Hey guys, Noah, here.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been taking a creative writing course. Another exercise and question our Professor asked is…”Places I’ve lived…” So here it is, my response to that question.
Places I’ve lived…
1104… Roseau, MN 56751, the house where I grew up.
So many fond memories, and I start to get emotional as I think of all of the generations of Berglands that lived there.
Now it’s someone else’s home, and I hope the house treats them just as well. I believe my Great Grandpa Sam built it, and it was eventually passed down to my Grandparents, Bob and Helen, who raised their six kids within those walls. At least until Grandpa Bob was called to serve our nation in Washington D.C, first as a congressman and then as a cabinet member for President Carter, but it always served as the homestead as at least a portion of the family would stay back.
I remember hearing stories of those days; my aunt Diane was the oldest, so she was in charge of keeping tabs on a couple of her younger siblings who wanted to finish school in Roseau. My Dad once told me that he bought the house from my Grandparents for $30,000, a fraction of what it was worth, I can only assume. Or maybe he bought it from Diane and my uncle Steve…? Regardless it’s been passed down in our Bergland family for a long time.
I think back to Christmas mornings and Easter egg hunts, or the time my brother and I smashed the windows out of Morgan’s playhouse. As we ran by Dad to soften the blow of his foot to our butts, the easy access to the golf course and late-night swims in the ponds while shagging golf balls, building tree forts in the woods, getting poison ivy ten times a summer, and fishing in the river or swimming in it and getting yelled at by Mom.
I will forever cherish the feelings after winding around the mailboxes and seeing this house, and no matter what, it will always feel like home.
University Ave, St. Paul is where I moved to the summer before I started my freshman year at The University of Minnesota.
I was drinking all the time back in Roseau during my final high school days and delaying my plans of moving down with my brother, and finally, my mom saw the writing on the wall and encouraged me to go as soon as possible.
Even though it helped at the time, it only delayed the inevitable, and things only got worse. My brother had just graduated and was on his way out, and I was on my way in for the experience of a lifetime.
It was nice to be on my own and get to know the city. I painted for College Pro Painters in St. Paul and would regularly make drives over to campus to get a lay of the land. I didn’t have many friends at first and was happy when the school year started, and Lars and Gavin moved down.
Stanford Dorm, East Bank, Minneapolis is where I lived my freshman year, but I spent most of my time over in Centennial Hall, where my two high school buddies lived.
My roommates in Stanford both graduated top five in their classes, with a minimum GPA of 4.0; one even finished higher than that. I didn’t stay there very often as I didn’t have similar interests, like studying, so I slept on the couch over at Centennial.
In hindsight, I probably didn’t make the right choice.
Freshman year was pretty much like you see on the movies, party, party, party. It’s amazing that I didn’t have a failing grade that first year. There were a couple of times when people asked if I am still going to school and if I ever studied. Everyone assumed I lived at Centennial Hall, even administration as that is where I got all my drinking violations, I received a notice the last week of school informing me I must move out. As fas as school, I guess what saved me was I didn’t have early classes, and I had next to perfect attendance, I was still fairly reliable at this point.
Dinnaken Apartments, Washington Ave, Minneapolis is the apartment we sublet instead of going home for the summer after freshman year.
I referred to this experience in another post. We almost got kicked out a couple of times throwing parties, we ran off two different roommates, and one of our buddies even joined the military just to get away. We painted hungover during the week, had homeless people buy our booze in exchange for naps on the futon, and the fights became a regular form of entertainment.
It was then time to go back to school, and it’s probably a good thing because we couldn’t have lived that life much longer. Just a short three months literally almost killed us.
South Minneapolis, 58th and Blaisdell is where I lived for the majority of my sophomore year.
I started living there with a friend from high school, and the property was owned by his aunt and uncle. Somewhere along the way, we picked up a straggler, and with him came his girlfriend. They took over my room, as I usually slept on the couch anyway, and then my original roommate moved out, and they moved into the room next.
One thing they forgot to do, however, was pay their portion of the rent. My parents were paying my rent to that wasn’t a problem, but the other half was not being taken care of, and the excuses were piling up. It had gone on long enough, and finally, my original roommate’s aunt and uncle said, “sorry Noah, we let it go for this long because you were paying, but we have to evict you guys.”
I was pissed.
One of my friends came down and helped me move out on the final night, and luckily, I was only a couple of months from moving into my next residence, so they let me move in a little sooner. I moved into their three-season porch, and since there wasn’t a lot of room, I put the majority of my property in a storage unit for a couple of months.
16th and Como, Minneapolis is where I moved to, and this was probably one of the most diverse and fun houses I lived at.
It was one big house that was technically two separate units, but we lived as one big happy family.
We had two gay guys, four or five different nationalities represented, two occupants with expired visas living in the attic in rooms that were neither inspected or approved by the city, a girl that didn’t take shit from anybody, and one crazy-ass white boy (myself) living in the porch.
I was going to move into one of the rooms upstairs, but to lower the cost of rent I decided to let someone else move into my room, I believe we had ten occupants in a six-room apartment, and I took the upstairs three-season porch after I winterized it.
My space consisted of a mattress on the floor that rarely had the proper bedding, a desk, couch, TV, and a space heater. Not sure how I picked up a girlfriend living in this room, I guess it was my charm, but I am glad I did because my heater didn’t do much good in the harsh winter months.
It was in this house that we threw the party that broke the record for the biggest party bust in U of M history, or so the papers said when they called us for statements. There were 317 citations written, consisting of two police barricades and plenty of officers to push everyone inside, and then they wrote tickets one by one as they let them out. I laid in my room (porch) for hours that night until they finally took the door off the hinges and said, “thought we forgot about you, didn’t you?” I finished my junior year somehow and moved on to the next residence.
19th and Como, Minneapolis is where I moved next, just a couple blocks down, right next to Joe’s market.
The Hawaiian pizza was a favorite of ours to order from Joe’s when we had the money. It was my senior year; most people would have slowed down on the partying by now and started to focus on future employment, building a relationship, and becoming an adult.
But I wasn’t concerned with any of that.
The party must go on, I thought.
A daily reminder of this place is my right middle knuckle that is twice the size of my left. I broke it on a guy’s face that called my friend a nigger; a complete stranger had to come out of his house to pull me off; I was changing.
We ended up destroying that house, stopped paying rent three-quarters of the way through because the landlord refused to fix anything, and looking back now, we were in the wrong. It was another damage deposit out the window before I moved to the next.
Raymond Street, St. Paul is the last college house I lived in.
I had to do one more semester to finish up my degree, and I graduated in December of 2008, a few months after I moved in.
I stopped doing drugs as I was about to start interviewing for jobs, and I got an offer from Automatic Data Processing, a job interview my brother lined up for me, as he knew someone that worked there. I wasn’t prepared for the real world, and I didn’t make it long. I got the job, started smoking weed immediately, and found myself at home playing video games more often than going to appointments. This was when the trouble started. I was looking for any reason not to get on with my life, and I found it, it was always there. I started selling drugs. My roommates Frank and Wrin, saw the direction things were going and went on with their lives, and I went another direction.
Brooklyn Park is where I moved to, found a single bedroom apartment that had easy access to both city and a quick route out of town up to North Dakota for my drug runs.
I have documented all of this in previous posts, referred to as “Noah’s Story,” so I won’t go into too much detail. In this apartment is where I lived with Dacotah for a short period, she became pregnant and gave me an ultimatum. I chose the life, not her and my daughter. I was very foolish.
The Pinnacle Apartments, Downtown Minneapolis is the worst year of my life; it was 2011.
I weighed less than 170 pounds; I got raided, I failed at yet another job opportunity presented by my brother. I knew I was going to prison. I was in the grips of a terrible drug addiction that I didn’t see very many possibilities on how to get out.
This was supposed to be the happiest year of my life, my daughter Melrose was born, but I hated myself.
Lynn’s Farm, East Grand Forks is where I moved to when I finally did get out.
I had had enough and wanted to do whatever I could to spare what life I did have left.
I lived there for close to a year, was able to be in my daughter’s life regularly, and started to work a steady job. That was disrupted by my indictment in 2012. I lost my job due to the press coverage on my case and eventually moved back up to Roseau.
I guess life came full circle when I moved back to 1104…Roseau, MN 56751.
I was happy to see it.
All of the craziness in my life was finally gone.
The nice car turned into a 1992 Buick Regal; the smartphone became a flip phone, $1,500 a month 500 square foot apartment became living with mom where I could catch up on bills and prepare for prison.
Looking back, I could have done more and certainly should have drunk less. That’s life, though; hindsight is always 20/20.
I am not going to put Milan FCI (Federal Correctional Institution) or Yankton FPC (Federal Prison Camp), as a place I have lived because this isn’t home.
It’s just a temporary residence until I can get to Minnetonka, where my mom and Melrose are, my future, and my second chance.