I is for Ingalls- Laura Ingalls

laura ingall quote“This is now.” When I finished reading Little House in the Big Woods to five year old, Beej, the ending gave my heart a pang. As I gave this more thought, I realized that there were so many reasons it touched me so deeply.

I grew up reading the Little House books over and over again. It’s one of many things I share with my sisters. We read the books, watched the tv show and played out scenes repeatedly throughout our childhood. I felt so attached to Mary and Laura. Who didn’t love Laura, little half-pint? She was feisty, adventurous, impulsive…. and for me, once again as was in the case with Betsy Ray, she was a writer. But when we played Little House, I was always Mary, my sister was Laura and our youngest sister was Baby Carrie, which is why she didn’t play with us often. Because let’s be honest here, did anyone ever really want to be poor Carrie? We played these parts because of birth order but I believe that if our order had been different, I would still be Mary. I was more like her in personality while my sister was more like Laura.

I couldn’t wait to share my love of these books with Kris, when she was young. I remember purchasing her a hardcover copy of Little House in the Big Woods when she was around seven years old. We settled in for a cozy bonding experience and I began reading it to her….. and she was bored stiff. I had forgotten how descriptive the books were. She couldn’t get into the book and I didn’t push the issue, although I was disappointed. These books had played a big part in my life.

Fast forward 20 years and while looking for short chapter books to read to Beej, I came across a few Little House books that were simpler and revised. Each book had a theme-  Laura and Jack stories, School Days, and Pioneer Sisters. We read the first Laura and Jack story and Beej was hooked!! His thirst for learning new things was being quenched by the same descriptive writing that didn’t keep Kris’s attention. We read at breakfast and having completed Little House in the Big Woods, we are over halfway through Little House on the Prairie. In this book, they have moved to Indian country so this is a strong underlying theme throughout. At times I have to read ahead quickly so I can edit what he hears since the book does hold the long held view on the subject.

As we read and come across parts that my sisters and I loved as children, I’ve been sending my sisters screenshots of those favorite passages. It’s fun to share those memories and reminisce.

And I come back to that simple sentence. “This is now.” It seems so appropriate to be reading about a time long ago when, for very different reasons, life was similar in many ways to the lives some of us are living right now. The majority of my human contact is the people in my house. Although the boys come and go depending on their dad’s work schedule (which does not stop for pandemics or anything else, for the matter). We might not be building our own house, growing or hunting for food and living primitively, but our lives are very different than they were even a month ago. We are doing without things we thought were necessary. And reading about a very different time so many years ago makes me think about how much things have changed, and yet stayed the same.

How very much we are living for today. Now.

#AtoZChallenge

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Stay safe!

-Kat

Good Reading

“Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” -Louisa May Alcott

While Alice in Wonderland will always be my favorite childhood book, there are so many others that stand out, too. The Betsy-Tacy series is one I read over and over again. Watching Betsy, Tacy and Tib grow up as the series progressed always thrilled me. I was obsessed with Little House books, as well. When the books became a tv show, it was so much fun to see Ma, Pa, Mary and Laura come to life on the screen!

Trixie Belden was another favorite.She was always stumbling into mysteries and I loved her fearlessness, especially since I related more to her best friend, Honey, who was quieter. In fact, I usually played the quiet side kick in real life so it’s not surprise I was drawn to my counterparts in my favorite books. I could never be Nancy Drew, but I was the best Bess, her best friend, that you would find!

The books that I owned were well-worn from being read over and over again. And the ones I borrowed from the library? I would love to find out how many times I checked them out! Books and reading were definitely the highlight of my childhood and I can’t imagine life without them.

This list really is endless! (And it’s supposed to be my favorite childhood book…)

What’s your favorite childhood book(s)?

-Kat

 

B is for Bonnet #AtoZChallenge

When we were kids, my sisters and I got bonnets when we were on vacation. We read Laura Ingall’s Wilder’s books and we were the biggest fans of the tv series Little House on the Prairie, which aired from 1974-1988. bonnet
We were tolerant of the differences between the books and the tv show because we loved both so much.

One of our favorite things to do was to pretend we were Mary, Laura and Carrie, although my youngest sister was not amused at how much we giggled at the opening of the show and little Carrie’s unfortunate tumble down that hill.

I was always Mary because I was the oldest. I secretly wanted to be Laura but if the truth be told, her fearlessness terrified me and I knew I could never be as courageous as she was. I really was more like Mary.

We would run down hills re-enacting the opening of the show while humming the theme song. Even though we were wearing shorts or jeans, in our heads we wore dresses and petticoats and laced up boots and our bonnets were tied around our necks, flapping against our backs as we ran. We created make shirt covered wagons and rode on endless journeys. I actually wrote Melissa Gilbert (Laura) a fan letter when I was around twelve years old. One of my prized possessions was the signed photograph and form letter I received in return and I’m pretty certain that it is tucked away in a box somewhere. There’s no way I could ever let it go!

Oh how we loved Pa, played by Michael Landon! I’ll never forget that day in 1991, turning on the news as my phone rang… my best friend’s voice distraught as she asked, “Did you hear the news…?” And she didn’t have to finish her question because I was staring at the screen in shock, as if I had just lost my own dad. We loved him so much!

Do you have a favorite childhood book or tv show that brings back fond memories? I would love to hear about it!

-Kat

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