In the movies, when the long-lost father/mother/brother/sister/whatever crosses paths with their kin, directors show us the visceral connection. Look in their eyes; they know something just happened. Nice for story lines, but no connection to reality.
I spent a couple hours driving through the are where I grew up, and I’m surprised that I was so surprised that nothing felt more than vaguely familiar. Unconsciously, I apparently believed that I’d magically know that if we go down this road a ways, there’d be the old Swenson place, or the Swanson place (one of each) or find the long-gone location of Range School where I went for 1st and 2nd grade (all in one year) when we lived in Amery.
Glenwood City felt a bit familiar, but since that’s where my father was born, not me, it was only because he’d shown us a few locations 35 years ago when we were there.
I’ve been through Baldwin, where I was born, 3 or 4 times as we passed through Wisconsin. It’s never meant anything to me. We didn’t live there, it’s just where the hospital was.
But somehow, I thought I’d find at least one of the 2-room schools I attended; one of the big white farm houses I lived in; one of the long long driveways I walked down to wait, in the snow, for the schoolbus.
Near the end of the drive, before hitting the interstate for St. Paul, we took a short detour, making a left turn at the warning sign: