The man the world of public radio knows as Garrison Keillor was born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942, in Anoka, Minnesota. He was the third of six children born to John Philip and Grace Ruth Denham Keillor. John Keillor was a railway mail clerk who augmented his income by doing carpentry. When Gary was five years old, his father purchased property in Brooklyn Park, eight miles from Anoka, and used his carpentry skills to build a house for his growing family. It was in this house that Gary lived until he left for college. Brooklyn Park, like Anoka, is a suburb of Minneapolis today, but it retained rural aspects while he was growing up there. He has fond memories of playing in the nearby fields and streams (Fedo 10).
Other childhood memories are not all pleasant. He was gangly while growing to his adult height of six feet four inches. When he was in the seventh grade, he saw an older boy imitate the loping way in which he walked and was mortified by such mockery (Halvorsen 8B). Gary’s understandable embarrassment was intensified by his natural shyness. As an adult, he would be able to joke about that shyness, but as an adolescent, he felt only agony.
His parents belonged to a fundamentalist sect called the Plymouth Brethren. They met in homes and eventually joined a group that gathered in Minneapolis, half an hour away. As with many such groups, the Brethren spent less time emphasizing the fundamentals of their religion