In which I become old and sappy

Berlin, North Dakota
Berlin, North Dakota. A Google Maps view of the small town where my father’s father grew up, and where my grandfather’s father is buried. I remember stopping by here on a family road trip out West a couple decades ago. I thought it was cool. Big land, big sky. And it was also awkward. The town had, as I recall, a population of 38 or so. Nothing happening. Dad was getting all sappy and wistful about this place, where he’d never spent much time anyway. It was nice for a bit, seeing Grandpa’s old stomping grounds, the school, the gym where he played basketball. But I eventually I got to thinking, come’on, y’know, let’s get to the Tetons already. At least Mount Rushmore or something. This place is windy and tired. And now I’ve gotten to an age where I want to go back and sort of wander around. Walk through some fields and daydream about where I came from and the generations that got me here.

2 thoughts on “In which I become old and sappy

  1. I know the feeling. My parents (and their parents) come from a little (almost incestuous) town called Lucky, Ohio. It seems like all my aunts and uncles have been dating since junior high. About the only business left in the town today is a funeral home. I take that back, there is a plumbing shop with a little “Lucky, OH Museum” in the back room — they want the gun my parents own that some local legend used to shoot a bank robber decades ago. But despite its quirks and its lack of excitement, I still have a fondness for it and a longing to explore it.

  2. Funny how I can be nostalgic about a place I barely experienced — less than 24 hours in Berlin, total. I’ve been to mom’s heritage place (New Orleans) a million times and don’t feel nearly the curiosity. Maybe it’s the small-town thing that piques my interest more.

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