Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Touching Laura Ingalls Wilder

Today I did something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. It may rank right up there with the 50 best things I've ever done (though I've not actually made that list) It certainly is one of the highlights of my summer.

What could this be you wonder?

The REAL Laura Ingalls Wilder
If you know me or have read this blog for any length of time then you are probably aware of my love for Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The books, not the TV show. I read all of her books as a little girl and they influenced me greatly. I work at a 19th century living history museum.(Oh that is still so much fun to say)  I like to churn butter when given the chance, have lived like a pioneer and in a few weeks my pioneer Deanna is going to let me help make cheese at The Jones Farm. (I tried on my dress today!)

But today I held in my (gloved) hands a letter (In a museum plastic sleeve) written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I mean the REAL letter. On her paper in her handwriting. I also held a book that belonged to Charles Ingalls inscribed with his name that traveled across the prarie with the Ingalls family, a piece of school work done by her sister Carrie, Mary and Rose's Name Cards and 2 original pictures of Ma and Pa Ingalls. The items are on loan for The Days of Laura Ingalls Wilder event at the museum on August 6th and 7th and will be on display for the public to see. (In locked plastic cases.)

To say that this was meaningful to me would be an understatement. Holding something in my own hands that Laura and Pa and Ma held at one time was a feeling much more special than I would have ever imagined it to be. I could have cried but I didn't. I actually got a bit of a headache from my excitement! (A good old fashioned case of the vapors I think!)

To the little girl in me who was not sure she was going to make it to DeSmet, this was AWESOME.

14 comments:

Krista said...

That is so cool! You will never forget it... I can still "feel" the Roman wall!

I have never read the books. (I know... I know...) I think I will read them when I get home.

lianna26 said...

How very cool and exciting for you!!!!

Raven said...

The jealousy is just dripping from my fingers as I type. That is so amazing- thank for sharing the link, I've always wanted to see Ma & Pa's pictures.

I also read all the books when I was young- many, many times- and I still know that Laura is a part of who I am. I still remember the terror of Pa's ride with the bobcat and the sadness of Jack's dissappearance and the joy of pig bladder balloons.

What a blessing to hold that history in your hands!

Jill said...

Although I've been reading your blog for about a year now & never commented, I had to after reading this post.
What an incredible experience for you!
I too, am such a fan that I named my daughter Laura Elizabeth. Was so envious of your visit last year to the homestead and I'm trying to convince my daughter to go with me. (she's 24 now-liked the books, but doesn't love the history like I do)

Just want to say that I enjoy your writing!

Christine said...

Wow! More Laura fans!

Raven, my friend Deanna and I LOVE the pig bladder balloons!!! I was crushed when Jake disappeared. I could never understand (with my modern perspective) why PA didn't put him in the wagon for that crossing.

Jill-Welcome! I hope you'll comment more often! It's nice to meet you! And Laura Elizabeth-You ARE a fan aren't you!That's awesome!

Meredith said...

OH. MY. GOD. (or, gosh)
That is so, so, so cool!!!! To actually be able to touch and hold something that Pa Ingalls did or that Laura wrote - that any of the family has in their possession - what a wonderful experience!!!!!
It just feels so very important, doesn't it? Being able to have contact with something that they had contact with, it just makes everything seem so much more real and personal.
I can't wait for Laura Days!!!!!

Karley said...

How very exciting for you, Christine!

I am so happy for you...and yes, it must be the "vapors", Harriet...

Christine said...

Meredith, Laura Days are awesome! The kids have a great time. (so do the adults!)

And yes. It was so crazy thinking about Ma reading aloud from the book I was holding or Carrie doing that school work and then walking home through a blizzard. (not that I have confirmation that it happened like that of course.)The letter was in a plastic sleeve and I probably (gently) picked it up 10 different times.

The Fine Art of Motherhood said...

This made me tear up! Talk about making your dreams come true -- good for you!! I told Liv about this last night and she was SO excited!!

Christine said...

My egg you know Deanna.... I love that kid! I'm sorry I'm turning her into a Laura geek too...

I know you're getting all teary eyed over the pig bladder balloons. You know. I bet there is a business opportunity there. I bet most people THROW AWAY the bladder when they slaughter a pig these days. We could sell those to all of those Little House fans out there. At a premium I' thinking...

Christine said...

And thanks, it was pretty fabulous. I'm thinking of asking tomorrow if I can hold them again. Ok not really. (well maybe a little) but not really....

Meredith said...

Christine,
Do you have a schedule for the Laura Days? If I can only come for one day (gasp!), which would be the day I should go?

Christine said...

Hi Meredith.

This URL will take you to the museum website that has the program schedule for Dean and William Anderson as well as the event schedule

http://www.gcv.org/news/17/

Dean Butler and William Anderson are avaliable both days and very few things take place on one day only. Either day will be good to attend. I'll do a post later this week or next with the link in it as well-on my blog and the museum blog.

Christine said...

You'll have to paste that link in your browser because for some reason it won't link from the comments section. (Probably to avoid spammers)