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April 17, 2006 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I'm a junior in high school. My English teacher assigned our class to write a poem using a set metaphor and I wrote this one about Lake Wobegon as an homage to my parents.

Lake Wobegon
A name of a place of solace for me,
comfort, fun, and pain.
Lake Wobegon
A place that is common to the uncommon eye.

A place that is utterly common,
but not findable on a map
because of some human error.
Lake Wobegone

Everyone that ends up there is either lost and stumbles upon it in good fortune,
or they go there to see someone purposely.
You don't know that you're looking for it, but you are born searching.
And when you find it,
It fills a void
that you may have pushed away before.

I grew up in this place.
One day, early on
my mother and father opened a book
and there it was.
One day, early on
my mother and father opened their arms
and there it was.

Lake Wobegon
They are always there, my parents.
They could be
Sitting in the Chatterbox Café,
Buying tomatoes at Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, knowing that this is a good place to raise their children.
A place where all the children are above average.
They will always be there, my parents.

Lake Wobegon
A place that does not give into vanity.
A place that is forever honest.
A place that only I
(and a few very lucky people) know about.

Victoria F.
Stamford, CT

Victoria, you make me almost weep for your sweet idealism. I'm glad that you took the chance to pay tribute to your parents. As for Lake Wobegon, it is awfully common, and as we say, there is a lot of human nature in everybody. Vanity, small-mindedness, utter stubborn stupidity, astonishing carelessness ---- you'll find them all there in my little town. But it's spring (almost) and the first tomatoes are sprouting under the Gro-lites and kids are throwing baseballs around and the biology classes are walking around looking for warblers and so the old truths still obtain. I hope you have a delicious summer and I'll think of you the next time I ride Amtrak and the conductor says, "Stamford next."

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