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Dear Garrison, I grew up

June 25, 2004 |

Dear Garrison,
I grew up in Minnesota but have spent the past seven years in San Francisco and I am often startled at the ignorance of coastal people when it comes to the Midwest. To many Californians, the Midwest is just one giant wheat field. How can I put these people in their place with humor and grace without sounding overly defensive?

Ingrid

Ingrid,
We Midwesterners are good travelers and good citizens in strange places, and one thing that makes us so is our sense of humor and our ability to carry our identity lightly. Iíve met Minnesotans in London and Copenhagen and Berlin and New York and L.A. who adopted and adapted, learned new languages, learned the lay of the land, came to love where they were, and never lost their essential Midwesternness, never lost their deep abiding love for the prairie and the rivers and farms, but didnít wear it on their sleeve. One advantage of growing up here is that there is less narcissism in the drinking water. Find a picture of Minnesota that you love and hang it on your dining room wall and if people ask about it, tell them, and if they donít, they donít.

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