Maud Hart Lovelace, born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, had a very happy childhood. And her memories formed the basis of a wildly popular series of children's books featuring two young girls named Betsy and Tacy who live in the fictional town of Deep Valley.
Now the first four of those popular children's books have been re-issued in a new volume called 'The Betsy-Tacy Treasury.'
Evidently these stories (which I'm embarrassed to admit I'm just discovering) are near and dear to the likes of Judy Blume, Nora Ephron, and Anna Quindlen, among others.
Why all the excitement over a series of stories about everyday life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the fictional town of Deep Valley, Minn. - a stand-in for the author's real hometown of Mankato, Minn.?
It could be the little touches that resonate with all young girls: The established perfidy of older sisters. A "chocolate colored" house. A nearby hill that looms over the backyard symbolizing the acquisition of independence. And of course the idealized friendship between Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly, epitomized in that magnificent hyphen linking the two names together, testament to their girlish bond.
But does it also have something to do with the notion of five-year-old girls being allowed to dine outdoors together on a bench between their two homes, no grownups lurking overhead? Or two young friends mounting the big hill - on their own? Or the prospect of a mother leaving three schoolgirls at home unattended one afternoon, with instructions to heat up their own cocoa on the stove?
In the sweet, safe sanctuary of Deep Valley, Minn., more than 100 years ago, such things were possible, at least in Betsy-Tacy's universe. It's a far cry from the overprotective, omni-parented world of 21st-century America with its myriad threats, real and imaginary. After reading aloud a few chapters to my own six-year-old daughter recently, my daughter sighed and said simply, "I want to live in this book." She's probably not the only one.
Are you a Betsy-Tacy fan? If so, what makes their stories so appealing?(24 Comments)
Charlie Todd gets people to ride the subway in their boxers, and dance in public with strangers, all in the name of good fun.
As kids we're taught to play and we're never given a reason why we should play - it's just acceptable that play is a good thing. I think that's the point of Improv Everywhere. It's that there is no point, there doesn't have to be a point. We don't need a reason as long as it's fun... and I think as adults we need to learn that there is no right or wrong way to play.
In this TED Talk, Todd reviews some of his more successful improv projects. My favorite? When he gets 80 people to put on blue polo shirts and khaki pants and walk into a Best Buy.
Garrison Keillor on my show today saying he's rethinking retirement from PHC in 2013.
"I'm starting to doubt that myself. I've been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And I can't come up with anything....If I didn't do it I would wind up in a tiny walk-up apartment with a couple of cats."
Of course, anyone who has been following this story closely will know the Old Scout has mused about the various possibilities of stepping down from Prairie Home in coming years, and even experimented with a guest host on the show.
However, while he has ruminated about retiring with various outlets, most notably the AARP, he has never actually set a date. In recent weeks people working on the show have told me the topic of retirement hasn't really come up.
A call to the Prairie Home office this morning revealed Keillor is again on the road, doing a city-a-day tour on the east coast, and so he was unavailable for comment. So, the mystery continues...
Today it was announced that, just two months after the center opened to the public, Sonntag has resigned.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson
In a sparsely worded release, Sonntag explained his decision this way:
I have the utmost respect for the leadership of Artspace and I'm confident that The Cowles Center will continue to thrive. I came to Minnesota because I believed in the mission of The Cowles Center, and I still do. But after spending most of my professional life in New York, I don't feel the Minnesota culture is one I'm well suited for. It has been a struggle, but ultimately I think this is the best decision for the organization.
Sonntag will remain at his post through the end of the year.(20 Comments)