Story by Mark Andersen, Lincoln Journal Star
Seventeen years ago, a young Nebraska artist set off for the West Coast to push the limits of his magical adventure. His path took unexpected turns, including a return to his home state for a job in journalism and a life-changing encounter with a cancerous brain tumor, but his spirit of adventure continues moving forward.
Did he remember? The magic carpet? A mystical adventure?
It sounded familiar, says fellow reporter Don Walton, who sifted through his clips for a story on Kjell Cronn, a landmark that long ago slipped into the rear horizon.
In 1994, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln artist and musician heading to San Francisco would have been an unexpected feast for any idea-starved columnist.
Cronn, then 24, was a lyrical spokesman for youthful self-discovery beyond Nebraska's borders. He'd grown up imagining freight trains rolling through Cozad as magic carpets he'd one day grab.
His descriptions of Nebraska's beauty seemed already tinged with nostalgia.
"I was traveling between Lincoln and Omaha the other day, and the clouds were piling up like massive dumplings on the edge of the sky."
Then four years ago, surgeons sliced into a massive cancerous dumpling on Cronn's right parietal, temporal and frontal brain lobes.
Now back in Lincoln, he called the newspaper to share his changed vista, connecting with a medical reporter...
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