Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Moving on from Kiester (or the Beginning of the End)

Some people are born in a place, and end up staying there for the remainder of their years growing up. Some end up staying there much longer. And then there are those of us who end up moving from place to place during our formative years, adding complexity to an already challenging time in one's life.

My journey on this third rock from the Sun began in rural Minnesota, outside of a small town called Blooming Prairie. Not too long after that, we moved to Oakhurst, a farm outside of the city of Albert Lea. This is the first location that I have memories of. Specifically, it was while living here that I received my first model train set. Thus my love affair with locomotives began.

After a couple of years there, we moved closer to my dad's hometown of Kiester, MN, outside of a small town called Emmons. I remember this location particularly well, because our trailer house was setup on the shores of a small lake, which I thought was awesome. Unfortunately, it was home to many geese, so wasn't fit for swimming or other aquatic activities outside of ice skating in the winter. While living there, I began elementary school at another nearby town, Alden. It wasn't long afterwards that we made our first major move.

Mom and dad took a job at a farm in Geneva, NE, nearly 400 miles away. This move was memorable in that we ended up spending a couple of weeks during the winter holidays at the local motel while we waited for the trailer house to make it to its destination. Since I had already started school in Alden before moving, I had to make my first school transition, leaving friends behind and working on making new ones. I went to school in Geneva until third grade, when we made our next transition, moving about a half-hour south of there to a smaller town called Shickley. We ended up staying there until midway through my fifth grade year. This is where I learned to play the clarinet, which I started the summer before fifth grade. Fortunately, I stuck with it through the next transition.

And with that, it was 400-ish miles back to Minnesota, where we first moved in with my grandparents on the family farm, and I started school in Kiester in the middle of fifth grade. Not long afterwards, we found a house to rent on another farm a few miles away, and ended up staying there until just after my grandfather died, and my grandmother moved into a smaller house in town. We then moved back onto the family farm and stayed there until after my junior year of high school at Kiester (by then merged with another local school, Bricelyn, to form the South Central School system).

Towards the end of my junior year, my father, who had been working on various farms, primarily with hogs, for nearly 20 years, was feeling the toll of all of that dirt and dust on his health. He knew that he had to do something else, and after some time of discernment, made the decision (with my mom, of course) to return to finish college and then go on to seminary to become a Lutheran pastor.

Along with everything else that was going on at the time, I had an important decision to make. I had entertained the idea of continuing Furble remotely, mailing my monthly strips to the newspaper from Blair, NE, where we would eventually end up while dad finished college at Dana College. Ultimately, I made the decision to end the strip before we moved. This ended up being the best decision, as my senior year in Blair was really a year of reinvention for myself, and allowed me to sort of leave everything in Kiester behind, at least until I was ready to revisit aspects of my history there.

And that brings us to the final three weeks of this blog, which encompasses the final 3 months (and change) of the strip.

This week, we take a look at the last five strips of Furble-proper. That'll make more sense next week.

Strip 154/166 - Never stand in the way of vacationing kids

Apparently, Furbulian children have summer break, as well. And apparently Furbulia has summer. Who knew?

Strip 155/166 - More holes. What are they thinking?

Furble, have you no will power? You see a hole, and you just have to jump in? *sigh*

Strip 156/166 - No, no it doesn't.

This was inspired by the beginning of the movie "Labyrinth", as our heroine enters the titular maze and looks down at an endless corridor, unsure of how to proceed. This could take a while.

Strip 157/166 - Who knew it would be that easy?

This was born of my not wanting to leave our heroes stranded in a situation as the strip was coming to an end. I wanted to bring their journey in the maze to a quick end, and this seemed the most absurd way of doing it. Mission accomplished.

Strip 158/166 - One last socially-conscious strip

Just one more socially relevant strip to help bring things to a close for Furble and FC. This was the first and only time that I deviated from the 4-pane comic format, and was pretty much stollen from a similar strip that Watterson used for Calvin and Hobbes.

Next week, we diverge from Furble in an extreme way as the comic strip comes to an end.

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