I can’t remember ever knowing who I am or believing I belong.
Moving story, bro, but what’s your point? A lot of people occasionally wonder who they are. We all sometimes feel out of place.
Right. But I mean I have no idea who I am. I mean I have never (literally not ever) felt like I belong among other humans. Oh, and sometimes when I’m trying to figure out that stuff I feel like part of me was from Duluth — from this place — long before I started living here. That’s pretty weird.
I come from people who lived in Duluth for a while and loved it and contributed to it and died and are buried in dirt here. My maternal great-grandpa, George Beck, was Duluth Central principal for about 30 years, then helped found WDSE-TV. Mom grew up in McGregor and often came over on the train to visit him and great-grandma (Leila) Beck. Mom got a Duluth Business University degree and worked at the air base for a while. Dad graduated from UMD in 1970, the same year I was conceived at 927 West Fifth Street. Great-grandma died in ’81; Great-grandpa went in ’91; their bodies are at Forest Hill Cemetery.
When my mind was forming itself, Mom and Dad brought my younger brother and I here a few times. They also told us a lot of stories about this place: Mom’s tempting, terrifying girlhood dream about diving into the canal; Dad and some college buddies — they’d gone to watch a storm — helping authorities haul up the body of a diver who died trying to rescue two doomed boys from currents between the canal’s piers; Mom going downtown for movies and snacks and shopping with her grandma, and gazing over The Lake from Central’s clock tower with her grandpa; Dad’s UMD professors (some stuffy, some hip) and roommates (rowdy); and on and on.