Friday, May 06, 2016

Every Day in May: 6

Laura Ingalls

from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder


“Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.” 

“We'd never get anything fixed to suit us if we waited for things to suit us before we started.” 

“When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, "What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?"
"They are the days of a long time ago, Laura," Pa said. "Go to sleep, now."
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods,…
She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”


My daughters argued over this one. "She's not fictional!" "Mom said literary! Laura counts!"

And so while I might be accused of stretching it a bit on this one by one kid's standards, there is no denying the impact Laura Ingalls Wilder has had on me and girls everywhere. She is a gateway to history - our own country's history. Instead of reading about a European grown up male explorer or conqueror, we could be a kid growing up on the prairie, making cheese, staking a homestead, dealing with illness when there was no hospital or doctor nearby. She played with the things around her and treasured everything she had, because her worldly possessions were few and far between. 

If the only connection you have with Little House is the television show - which is great - then I encourage you to go back and read the books. While they may be coauthored by her daughter and fit under the genre of historical fiction more than straight up biography, there's no denying Laura Ingalls Wilder's impact on literature and the hearts of women everywhere. 

A word about the illustration: Laura is holding her doll Susan, who is made out of a corn cob. I drew Laura first out of my head and then looked up photos of the real Laura. But it was when I looked up clothing that I fell into the trap... darnit, I really wanted her to look less like Melissa Gilbert.  

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