Isanti’s royalty was on hand to welcome participants of the Jubilee Days Walk-Run event July 9. As I waited for the starting signal for the two-mile walk, queen candidates Olivia and Kirsten came over to chat with me, a total stranger.
I looked at Olivia’s name tag and mentioned an Olivia who lived in Isanti in the 1900s. When I began talking about Olivia Johnson, candidate Olivia said they were not to tell people their last names. She thought I had somehow learned her last name.
A bit confused I said that the historical Olivia Johnson was married to Rudolph Johnson. He was the proprietor of the Isanti Mercantile, a store on the east side of the railroad tracks. It was one of the town’s largest stores that sold groceries, clothing, and hardware. Then I realized the coincidence; both Olivias had the same last name.
The girls were interested to know that they could learn more about Isanti’s earlier days from Preserving A Sense of Heritage, the book I co-authored with Dutch Schoenecker. Olivia said she loves going to Bear Books across the street from where we were standing. She planned to look for it there.
If all of Isanti’s candidates are as charming as Olivia and Kirsten, I’m guessing the judges had a challenge when making their final decisions.