> Right after returning from vacation, I wanted to do a rewind of Minnesota and do it up right, literary-style. It’s true that I was riding on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Highway when I was in Sweet Valley, but I didn’t stop at the Wilder museum there, nor did I visit Walnut Grove. I also wish that I could’ve seen F. Scott Fitzgerald’s boyhood home in St. Paul and the Betsy-Tacy house in Mankato as well as Sinclair Lewis’ home in Sauk Centre! Isn’t there also a really huge bookstore out there somewhere? I won’t say that I *hate* traveling with other people, but it’s damn difficult to smother your quirks in the interest of harmony.
Speaking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, (well, kind of) I narrowly missed a chance to meet Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie. She was at the Mall of America in Bloomington, signing copies of her new book, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch on the 26th of July. Unfortunately, I was there on the 19th. So disappointing. Especially because, in my excitement, I misread the poster in the window. I rushed into the store precisely at 6 pm, hurried up to the cashier and fairly panted, “Where’s the signing?”
“Signing?” The clerk looked uneasy.
“Yes, for…” I gestured at Arngrim’s familiar smirking face.
“That’s next Monday.”
Aloud, I said, “Oh, that’s right! I’m on vacation, and I’ve completely lost track of time!” Then I fled into the fiction section to pout. By the time Alison Arngrim appeared at the bookstore, I would be back in Korea, sweating to death and serving up science to elementary and middle school children. For a moment, the prospect was almost too loathsome to contemplate, and when I was getting ready for work this morning, it still rankled a bit.
I didn’t buy the book because I was pissed about not being able to get it autographed. I was very much pity party and FML. Sorry, Alison. If I’d gotten to meet you, I would’ve told you that Nellie’s antics were the best thing about Little House on the Prairie, and kept both my father and me tuning in year after year.