Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
Born Too Late
by Alan Harawitz
You could never be my girlfriend.
I was only fourteen
and you were a young woman,
seventeen years old.
But we were friends, maybe even more.
You would sing “Born Too Late”
over and over again as if it were a refrain
and not just the title of a hit song by The Ponytails.
I think you were flirting with me.
You even taught me how to kiss
so I would be ready when
I met someone who was right for me.
We would practice, lips only
and then French kiss:
“That’s when you use your tongue,” you said.
That was how we spent the summer
at the beach in Far Rockaway.
I was too young to have a real girlfriend
and for some reason you never met anyone.
You told me how mature I was for my age
and then there was always “Born Too Late”
and you would laugh and say:
“Would you like to try that again?”
“Born Too Late” by Alan Harawitz from The Day I Met Ava Gardner. Deerbrook Editions © 2019. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of inventor John Deere, born in Rutland, Vermont, in 1804. He was a blacksmith by training and by trade. Deere decided to move out West to Illinois. There, he found that the traditional plows used back East were no good for the farms out West. While New England soil was light and sandy, the prairie sod was heavy and thick. Farmers had to stop frequently to clean soil and clay off of their plow blades. Deere had the idea that a properly shaped blade would scour itself as it went along. He experimented with some new designs, and by 1838 he’d sold three of them to local farmers. He sold 10 the following year, and 40 the year after that. By 1841, he was making and selling a hundred plows a year. Deere’s innovation became known as “The Plow that Broke the Plains.”
It’s the birthday of Charles Dickens (books by this author), born in Portsmouth, England (1812), who had a relatively happy childhood until his father’s debts sent the Dickens family into poverty. At the age of 12, Charles was pulled out of school and had to work in a factory pasting the labels onto containers of shoe polish, while his younger siblings lived with his parents in debtors’ prison. In some of his most famous novels, Oliver Twist (1837-38), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), and A Christmas Carol (1843), he revealed the plight of England’s poor. After he became one of the most famous men in England, Dickens used his wealth and influence to convince the upper classes to give to the poor. He was also opposed to capital punishment and worked internationally for prison reform, helped set up a halfway house for former prostitutes, and promoted public education and better sanitation systems throughout England.
It’s the birthday of novelist (Harry) Sinclair Lewis (books by this author), born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota (1885). He felt stifled by Sauk Centre and once tried to run away to fight in the Spanish-American War when he was 13. He escaped to the East Coast for college at Yale University, and during school vacations he would smuggle himself onto cattle ships heading for England. As a young man, he tried to get a job working on the Panama Canal, and he traveled across 40 states in the U.S. working as a journalist. Though he spent time in 14 countries in Europe and traveled through Venezuela, Colombia, and Russia, the majority of his books are set in small-town Midwestern America. His first success was his novel Main Street (1920), about a rebellious woman named Carol Kennicott, who is ostracized by the citizens of the fictional small town of Gopher Prairie.
He went on to write many other books, including Babbitt (1922) and Arrowsmith (1925). In 1930, he became the first American writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
It’s the birthday of lexicographer Sir James Murray (books by this author), born in Denholm, Scotland (1837). He was the president of the Philological Society in London, and in 1879 he became the editor of a 10-year project called the New English Dictionary (later known as the Oxford Dictionary).
It’s the birthday of writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (books by this author), born near Pepin, Wisconsin (1867). Her father was a restless man, and every couple of years he packed the family into their covered wagon and moved on in search of a better place. During her childhood, she lived in a series of cabins, and sod houses in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota. She began teaching when she was 15 years old. Three years later, she married the most eligible bachelor farmer in town, and they had a daughter named Rose. They eventually settled in the Ozarks in Missouri, where Wilder lived for the remainder of her life.
Laura Ingalls Wilder had begun writing for the papers in Missouri, articles like “Economy in Egg Production,” “Spic, Span and Beauty,” “Just a Question of Tact,” and “Making the Best of Things” when the stock market crashed, and the Wilders lost their savings (they had followed their daughter’s advice and invested with her broker). Suddenly, the income from Wilder’s writing became even more important. At the age of 63, she decided to try writing an autobiography. She wrote by hand with a pencil. And by the time she was finished, she had filled six lined tablets with her story, which she called Pioneer Girl.
Wilder gave the rough draft of her manuscript to her daughter, now a famous journalist, Rose Wilder Lane, who revised and edited it. Lane used her contacts to get it into the hands of Virginia Kirkus, a children’s book editor at Harper & Brothers. She loved it and Little House in the Big Woods was published in 1932. The “Little House” books sold well in the Depression and Laura Ingalls Wilder earned enough from her books to be financially comfortable for the rest of her life.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®