I mentioned in my last post that we would be traveling. We got home last Tuesday from our journey. I just want to praise the Lord for His protection during our trip. We went from Lawton, Oklahoma, to Mansfield, Missouri, on Thursday, May 16, to meet my friend, Ava, and her family for a tour of the Laura Ingalls Wilder home. This is where Laura’s things are, and the place from which she wrote all of the Little House books. From there, we went on to Mattoon, Illinois, to see Terry’s grandmother and so he could preach at Bible Baptist Church on Sunday. It was a total of 11 hours driving in one day! We were pretty tired when we pulled in to her house at 10:30 that night, but we’d had a full and wonderful day.
When I was about twelve years old, I met Laura for the first time in the big woods of Wisconsin. I connected with her instantly because she loved playing more than working (so did I) and because she often got into trouble (so did I). I followed her life from her childhood and on through the teen years to her marriage. I am now embarking on that journey once more as I read the books aloud to my little girls (Lauren read them a long time ago), and I’m enjoying it all over again. Laura inspired me to want to write, too. When I told my mother, way back then, that I wanted to write, she offered this advice: “A good writer can write about anything and make it interesting.” Laura did that! She made everything so very interesting.
Here are some photos of the day. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum, but we got to see Pa’s fiddle, several clothing items, letters, embroidery and quilts made by the girls. We saw things of Ma’s, too. After a tour of the museum, we got to watch a ten minute film about Laura. The best part was I got to hear Laura’s voice! She sounded just as I’d imagined. We then took a guided tour of her farmhouse and oh, how wonderful it was! It provided so much scope for the imagination, as another literary character would say. I was very surprised to learn that Laura was only 4’11”! Almanzo made her cabinets and counters lower because of this. Every piece of furniture and decoration was hers – there were no replicas. After the tour, I picked up several souvenirs at the bookstore: a magnet, coffee cup, a bio of Laura, a coloring book for the kids, postcards and bookmarks. And to top it off, I got to do it all with one of my best friends, Ava! (A huge Laura fan!)
After the bookstore, we drove a bit down the road to tour the rock house, which was built by Rose Wilder Lane for her parents. They lived there only about 8 years, then moved back to the farm house. They appreciated their daughter’s generosity, but their memories were at the farm house, and that’s where they wanted to be.