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Lake Wobegon Factbook

July 13, 2009 | 3 Comments

To the Host:
Each time I hear a News from Lake Wobegon monologue or read one of your books, I wonder if you keep a written record of what you've said about your characters. So many years of so many different personalities, personal histories and interactions among all those people would seem to be very hard to track without documentation.

Or maybe tracking details would get in the way of a good story.

Tom B.


There is such a book, Tom. It's a looseleaf binder, black, and it's called "Lake Wobegon Factbook" and there's one copy at the office and one at home. Various diligent fact-trackers have kept this book up and I tend not to use it so much because it's full of inconsistencies, having recorded my inaccuracies over the past 35 years. So I mostly ignore it and focus on the characters whom I know well and allow the others to recede into the mists. Though just the other day, in Avon, a woman said to me, "I miss Ella Anderson!" Who I would be happy to bring back, except that I am pretty sure she died. What I need now is a Family Factbook, a detailed guide to my cousins, their spouses, their children, their children's children and THEIR spouses and children. I love my family but it has grown beyond reason, which is why the suburbs have burgeoned and overgrown the potato fields. It's fine that people are doing genealogy but what we need is a guide to relatives living now. And not only their names and birthdates but what they do for a living, what they believe, where they've been, and whether they have a sense of humor or not.


What may be of use to the backroom "Lake Wobegon Black-book" keepers would be a family genealogy PC program. This could keep track of myriad of relatives and relationships, et al.

Another option would be to get yourself and your family members all on Facebook... this point after 35 years all I can say is that my mind is already made up; don't confuse me with the facts!

However, I do miss the old senator whatz-his-name! Did he die or just become imbedded in the woodwork (or paperwork) in Washington. I'd rather think he'd come home for a "proper" Lake Wobegan burial...complete with a cow-chip-tossing competition, beauty contest for best looking bovine, etc.....What happened?? And was he just a democrat voted out of office????

Any news is.....well, just news.

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