Monday, August 15, 2016

Laura Ingalls Wilder & My Love for Little House on the Prairie

Ever since I was a little girl, watching Little House on the Prairie, reading the books and pretending I was Laura Ingalls - I’ve been in love with the history of the settlers of North America, and everything related to pioneer times.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
My dream is to someday make the journey to where Laura Ingalls was born, the places they settled and where she is buried.  For some reason I’ve never understood, I’ve always felt a connection to her.  The books she wrote later in life, based on her childhood were favourites of mine growing up, and I read them more times than I could count.

While the TV series wasn’t entirely accurate about her life, (the series is based around Walnut Grove, which she had in truth only lived for a short time, for example), it generated a love for the life these early settlers lived.  They lived in a time that was so hard to imagine, yet so simple that I sometimes long for the chance to live in those times.

Family was the most important thing to these early pioneers.  There were no TV’s, no phones and no electronics that take up so much of our lives now.  After supper, they all sat down together as a family, the kids would play together outside, or they would likely have sat and listened to stories - after they’d done their chores.

I know the times were likely so difficult, and such a struggle for them to survive.  But, I try to imagine a cold winter night, around the fire with the family talking and playing together.  Maybe some of the kids would be reading a book.

Compared to today’s lifestyles, with kids being rushed to different activities each night, with no one sitting down to eat supper together.  And, then when they are home, the kids and parents are all involved in their own devices - Facebook, texting, watching Youtube.  No one just unplugs and enjoys each others company any more.

Road leading to our getaway place
Every summer, my family spends time out on an acreage of land my father owns.  There is no power (except for generators to recharge batteries), no running water and it’s entirely set away from the rest of the world.  I love spending time there, and so do my kids.

We go for walks, we listen to the coyotes at night (which we admittedly don't really enjoy!), look at the stars around our bonfire - and I sometimes imagine we are transported to a different time when family was the most important thing in life.

I know Laura Ingalls would have had such a hard life as a child growing up back then, but I also believe she was able to be a part of a time we can never get back.  A time before electronics and social activities became such an important part of our lives.

Things may have been more difficult, and most of us from today’s world could never survive how they lived.  But, they lived in a simpler time that we could all do well to go back to.  A time when family and neighbors helped each other, and no one needed to have more or better than each other.

Do you think you could survive as a settler as Laura Ingalls family did?  Are you a fan of the Little House on the Prairie books and TV show?

Let me know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones to see some of the Laura Ingalls museums and sites - I would love to hear about them!

PS - If my mom or anyone who might be wanting to get an idea for birthday or Christmas gifts is reading…the Little House on the Prairies TV series is available on Amazon…hint, hint…

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  1. Reminds me a bit of early life in a farming community. It is a time worth rememebering, but to live that way...not sure. Still a beautiful post and a lovely tribute to an influencial author. Thank you. Angela/Doris

  2. I think it was a more complex time in many ways, and considerably more stressful. People had to think on their feet to survive. They had to have a tremendous knowledge-base, most of which we've forgotten now--growing and preserving meat and vegetables, for one (we farm kids know how, but most others have never been exposed to this sort of thing). How many of us know how to make yeast? Cheese? Know when and what to plant, then how to tend and harvest it? And of course anything mechanical or medical was mostly taken care of at home. We outsource all those things. Many kids have never seen a chicken, let alone know how to butcher one--but they love their McNuggets. So every era is complex in its own way. We're plugged in, but most of us won't die if there's a drought.

    On the other hand, I sorely miss the days when our lives were family-centric. Everyone has someplace they need to be for business or school, or if they are home, they're on the computer or phone (I plead guilty). It seems as if the more connected we get, the less connected we are.

  3. I've been a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder before it ever became a television series. I've had the privilege of touring her home and the museum in Missouri.