Ever wonder where people on the subway came from and where they are going? The Downtown Doodler draws “Dean” and creates a whole back-story for him.

Uptown 1 train
December 2, 6:47pm

Dean grew up in Minnesota. He had a normal life, as normal as normal can be in a small town of 70 people. Maybe hamlet would be a better description. Tribe? Village? Either way Dean was out, and in one of the biggest cities in the world. Finally.

Dean was one of five kids, not the oldest, but not the youngest and not the middle either. Stuck in limbo between two louder, needier and attention seeking siblings, he filled his days with imaginary friends and pretend worlds. As he grew up he started writing about these worlds, but Minnesota could only stimulate his imagination for so long. Dean needed to experience touristy Times Square, the hub-ub of Chinatown and rude cab drivers if he was going to write about them.

After graduation Dean packed his few belongings into two bags and set off on the long journey to New York. His mother wasn’t supportive about his dreams, “That city will eat you up and you’ll be back here by Christmas. Stay here and work with your Dad. Maybe go to college.” His sisters weren’t any better, “good luck loser,” the said before laughing and walking away. But Dean knew he didn’t need their wishes of good luck or support, he had a dream and a healthy imagination.

After a long bus ride Dean was on the last leg of his journey, the subway uptown. He made arrangements to crash on the couch of a friend of a his cousin. Keeping his bags close he was excited to start his new life and close the chapter of his small town past. But the words of his mother and sisters crept into his mind for a second, but it was long enough to worry if he made the right choice.


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