Exerts07By the turn of the century my grandmother’s family had homesteaded in Minnesota,
and she was born there in a log cabin; within five years her father had
constructed a ‘big house’ for his brood, as well as a post office and
store. He named the whole complex after his first-born son. My father
too dreamed of building his own home, and he and my mother moved
after their marriage into a tiny place known as the ‘pink house,’ where
they began a painstaking renovation. But work slowed as he began to
sicken, and he died without completing the job. Within five years of
his death the state had seized the property to make room for a new
freeway. As children, we devised a game in memoriam for our house:
whenever we rode that route we would try to guess the exact moment
at which we were crossing over what had been our living room, or,
depending on the lane we were in, our back yard. We lost those
bearings too as years passed. But Leonard, Minnesota, can still be
found on the map.

– from Somewhere in the Eighties (essay)