On March 15, 2005 on a farm in Venango, Nebraska, 14-year-old Brandenn Bremmer — Gifted and promising — held a .22 caliber varmint rifle to his head and pulled the trigger. He didn’t die immediately. When his parents found him he was still breathing. Brandenn’s body was airlifted to Denver, Colorado where his organs were harvested over the next two days.

Brandenn’s suicide haunts Nebraska and the rumors and facts were sketchy for outsiders but if you were from Nebraska and you knew about the loneliness and isolation of living on a farm near a village with 165 people you can’t help but know Brandenn’s death should have been anticipated and avoided. In the January 18, 2006 edition of The New Yorker, author Eric Konigsberg writes a spectacular 25,000 word piece on Brandenn — Prairie Fire: The Life and Death of a Prodigy
— that brings new flames to feet of how Gifted children are educated in America.

I urge you to read the piece if you want to better comprehend how a smart life like Brandenn’s could so carelessly and easily careen into a dumb end. Brandenn graduated from high school at age 10 by using a self-study distance learning high school diploma program meant for those seeking a technical vocation and not a college track.

Brandenn’s fast-paced high school homeschooling did not prepare him for a hoped for pre-med studies program he needed in order to become an anesthesiologist. Britney Spears was in his “graduating class.”

At age four Brandenn’s I.Q. tested at 146 and a year later he scored 178 on I.Q. test that is not widely used. When Brandenn was being tested he would try to leave the room when he didn’t know the answer to a question. That behavioral mark of seeking an escape when faced with the unknown would point to a more disturbing end a decade later. There is no doubt Brandenn was smart.

He had an ethereal intelligence. He was well-liked. He did well on tests. When, however, he did not do well in music theory, he withdrew. When he did not know how to write a Community College term paper with proper citations, he withdrew.

When, at the end of his life, he was facing self-expressed depression and the prospect that, just perhaps, he might not have been as “Gifted” in all areas as he had been led to believe by the caregiving adults around him, he withdrew a final time with a rifle shot to the head. It doesn’t help community healing today that some of those adults closest to Brandenn now believe he killed himself in order to help others live through his donated organs.

That excuse misjudges the jagged edge of reality that isolation kills and suicide is a selfish, not a selfless, act of revenge aimed at those who percolated a controlling desire against the expression of unpopular realities. Isolation kills slowly and mordantly on three levels — emotional, intellectual and social — and it kills even faster when levels are combined and compounded.

Gifted children, by default of their gift, are emotionally and intellectually isolated from their peers. They feel and understand the world with a maturity that is foreign and peculiar to other young minds. When social isolation is added to the mix and the Gifted are only in the company of adults — especially only their parents — and not their peers on a daily basis, danger begs the horizon.

All children — Gifted and Ordinary and Intellectually Challenged — need the constant stimulation of each other to find the stable viscosity of human equilibrium. Gifted children enjoy interacting with other children and they can learn social skills and other talents from children who are Gifted in ways beyond the mind.

That social peer group bartering for information and bargaining with experience is an important tool for understanding how one fits into a life. When that vital element of interaction goes unclaimed a deep and severing isolation from the world results and a shallow self-esteem becomes the loose, lonely, unavoidable, unbearable, result.

Gifted children should not be removed from the mainstream classroom. Separation from social peers sentences them into a suffering against their gifts.

To remove the genius mind from interacting with the ordinary mind is to punish both with isolation from the intrinsic merits of the other and the end result tempts the dimming of the bright and the glowering of the ordinary at the blunt end of a rifle.

56 Comments

  1. From personal experience I can atest to burden of isolation that often accompanies intellect. I am no where on the level of the sad story of Brendan, however many of the elements of piece rang true. Throughout much of elementary and middle school I was effectively alone, not knowing how to connect with my peers. I avoided all programs all for ‘gifted’ students because I feared of being different, of being treated special. Later I realized that no matter how hard I tried to fit in I would always be labeled as the ‘smart’ kid. This kind of label is difficult to escape from and stunts social and emotional growth. I wasnt encouraged to develop other aspects of my perssonality, leaving them to flounder in isolation until later in life. I craved friends, but found it difficult to connect as I wasnt interested in the same things my peers were. I became lonely and withdrawn, fortunately I did not meet Brendan’s fate. This continued through high-school, I accelerated academically yet developed few friends. The friends I did have were only in the context of school, I was unable to extend those relationships to my private life. In colllege, I had the opportunity to connect with people who shared my abilities, however I found it difficult to forge new relationships. I encountered feelings of anxiety and fear in social situations. I did not participate in many of the crucial social skill lessons that most children learn through interactions with other children, thus these social experiences were new and challenging. I experience ongoing bouts with depression and am struggling to define myself as a social person to expand my self-image beyond that childhood label of the ‘smart’ guy.

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  2. Hi Jonathan!
    Your comment was cut off — that happened to someone else here last night — I don’t know why that is happening. I just optimized my WordPress database to see if that will help matters but please repost the rest of your thought and if, for some reason, the system won’t post it email it to me via regular email or by using the Contact form.
    I understand your isolation and I feel for you. I think you were smart to stay away from the Gifted programs. I think they ruin more than help. Testing for the program is also curious and varied — one school’s Gifted is another’s ordinary. It was good for you to make your own way and realizing you might not think like everyone else should have been celebrated in a way you found welcoming and comforting because to deny your great intelligence is to deny yourself.

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  3. Okay, Jonathan! Your re-post was accepted by WordPress — this is what I risk using a stable WordPress release and an early K2 beta. I think the tables optimization worked for now…
    Now I have read the rest of your comment…
    Your self-realization must be painful but welcome that as a mark of being alive. I want to take you out on a football field and rough you up a bit just to get you to taste some of your own blood and smell how the field reeks of rotting bodies and other dead things.
    😀
    The fact you are aware of and accepting of your gifts and deficits is a terrific thing.
    Working beyond the lonely and the lonesome in person will likely always challenge you, but sometimes virtual relationshaping can later help coax the real time, in person, relationship:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/11/10/virtual-relationshaping/
    Just remember you are not alone here and a smart mind and stupid social skills are part of the whole package that creates the entire being.
    Shout if you need anything and especially if you’re feeling overly blue or down.

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  4. David-
    Your words are always too kind and encouraging, thank you ;).
    Yes, ‘virtual relationshiping’ provides a safe, comfortable world to forge connections that would otherwise not be possible in life. I definetely feel that my virtual relationships have encouraged growth in my ‘real’ life. I am fortunate to have a science ‘family’ in my lab and a loving girlfriend to provide meaningful contact in the flesh. Coming out my my shell will definetely be a lifetime process.

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  5. What do you think about “tracking” either deliberately by school officials or selectively by course selection?
    I always felt that there were three “tracks” in school: one for kids headed to college, one for the other kids who were going to graduate without college plans, and one for kids destined to drop out when they turned 16.
    Part of tracking in high school came from course selection. Once you were in certain courses, especially anything with a “II,” you were often away from the kids who didn’t care or who caused problems. The only time there were “mixed” classes were required classes like gym or health.
    When I was in high school, I was surrounded by a core of 45-65 of the same classmates year after year who were following a list of suggested college prep course. When I graduated, I looked around the auditorium and realized there were faces I didn’t recognize because I had never had a class with them.
    The course list wasn’t a secret. It was included with the course registration packet.
    My group of classmates and I selected similar classes year after year. I attended a large high school, but it could have been 100 people because it seemed like I was always surrounded by the same small core group of students.

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  6. Jonathan, I can understand the feelings of isolation and difficulties in making friends. I think everyone goes through that at certain time. I’ve felt isolated at different times in my life.
    They key I’ve found to overcoming any anxiety about social situations is to always be willing to smile and ask questions. People are all the same and always love to talk about themselves.
    When I was younger, I was always afraid to approach people I didn’t know.
    I was a journalism major in college, so I was cured of that feeling by exposure to many different people. I learned that most people are pretty cool and are usually are friendly. I found that carrying a camera would guarantee that people would come up to me to ask to take their pictures. Most people enjoy having some attention paid to them.
    After a while, it became second nature to be able to start up conversations with random people about a variety of topics.
    My job puts me in contact with people who aren’t happy to see me, but I’ve found that being confident, calm and empathetic can defuse the most hostile person.
    One exercise to gain confidence and to reach out to others is to always strike up conversations with cashiers and other people at service jobs.
    It makes their day brighter because most people ignore customer service workers or are demanding. It’s a good way to develop ways to connect with people in a short period of time using “small talk.” Pretty soon, when you go to buy bread or fill your gas tank, the cashier who was just taking your money becomes a friendly face that adds light and joy to your day.
    These lessons can then be converted to other areas of your life, whether at work or in the social realm.

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  7. Jonathan —
    Believe me I feel with you in the social skills arena and I am uncomfortable in groups of people that number more than two (me and one other person!). It’s part of my stake in life:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/06/24/mark-of-the-intj-rational-mastermind/
    I have found asking questions helps when you are stuck with people you don’t know at a party or in a classroom. My favorite question to ask is “What are your dreams?” Everyone can answer that question on any level they wish to conquer and the answers are always stunning and surprising.
    One of the first assignments I give to my English Comp students is to ask their parents that question and write about their response. The students never asked their parents about their dreams before and they are always amazed by the responses they get back. They had no idea how deep and wanting their parents were right before their eyes!

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  8. Chris —
    “Track” and “Tracking” are two different concepts in formal talk about education so I’ll take your point and use “track” for this response.
    I am in favor of tracks. Not all students are meant to go to college and, as a society, we need garbage men and sewer works just as much as we need scientists and lawyers.
    😀
    Meeting the student at the level of what’s best for the student — not what’s easiest for the system — is the vital step that many schools miss. Too early and too often students are put on an early “track” that doesn’t fit them as they age and mature. Tracks need constant monitoring and modification.
    My mother taught 4th grade for 30 years and one of the music teachers in her school would move students into her own “tracks” based only on her ability to perceive their musical ability — at age 9 — in a public school! That kind of division serves no greater purpose except making it easier on the teacher to use the system to ignore the untalented or those needing extra attention to find their musical discovery. Telling 9 year-olds they are already “washed up” musically is cruel and benefits no one except those doing the telling.
    The Gifted classes have traditionally pulled students into really small “one room schoolhouse” experiences where they are taught all day long in all subjects by one teacher in a class size of 3-4. That may look good on paper, but in reality it needlessly isolating.
    You gave Jonathan excellent advice and I am taking it all to heart as well. Thank you!

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  9. You make writing the posts every day worthwhile, Chris! I love it when the comments are better than what I write.
    Don’t worry about typos — they don’t count when you don’t have edit access to what you write.
    😀

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  10. A difficult topic, David. I appreciate knowing about Brandenn. I will look for Eric’s article. I had the same kind of disconnecting isolation growing up. I’m not sure that feeling is limited to only Nebraska.

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  11. Hi Simmering —
    I believe you grew up in the Southwest, right? I completely understand about feelings of isolation and disconnection growing up but in the Midwest, especially Nebraska, there is something haunting and cold about growing up in the dust bowl plains.
    There is hardiness in the older generation that comes off as distant and cold to the younger generation — you don’t need anyone but yourself – that’s fine when it’s you against mother nature but when it’s you against the fertile land, the land overwhelms your being.
    That pioneer spirit is fine and our country bled on it for awhile in our history, but as a means of communicating with young people who are desperate to connect to their community and the world around them that hardiness can kill.

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  12. Well, Simmering, that’s an interesting question. I think most Nebraska-born people have a hardness in them because you need to be hard to cope with the heat and cold extremes. You have to be hard against both the sun and the moon and the stars and the wind and the dirt and the rain and that makes you really hard against all things.
    Nebraskans are taught to always be warm and friendly — but beneath the politeness is a hard core that doesn’t change much.

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  13. Yeah, it sounds like Brandenn was broken by expectation. It might have been nice if he had learned how to bend a little by being a little wrong or a little less good. Maybe things would have turned out a little different.

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  14. I think you’re right on it, Simmering.
    Our discussion has reminded me of an old saying in Nebraska that if you hear someone was killed in a one car accident — driving off a bridge; crashing into an interstate underpass; spinning out into a ditch and rolling over — it was a suicide and not an accident. It’s more honorable to die alone in a car “crash” because it preserves your family’s honor: It was a bad car, not a bad person.

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  15. The points on social isolation raised here resonate with me, but I have nothing to add to them.
    So instead, I want to ask, in an INTJ kind of way, about this: “[…] that brings new flames to feet of how Gifted children are educated in America.”
    Flames to feet? What the (bipedal) blazes is that?
    I tried googling it with quotes around, but that turns up only four sites … all of which seem to serve an interest in feet that is, well, not etymological in nature. So could you explain this turn of phrase please?

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  16. Gulli —
    Thanks for the question about “flames to the feet” because it is a twist on an old American West turn-of-phrase.
    First, we start with the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary definition of “hotfoot” because that’s where the genesis of the twist begins:

    Main Entry: hotfoot
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural hotfoots
    Etymology: 1hot foot
    1 : a practical joke in which a match is surreptitiously inserted in the side of a victim’s shoe and lighted
    2 a : a stinging rebuke : INSULT, TAUNT b : GOAD, SPUR

    So that’s where the idea starts and then you can see the more common phrase that has become an American stereotype if you do a Google search on “hold your feet to the flames” …
    My twist calls the stereotype by recalling the hotfoot original with the “flames to feet” and I thank you for bringing up the topic in case others are wondering what the blazes is up as well!

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  17. In just the few seconds it’s taken me to read this I have completely changed my mind about homeschooling my children. I have an IQ of 187, the test I took was Mensa, if that means anything. My social problems in school had more to do with the fact that my chest inflated to a DD when I was 10, I studied martial arts instead of playing netball or hockey, and I read high performance and import car magazines instead of the latest celebrity gossip. It didn’t help that one of the top students turned to me in front of the whole class and said “Your never going to be anything other than another dumb -n word-”. I felt so out of place and alone, I’d spend a lot of nights crying and begging my Mum not to send me back the next day. Things became too much for me, and I finally convinced my Mum to let me drop out. I left just after turning 17, and went straight onto a chefs course. Every year I celebrate that day, 28th of October. Suddenly I was being treated like an individual with more than a few brain cells to run together to get a spark. I loved it, and I finished the course with honors. I had to get up at 6am to catch a ride to course, a 40min drive, and I had to sit around till 9am when class actually started. I had to wait around for 3 or 4 hours afterwards so I could catch the same ride home. But I loved it. When I finally moved into town I met the “boyracers”, which is a group of people with hotted up cars who do little more than talk about cars. I was in heaven. I finally had found people who liked the whole me, who respected the whole me. But when I was attacked, I ran away, I was gone for about 6 months. That’s how I ended up online. It is here that I find people who don’t care what I look like. I find great comfort in that.

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  18. Community and belonging are important to the proper development of young minds, krome.obsession, and you unfortunately found that out firsthand in the most painful possible way: By being ostracized and wounded by your direct peer group.
    There can be an irrevocable psychic break when that happens, but you made that pain into something better and stronger within you and I’m certain it was your great rational mind that helped you through the emotional trauma.
    I thank you for sharing your story here because I am sure there are many lurkers reading your words who felt and experienced the same sort of pain in their lives and your successes are a wonderful testimony that life can be found in the goodness of the right people.

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  19. I made a mistake in my previous comment, I should have said just before turning 17, not after.
    I agree with your remark about suicide being an act of revenge, but from another perspective it is the last desperate act of seeking the most simple idea of freedom. I remember a bright young guy, my brothers best friend actually. He took his life as an act of revenge against his mother. She told him to kill himself, and then said he was too weak to even archive that. She tried to say that he was a confused and lost young man who took his own life to end the suffering he was going through. That’s completely untrue. He had a promising job, a loving partner, and many friends. She simply didn’t want her work colleges to know that she abused her children, after all, it doesn’t look good working for the local courts as the head of the family abuse support sector if you yourself abuse your own family.
    I went through problems with suicide, of course it must be mentioned that this was directly influenced by server bipolar episodes. I wanted to escape the cage I felt, a cage that didn’t exist anywhere except within my mind. The reason I mention this here is that I’d like to make this point. Being selfish is about being concerned chiefly or only with ones self. While I was in that bad place I couldn’t see anything past myself. I couldn’t have been anything other than selfish because I couldn’t fathom anything other than a very tiny space around me. I’m not giving excuses for what happened, far from it. I think that if people realised the damage that can be caused by neglecting emotional development, then maybe they’d be more willing to reach out to others. The reason I write about these such things in my blog is because I hope someone will read it and know that they’re not alone, but even more than that, that they’ll know the sun will rise and it’s going to be a better day. Maybe not tomorrow, but it’ll happen.

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  20. Chris-
    Thanks for the comraderie and encouragement. I certainly take solace hearing those who have eperienced some of things I struggle with. Yes, tapping into random strangers for brief interactions is a nice way to reach out to people. Whenever I get a smile from a stranger it makes my day :)! At times, I have been so gripped by anxiety that I find it hard to ask where the nearest restroom from somebody on the street. Thanks for the tips.

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  21. David-
    Yes, I have scored similarly on the personality ‘tests’ that I have taken…..rational introverts are the most interesting people once you get them out of their shell :)!
    Questions definetely help to get things going, asking the first one isn’t always easy. Its about comfort for me; once I reach a certain comfort level I become more extroverted. It takes time to build a relationship to that point.

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  22. The gifted have a hard time mainly because other people resent them for their results or the facility with which they pick up new concepts. Either they become introverted or disruptive. I was mostly disruptive, and spent a lot of time being punished.
    There’s a vicious circle that gets created around a gifted disruptive child. Teachers are dismayed that one of the best in the class does the least work and sets a bad example because he can catch up quickly. So then you get “marked” by peers and teachers alike. Every time you open your mouth after that, you can be sure you will be censured more strongly than anyone else, so you feel you become a victim.
    That’s what happened to me, anyway…
    -Fruey

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  23. krome.obsession —
    I understand your argument, but suicide is difficult for me to see as anything other than a selfish act that does not protect the self and hurts everyone else.
    Suicide may be seen as a way out, but it is a coward’s path and I accept the unstable mind does not see that fact in the midst of the decision to live or die but for those of us who are cogent and aware and tender, the brutality of the decision is everlasting.
    I will be addressing the issues of suicide in a future post and I thank you for your insight into this troubling matter from your personal experience.

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  24. Hi Jonathan —
    I am with you!
    Our inability to connect with those outside our minds is precisely what gives us tremendous insight into the world. The matter of that disconnect between the theoretical and the real will always be a struggle for us.
    The expression of that melancholy struggle is important. Keeping that unresolved conflict inside and unexpressed leads to dark imaginings.
    Risk feeling emotionally vulnerable. Risk being interpersonally dumb. That sort of risk is the only way to force us into using the dead parts of us back into the world of the living.

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  25. fruey —
    I’m sorry to hear you had such a hard and lonely experience. I, too, had the same sort of problem, but the issue was not with me/you — the problem was one of environment where we were not set free to examine and challenge all our thoughts and beliefs. When those important parts of being are unexamined, frustration and acting out soon follow.
    I found my public school experience to be a prison in every way. I was stuck with many peers I despised because of their lack of prescience, motivation and fiery need to get out of the Midwest.
    I attended to a blue collar high school — there’s nothing wrong with blue collars — but when you have higher aspirations and dreams than working the next 30 years at the Goodyear Rubber plant up the block — you have been set, by circumstance and neighborhood alone (at that time where you lived required your attendance at a particular high school – now there is student choice in attending a specialty high school), against a powerful and stoic value system of mindless suffering that wants to punish you for trying to escape the same fate.
    I found freedom at the university level but not right away. My first year at UNL, I took all the recommended intro classes but did not do well. In my final three years I only took senior level and graduate level classes and I finally came into my own as both theory and practicality and facts and wondering were all blended into the requirements of productive thinking for the courses.
    Oh, how I wish I had that style of learning the first 13 years of my public education!

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  26. Something I thought to mention about suicide, especially with regards to the effect it can have on others, is the chain reaction it can sometimes cause. There have been several times in my life when I’ve stayed up for days on end watching friends of mine because we were worried they’d try to “follow”. You be surprised how long you can go without sleep if you feel the need to, longest I’ve been awake for is seven nights. The guilt that it leaves behind is something that people feel for the rest of forever. Even today my brother feels guilty about his friends death, as if he could have saved him. I’ve tried to explain to him that it’s not that simple, that you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. You see, what truly saved me was when I asked for help. People had tried to prevent me from going down that road but I refused to believe it. It wasn’t until I saw how bad things had gotten, when I “woke up” to the reality of what was happening. It’s a pity they don’t make a pill for that .. the red pill or the blue pill?

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  27. You make an excellent point, krome.obsession, and I admire you for sticking with your friends in their time of need.
    Suicide is a forever stain against everyone who knew the dead and the act can never be wished away.

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  28. Hi Jonathan,
    I’m glad you like the tips.
    They work wonders for any kind of social anxiety.
    The most important thing to realize is that there is usually nothing much to fear in most social circumstances. Talking to random people, especially in places where they expect a certain level of conversation with guests, is a good way to become desensitized.
    The same thing occurs with public speaking — if you are fearful of being somewhere with all eyes looking at you, the best way to overcome it is to start speaking to groups of people. Any fears you may have disappear after a few times.
    The other great thing about taking to people around you is that it expands your network of friends and acquaintances beyond your usual social crowd.
    I used to rush in an out of stores like a commando on a mission when I was younger.
    One day I decided to joke with one of the cashiers who was waiting to go on break at the grocery store. I could tell she was steaming because she wanted to go on break. I told her I’d take over for her and she could take the day off, if she wanted. She smiled and her demeanor changed from being visibly mad to being somewhat cheerful.
    Ever since then, if she sees me, she asks if I’ll take over for her. It’s an inside joke, but it’s one that makes the shopping experience friendlier and pleasant. It’s also nice to be acknowledged and recognized.
    The nice thing about talking to the people around you is that you start to develop a sense of community.
    I’ve never really felt like I’ve had a home town because of being an Army brat. My family moved about every three years until I started high school, then I started moving myself when I entered college, then went to law school. Friends came and went. When I was younger, it wasn’t uncommon for best friends to move unexpectedly. It was the military way of life.
    I’ve been in one place for the longest I’ve ever been: almost 10 years this year! I still don’t feel connected to where I live and don’t know if I ever really will feel some deep sense of connection. My wife doesn’t feel connected here either — we just ended up where we live by fate.
    Talking to people when I’m out and about helps foster a sense of belonging to a community.
    So many people are in a hurry and are closed off to human interaction, that it’s hard to make connections these days. It seems like people pull out of their garage in the early morning, go to work all day, come home and pull back into their garage to never be seen until the next morning. Even church is like that — a place where you’d expect people to try to be social. People bail out of the pews and rush to their cars immediately after the service has ended. Nobody sticks around to get to know anyone these days.
    My wife and I were out shopping the other night. One of the cashiers that we always talk to had gotten off from work and was waiting in the store. She made a point of saying hello and asking how were were doing. Little things like that make me feel like I belong to a place.
    It’s the same reason why people always go to the same diner for breakfast every morning, or to the same bar after work.
    Owning property or working in a city doesn’t make any sort of psychic connection for me.
    It’s the people in the neighborhoods and stores that make a place feel like home.

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  29. Beautiful message, Chris! You gave Jonathan, and everyone, some wonderful pointers!
    The reverse can also be true. I remember one time at UNL I was stressed out about something and I went and paid for a sandwich without really paying attention to the transaction and when I reached out to collect my change, the older cashier held my money just out of reach so I’d have to look up at her to find her hand.
    I reached for my change again and she pulled it back just enough so I’d look up to her and meet her in the eye.
    She smiled and looked me right in the eye and warmly said, “It’ll be alright.”
    She gave me my change and I hustled out of there, embarrassed and feeling caught with emotion etched on my face. I was usually better at hiding my feelings!
    Her unrequited kindness that day still touches me today even though I didn’t have the guts to ever go back to that sandwich shop again after being so beautifully exposed.

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  30. I never even heard about this before, but I gotta tell ya. You have written this piece with sensitivity, compassion and such kindness, and it all comes through in your words.
    A damn good article. Well done!

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  31. Lol, you’re welcome David. If I could make a statement with words like you did with this article, I’d be happy. It’s so nice in todays world to see that some people do have good writing skills.
    Not to be mean because many people do make the effort, but I come across a blog every now and again, who’s written skills are so bad, it makes me wonder how they even started a blog at all.
    For me to see a blog like yours, and understand what you are trying to say as well as having it make an impact on me is very nice.
    And no, I’m not fishing for compliments LOL.

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  32. I really appreciate your support, Dawn. Sometimes in the long nights and the early mornings one wonders if what is being posted here has resonance beyond the single self.
    Your message confirms, for you at least, that what I’m doing here does have some significance sometimes for others and that is invaluable and it soldiers me on to new things and different ideas.
    I enjoy your blog as well and no, I didn’t get caught on your hook!
    😀

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  33. Eustace Google: The strange, sad case of Brandenn Bremmer…

    [Note: I’ve been adding to this post as new discussions of Konigsberg’s piece and the Bremmer case appear on the web.]I’m interested to see what people are saying about “Prairie Fire,” the Letter From Nebraska by Omaha nat…

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  34. Hi, I read your article years later, but I like your take on it. I do think one of the reasons he was depressed was because of the nature of Nebraska and the lack of connection there is out here for young people. I grew up and still live in SouthWest Nebraska, not far from where Brandenn was from. I have found Nebraska NOT to be an overly friendly place. Lot’s of cowboys, poverty, and alcoholics. It’s hard to find beauty out here. I’ve also gone through phases of depression, people are hard to connect with here and the winters stretch on. I’ve lived in the Lincoln/Omaha area as well and it was mostly the same atmosphere, just more expensive. I like to be surrounded by the arts, music, culture, excitement and Nebraska just doesn’t do it for me. Thank your for your well written article.

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