I have done it, I have read Pioneer Girl The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and it was glorious. With every word I was taken back to a time and place that was wild and unsettled, one where Americans were staking claims and surviving great odds to populate this vast land.
I have read all of the children’s books, of course, and often re-read them even now, the stories still ring true and you can feel the era coming alive. This is her original manuscript that is written in first person and leaves in more adult themes, a woman trying to steal another’s husband, tackles alcohol abuse and the roll churches played in helping settle the vast emptiness.
With every word I read, I imagined my mother sitting beside me, reading with me, she would have loved this book and how it fleshed out the original series. She would have loved hearing more about the love story between Laura and Almanzo, she would have loved hearing more about the family overcoming hardships. How I wish I could share this book with her, she used to tell me a lot of the things in the books were her own experiences growing up.
The same games, songs and a one-room school in a rural area, my beautiful, strong, smart, funny mother was raised in rural Oklahoma, in Love County to be exact. She went to school in a one-room schoolhouse; she learned a love of words that stayed with her until she passed away. She learned also learned Latin, she told me once that she went to a church revival and it was one where people began to speak in tongues. If you are not familiar with that I suggest you look it up.
She said that she had always been skeptical of that particular gift, until that evening, she said that the man who was speaking in tongues was speaking Latin! She recognized the language, she said there was no way that dirt farmer knew Latin, she said it was in that moment she knew it was a real gift. She was not skeptical after that, even though we belonged to a denomination that does not practice that, she believed.
I was sad when I got to the end of the book, it was the end of feeling my mom sitting next to me, it was if she was there for the reading then went back to Heaven. I know that people will say it was my imagination, however, I choose to believe God allows us comfort and visits, not often, just when we need them the most.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who was a fan of the original series of children’s books. I also highly recommend introducing your own children to these books, they have stood the test of time and allow us a window into the settling of America after the Civil War.
Happy reading everyone!