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March 4, 2009 |
Post to the Host:
I teach American Literature (among other things) at a suburban high school, and while I am flogging The Great Gatsby to varied degrees of succes I always offer the following extra credit opportunity: drive yourself to Rice Park, take a picture of yourself next to the F. Scott Fitsgerald statue, while holding your copy of the novel and sporting a cheesy grin, and turn it in to me for points.
The results are amazing! They turn out in droves, they boost the economy of St. Paul restaurants, and I end up with fabulous photos of kids with their arms around FSF (or kissing him in the case of some girls), holding up the book, and acting as if they are having a wonderful time.
By the way, they are sort of digging the book this round.
The statue of Fitzgerald by Michael Price has stood there in Rice Park in downtown St. Paul since the fall of 1996 when his centenary was celebrated in town and Robert Bly, Michael Dorris, Donald Hall, Patricia Hampl, Joseph Heller, Bill Holm, Bobbie Ann Mason, Jane Smiley, Tobias Wolff, and other writers gathered, along with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Fitzgerald's former secretary Frances Kroll Ring and his granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan, and the statue was unveiled. He stands, coat on his arm, on ground level so you can walk right up to him and say hello, and people do. Every spring, the park is thronged with Promgoers heading for the old federal courthouse now used for big public receptions and you can see young women in ball gowns going over to him which would have thrilled him of course, and sometimes there are wedding parties. The St. Paul Hotel is across the street, which is always bustling, and the library is a stone's throw away, so it's the right place for him to stand.