The Rock Story
By the Swanson Family
Gilbert L. Swanson ’42
Louise Johnson Swanson ’43
Susan Swanson Foster ’68
David Swanson ’69
Paul Swanson ’71
Tom Swanson ’73
As told by Susan
On my morning walk from Valley View to the cafeteria for breakfast a helpful Gustie joined me by Old Main and told me a group of guys had decided that the rock was a stupid tradition and they were going to bury it that night. I said, “don’t do that, it gives the kids something to paint without painting on the sidewalks or buildings.” He said, “We are
going to do it anyway.”
“Ok, you do that and I’ll have a rock back here by Thursday,” I said. His response was something like, “Yeah, right.” I just insisted that if they buried the old one, I would have a new one put in it’s place.
The next morning I was on my way to breakfast and I stopped and looked, and out loud said, “They did it. I can’t believe they actually did it!” I then continued on to breakfast. After class I called my Dad, Gib Swanson, and said, “Do you remember the rock by Old Main that people paint?” “Yeah, why?” Some guys buried it and I told the guy who told me they were going to bury it that I’d have a new one there by Thursday.
“OK, you don’t give me much time, do you?” Sorry, I didn’t really think they would bury it. “Let me see what I can find and I’ll call you back. How big do you want it?”
Later, back at the dorm, Dad called and said, well, Tom and I found a big one, but when I loaded it, the truck stood on end, so Tom helped me find a smaller one. OK, so, what did you find, how big is it? About 4 ton, I think. Dad, I think it will be just fine. Ok, I’ll put a tarp over it and Paul can drive it down to Gustavus. I said, when he gets here, have him find David in Sorenson, he can tell him where to park.
Paul drove down to St. Peter, David had him park behind the old field house. The boys checked security and found out they go off duty at 2:00 am. Then they found some Gusties to help, and sat down to wait. About 2 am they went and got the truck, drove it down the sidewalk to where the rock used to be. Paul or David backed the truck so all they had to do was lift the dump. Then the guys stood around and discussed where it should go. One said, “What if it rolls downhill and hits Holly’s (Lloyd Hollingsworth’s) house?” And just about that time the rock started to slide and landed right where it still sits today. Well, we can’t move it now, so I guess we’d better move the truck. Paul took it back behind the field house and the guys, with red paint painted Sue in large letters, then each of them painted their initials on the rock.
The next morning on my way to breakfast I got a look at “the Rock” and grinned. The same Gustie who warned me about the first rock came up and said, “I didn’t believe you would do it!”
I said, “I told you I would, and I did.”