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Dear GK, One thing I've

December 14, 2004 |

Dear GK,
One thing I've always been curious about: Do the characters in Lake Wobegon age? Will
Clarence Bunsen always be 55, etc.?

Kevin Key
St. Cloud

Good question, Kevin. Most of them don't age, or don't age much, since not many of the old timers have died in the past thirty years. The death rate is extremely low. The resurrection rate is higher — I believe that Byron Tollefson, whose funeral was dealt with about eight or ten years ago — his lesbian daughter from Arizona, Diane, came and sang "Red River Valley" at the service and also, I believe, "Happy Trails To You," and embarrassed her family — Byron has been seen in the background in a couple recent monologues. Some children have aged — Barbara Ann Bunsen went from her early teenage years to being a wife and mother, but now she seems to be holding between thirty and thirty-five. But then so do many women in real life. Chronological age is tricky. And a writer is reluctant to kill off anybody who seems to have more to say. Even old Mr. Berge, the town drunk, keeps hanging on, wanting to say something sensible someday.

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