Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Return to Childhood

My Mom gifted Big Sis with a set of Little House on the Prairie books for Christmas last year.  She has yet to dive into them (despite my enthusiasm), but I've started re-reading them in the last few weeks**.

As a girl, I loved these books.  I pictured myself living on the prairie, playing in the stream, churning butter with Ma.  My own Ma even made me a pioneer dress complete with floppy bonnet (a portent of things to come?), and I remember staring at the fabric, wondering if Laura ever saw big bolts of white eyelet in the wonderous General Store. 

Reading these as an adult has given me a new respect for both the writing and the story-telling. I can still clearly picture the Big Woods of Wisconsin, with the snow falling silently as the girls peek out the real glass windows.  I can see the swaying grass atop mile after mile of Kansas prairie. Jack the bulldog, and older sister Mary are always there, too.  

The books have also given me a renewed appreciation for the comforts of my life.  Tales of cheese-making, hog butchering, and long summers with no fresh meat make my own dreaded trips to the grocery a little more bearable.  

More than anything, I was astonished at how long Laura lived, and the things she must have seen in that lifetime!  Born in 1867 in a log cabin, she died in 1957 in her own 10-room house in Missouri.  She crossed the prairie in a covered wagon, and lived to see the invention of radio, motion pictures, automobiles, electric light, the telephone, air travel, and television. 

I can't wait to read the whole series again, and to encourage Big Sis to start reading them, too.  I might even break out my Little House Cookbook and try a few recipes to get her in the mood.  

**Her opinion is that they are "a little too Pioneer-y".  When she was informed that "Pioneer-y" is a part of her heritage, and that she had ancestors who walked across most of the United States, she was much more intrigued.  


Marisa said...

I loved the Little House books. My parents even took me to the places where she lived when I was a child so I could see the replica cabin in Pepin, WI, and we visited DeSmet, SD. I would put a sheet over the dining room table and pretend I was in a covered wagon. When the power went out, I got excited because we got to light candles to see in the dark and I felt more pioneer-y.

Jen said...

My mom used to read those books to us when I was a kid. I still recall sitting around her as she read aloud - such precious memories!! I will need to get my own set and re-read them. Thanks for reminding me how great those books are!

Matt and Erin Pitcher said...

Loved those books as a child, too!

Liz said...

Classics, definitely on the must read list. Though I never read them as a child, I read them for the first time last year!