more to come. Humboldt had a particularly good group of kids who always seemed to include the smaller kids in activities at dusk such as kick the can, around the house, and hide and seek (our favorite). John Isely, Dennis Diamond, and Mick Boatz were in the older kid group who gave the younger kids guidance and kept us in line. Cathy Tri, Amy Johnson, & Nancy Diamond were very good to the younger kids and helped to organize community wide hide and seek games. We played baseball in Diamond's pasture as well as the Humboldt ball field. One of the challenges of baseball games in their pasture was not to upset the sheep. Brownie, the Diamond's beloved dog, was an omnipresence and loved all of the kids.
Our home in town did not have indoor plumbing. Laundry was always dried on the clothes line except in severe snow storms. The only paved road in town was Highway 75 which ran right through town. Despite the primitive conditions, there was a sense of civic-mindedness. Virgil Bockwitz was especially generous to the kids in town. He flooded one of his large farm sheds for a skating rink.
The town fathers also had outdoor rinks for us each winter. Another memory I have is receiving bags of candy from Humboldt's men's club at Christmas. In the 1920s and 1930s, it was Herb Diamond who organized these events.
Our little town was a paradise for kids. One of our favorite hangouts was the Humboldt cafe run by Selmer and Selma Locken. The Lockens organized the restaurant in the old bank building. It was a great location for a restaurant in the regal old bank building. I remember the wonderful old booths. I can still smell the cooking odors of fries and hamburgers. I had my first elk meat at the restaurant when Kenny Matthew shot an elk in Montana and cooked it at the restaurant for everyone to taste. There was a locker plant next to the restaurant which made it convenient and cheap to serve good meat. Selma and Selmer did not mind having a pack of kids hanging out in the restaurant. Selmer and Selma Locken's daughter Sandra was another attraction at the cafe. Ralph Giffen and I spent all of our small change in the vain hope of winning a ring with a small plastic red stone for a girl we liked in our class. Neither of us were successful in getting the ring or the girl.
Selma Locken made the thickest chocolate malts, but I usually opted for a soda, which we called pop. In those days, small sodas were four cents (6 ounces) and the 10 ounce bottle sold for .10. Another memory I have is having a bottle of Nesbitt orange with Bob Boatz and my Dad in the restaurant. The Humboldt restaurant was replaced by the It Cafe run by Kenny and Jean Voit in the 1960s.
The Baldwin family was perhaps the anchor of the community with an open door policy for all kids. Mark and Joyce Larson Baldwin had the first television set in town which made their home the functional equivalent of our movie theatre.
I remember days when we occupied every square foot of the Baldwin living room. The shows that we loved the most were Davey Crockett, Howdy Doody, and the Mickey Mouse Club. Later, Mark Baldwin and Curt Miller ran the Baldwin/Miller Appliance Business out of a big attractive shop on the Baldwin farm.
We bought our first television in 1957. My memory is that we could get snowy reception from a Valley City station and two Canadian stations. Channel 12 in Pembina went on the air around 1960. Channel 12 had such colorful television personalities as Bo and his Bucaneers. It turned out that Channel 12 was a financial bonanza for a few years because of advertising to the Canadian market. One of the memories I have of appearing on Channel 12 during the Christmas season with our elementary school chorus. Another memory I have is watching the North Dakota State High School Basketball Tournament of 1959. A sophomore from Williston named Phil Jackson (now coach of the Lakers and former Chicago coach). Phil was a 6'8" sophomore who scored 50 plus points in one of the games.
Mrs. Tri's name was Theresa. Tri, Peter Nicholas (P.N.), Prof.
I do not remember what Ree did for a job because I believe he was retired. That was a nice house. The yard was really nice as well.
Keith Finney Farmer.
Michael Rustad I remember Ree often smoked cigars and he dressed well.
The old Humboldt boys (and girls) can sure chew the fat as we used to say. One little honey comment and we have a dissertation about growing up in N.W. Minnesota!