Humans of Appleton North: Riley Nelson


Shannon O'Brien, Contributor

Copious amounts of caffeine, tons of sugary candy, and ginger beer – these are the things people think of when they think Riley Nelson. The 16 year old sophomore is friendly and fun, his witty humor unlike any other. Due to having divorced parents, Riley travels between two houses with his younger sister. According to him, he and his sister are polar opposites except for when it comes to Guitar Hero. Outside of school, you can catch Riley working, playing guitar, or playing video games. His love of video games has developed over time into collecting retro games that most video game collectors would drool over. His ultimate dream game to collect is a still in the box copy of “Doom.”

After we both enthused about our love for video games, we began to talk about more serious topics such as Christmas. During Christmas dinner four years ago, his family was eating lasagna and talking about the Disney monorails when his grandfather stopped talking mid-sentence. His grandfather had just had a heart attack. Although he didn’t pass away from the heart attack that night, Riley admits that it was the beginning of the end.

Christmas doesn’t stop there, however.

Ever since Riley was little he was extremely close with his other grandfather. He spent nearly every day with him – either on a 3 a.m. spontaneous fishing trips or woodworking. On Christmas three years ago, his grandfather and one of his closest companions passed away due to complications from surgery. The main lesson his grandfather taught him was, “you’re never gonna miss someone as much as you do when they’re gone.” When he was younger, Riley’s grandfather was a heavy drinker until he stopped and maintained sobriety for an impressive 36 years. Riley still admires his strength and carries it with him to this day.