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Arabian Sands Revisited

In my sophomore year in high school, I had to research and write a history report on Thomas Edward Lawrence, a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I developed a mad schoolgirl crush on him. I thought he was dashing, charismatic, and looked cool and chic in long robes. In my adolescent insanity, I would stare at his picture and have imaginary conversations with him. Thankfully, I outgrew this. (Although I still think long robes are cool and chic. Sometimes I wish we could all wear long robes like they do in the Star Wars movies.) However, through my short-lived infatuation with Lawrence of Arabia, I did develop a fascination with the Arabian desert. A large portion of my childhood and teen years were spent in Erie, Pennsylvania, one of a series of waterfront cities on Lake Erie including Cleveland and Buffalo. Derisively called the Rust Belt, this area is industrial, predominantly working class, depressing. Erie has the nickname Dreary Erie, and both Erie and Cle

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