One resident, numerous anecdotes
Name: Jake Gauslow
Where we found him: Community Education Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting
Where did you grow up? I grew up in a very small town south of Fargo, North Dakota. My address was Walcott, the closest town was Christine, and I went to school in Abercrombie/Colfax.
How small are we talking? Any of the towns I mentioned were maybe 100 people. My school pulled from most of the towns nearby and was probably 300 or so kids, K-12.
Was Rochester your first move? No. I went to school in Iowa and South Dakota, lived in the Cities for a while, and then moved to Texas for about seven years.
For a job? Sort of. My girlfriend at the time—then fiancée, then wife, now ex-wife—got a job there, so we moved together. We both ended up going to grad school there. That’s where I got my first library job. I ended up moving to Rochester for the job here.
What lessons did divorce teach you? Ours was really not typical at all. Like we’re actually still good friends. The marriage situation just wasn’t quite working for us. We still talk pretty regularly. From what I understand, that’s not how it generally goes. But we never did a whole lot of things in a typical fashion.
Impressions of Texas? As a whole, it’s a very red state, but most of the places I ended up and the people I ended up knowing were more liberal, so it depends on where you are. Some things, I loved about it. Like they say, everything is bigger in Texas—and Texas is very interested in Texas. It’s got such an iconic shape; the image of Texas is on everything, down to Texas-shaped nachos at the state fair.
Impressions of Rochester? When we moved back to Minnesota, I thought Rochester was a stepping stone to get back up to the Cities. Now I love the library—my job is great, the people I work with are great, I like helping people. Since the divorce, I started dating and my girlfriend is from Rochester. We just bought a house. It’s kind of funny. I didn’t expect [living here] to be a permanent thing, but it’s definitely grown on me and I’ve found a lot of reasons to stay.
How’s home ownership? Growing up, on a farm especially, it was like, “Sorry, Dad. I don’t have any interest in farming. This is not what I’m going to end up doing.” Now I’ve been in the house for three months and I’m all about ‘I’m going to have a garden and plant all this stuff and keep bees.’ I’m immediately turning my backyard into some kind of farm. I know it’s ridiculous.
You’re drawn to the land. There’s something really cool about making things and knowing how to do things. I don’t think anyone in the world could be self-sufficient. No one person can do everything on their own. But it’s cool that I know how to grow food. I know how to fix this thing when it breaks.
Tell me about your tattoos? A lot of them have marked some kind of occasion or thing that happened in my life. This Tardis and Texas, it’s the beginning of the libraries chapter of my life. This Thundercats one—when I was a kid, that was my favorite show. These two are my cats, Oksana and Guinevere. They have super pretentious names.
What’s that one, written up your arm? My last name. That’s interesting and complicated. When I was 23, I found out the dad I grew up with was not my biological dad. It was sort of a complicated time in my family in general. My parents ended up getting divorced. I’ve since met my biological dad, who lived only five miles away, again, in a small town. … I remember this weird moment, that day that I found out. I was washing my hands, and seeing that tattoo—my dad’s name—in the mirror, having just found out that he was not my biological dad.
Wow. Yeah. But I have like five parents now. … The dad I grew up with forever is still my dad. When it was all happening, I was trying to reassure him: You’ve been my dad for 23 years at this point. You have earned that title. I just have another dad over here as well.
Did your biological dad know you were his son? He did not. He also found out at about that time. Whether or not I had a relationship with him, I knew I at least needed to meet this person. … I’m glad it turned out like it did and now I just have a really big family.
Scariest moment? I had a spontaneous pnueumothorax when I was about 17. Essentially it’s when your lung collapses for no discernible reason. It just goes. My chest hurt, my arm hurt. I was at school, walking from band to lunch, and doing nothing, basically. All of a sudden I was leaning against the wall thinking I was having a heart attack and then I was in an ER getting an EKG and being asked if I do cocaine. It was terrifying.
What caused it? We don’t necessarily know what causes this. It’s more common in tall, thin, adolescent males. It happened once or twice a little after that, but nothing as severe. They said, “You’ll be fine—just don’t go scuba diving.”
Deep thoughts? There’s something I think about a lot now that I’m 37 somehow. I’ve apparently got a career. I’ve just bought a house. I’ve been married. I’ve been divorced. I’ve checked off just about everything that as a kid makes you think you’re an adult. But I don’t feel any more adult than I did when I was 17. I kind of think adulthood is a myth.