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7th Grade Report

April 15, 2010 | 6 Comments

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I'm doing a report on you for my seventh grade Minnesota history report.

I'm just wondering if you could give me some facts about you and your work.

I'd appreciate a quick response for it is almost the end of my school year.


Emily D.
Mendota Heights


I was born in Anoka in 1942, the third of six children, and graduated from Anoka High School in 1960 and the University of Minnesota (English major) in 1966. (Two years late, due to a year I took off to write for the paper and a year in which I got nothing but F's because I was editing the campus magazine.) Went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969 and started "A Prairie Home Companion" in 1974. I've been married three times and I have two children (40 and 12 years old), two grandsons, and several stepchildren. I live in St. Paul. I've written quite a few books, not sure how many, and I'm 6'3" and weigh about 215. I write early in the morning, every day. I had two big medical experiences, an open-heart operation in July, 2001, and a slight stroke last September. I read The New York Times every day and I do about 34 radio shows a year and about 60 solo appearances, plus writing a weekly newspaper column and doing "The Writers Almanac" on public radio. I eat Cheerios for breakfast and drink plenty of coffee. I plan to live to the age of 94, which is how old my mother is. I love to sing duets (or, I should say, half of a duet) and work crossword puzzles and sit outdoors with my daughter and eat ice cream at Connie's Creamy Cone on Dale Street in St. Paul. They also do a nice chili dog. I love to ride trains and sit in steam rooms and play ping-pong and eat dinner in quiet restaurants with sociable people. I love to go to symphony concerts and some operas. Love theater and movies. Don't care for jazz much. Love to eat lunch with people I knew as a kid. Love long car trips but don't get to do that anymore.



I'm especially glad you mentioned "The Writers
Almanac" to Emily. She would be wise to add it to her daily reading. Just today I read about the
"daffodils," and my day was brighter.

We all know you'll live to 94, or beyond. We need to hear your voice and read your words -- often.

Sunny San Clemente, CA

Lucky 7th grader....and smart enough to ask a good question we all wanted the answer to.

Having been fortunate enough to be in the audience of APHC three times plus a fine reading from 77 Sonnets, in the last fourteen months, I encourage Emily to try and catch a live performance. All three of our adult children grew up listening to the show. Now they've seen how the show is performed, the magic is even better.

Last year's novels, Pilgrims and A Christmas Blizzard ought to be on a future reading list for Emily as well. Both are great fun!

I was surprised by the "not caring too much for jazz" comment. There are often guests that I consider jazz singers - Connie Evingson and Madeleine Peyroux springing to mind immediately.

Might I add - Connie and Madeleine are fantastic!

I sent you a similar request for a 3rd grade report back in 1984. You sent me a Powder Milk Biscuits poster, a Whippets sticker, and a nice note explaining that you didn't know why you lived in Minnesota, just that you always had. I also wrote to my parents' friend's aunt who wrote to me about playing kick the can as a child on her Minnesota farm. I drew pictures of the loon and the lady slipper. It was a brilliant report, but my teacher didn't think my captions on my drawings were written neatly enough.
I still haven't been to Minnesota, except for passing through the Minneapolis airport. I look forward to getting there one day and seeing your show and having ice cream and a chili dog.

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