Home » A - Z Challenge » L is for Laura (Ingalls Wilder)

L is for Laura (Ingalls Wilder)

This was originally on my other blog and I believe it is also shared over at Beyond Little House (go ahead on over and explore and don’t notice that I’ve been slacking there as a contributor). I’ve made some additions and subtractions so it’s a little different.

Some people just don’t understand…

I have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House books) since I was eleven and my teacher that year started reading her books to our class. I was hooked.  I read the Little House books over and over and over again. Still do. When I finished the books, I wanted to know more. Wanted to find out what happened next. Laura, her family and her life have always been a big part of my life. Even when my life was going through turmoil and I had to put her aside for awhile, she was always there. In my heart. When things settled down, she came back to stay. In the last several years, she has been there for me as I’ve moved into the next chapter of my life: the empty nest. And I’ve found I finally have the time to learn all I want to about her and maybe even help to preserve her legacy.

Most people in my real life just don’t understand my love and admiration for her. I mean, my family does. At least I think they do. My husband has been very indulgent. He has traveled to six of her homesites with me. He accompanied me to Minneapolis in 2008 and sat through the Little House musical. Jim even came to the first LauraPalooza in 2010 and was one of the few husbands in attendance (I like to think he set a precedent as I saw more husbands in 2012) He never complains (well not much) when I find something “Laura” that I just HAVE to have.

Jim and I at a stop in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

Jim and I at a stop in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

I’m sure my daughter gets it. She was lucky enough to go to Rocky Ridge with us and she was the lucky one who went to LauraPalooza 2012. I told her that she didn’t have to be there the whole time, but she did and she even helped out on a committee that I had committed to being on. She’s read the books, but just doesn’t share that love and enthusiasm that I hold in my heart. I’ve learned to get over the disappointment (although I do believe that LauraPalooza 2012 made some kind of an impression). My son, well he’s more like “whatever”. He enjoyed Farmer Boy when I read it to him as a child. I’ll assume he knows who she is. She’s just always been there, a part of our lives.

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Jamie and I walking the path from the farmhouse to the rock house a Rocky Ridge in Mansfield, Missouri

So, when I talk about people not understanding I mean some friends and family members. They think I’m like…I don’t know…a fluffy fan of the tv show. I’ve tried to explain that it’s nothing to do with the tv show (I’m okay with the show), that it’s the author, the pioneer woman, the wife and mother. It’s Laura!

I love and greatly admire Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author and woman. I love the Little House books. I also love her other writings too. I love the life she lived, her family, the strength, the love that they all shared, while learning about who Laura Ingalls Wilder really was – an imperfect person just like the rest of us. I strive to learn more about her. I’m tired of trying to make people understand, but I’ll never stop trying…

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4 thoughts on “L is for Laura (Ingalls Wilder)

  1. “…an imperfect person just like the rest of us.” That’s it! So many people who don’t “get” whywe love Laura, as well as many casual fans, appear to gave the mistaken impression that Laura was some mythical, impossibly perfect pillar of strength, piety, morality, wisdom, and…most irksome to me in the lack of accuracy: Simplicity. But really, she was a human being who sometimes was too stubborn or lost her temper. She sometimes was jealous and didn’t hide it. She had a touch of vanity that she strove to keep under control. Some of her neighbors thought she was snobby sometimes. Sometimes maybe she was. She didn’t want to leave the “wrong” impression, so she didn’t always give 100% of the story in her writing (um, honestly now, how many of us would if it meant telling the world that perhaps your beloved father ran away from a debt in Iowa or that your family had to get government assistance to send your blind sister to school?). No, she had faults enough, and certainly didn’t always make everyone happy (oh, Rose!) but I’ll argue that she still made a positive example of how to live, and her legacy is something much more realistic to live up to than many other exemplars I could name. She struggled to be good, but she never stopped trying. She loved fully and gave of herself always. She was protective of her family but helped others, too. If I could be more like her, I’d be alright with that. Just trying to live by her example makes me a better person. I know I can’t be her, but I can strive to be LIKE her. And I do. Just like her, sometimes I fail. But I’m going to keep trying.

  2. I have always enjoyed your posts about her, and because of you I have added something in my challenge (hint :)).
    I find your passion wonderful and just keep doing what you are doing!

  3. I also lover and all the books.. I had no idea they had an event called Laurapalooza! How awesome! I also think it’s awesome you’ve been to some of her homes etc.. I like love to read her books over and over.. You can just escape from this world to a much much simpler time, harder in other area’s but a much much more innocent time that I think many of us long for.. I loved this post. Thank you so much for writing it!

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