Snacking on crispy pig tails, playing with corn-husk dolls, making snow candy, stuffing hot potatoes in pockets to keep hands warm, collecting maple syrup after the first thaw, churning butter, bailing hay, forging rivers. I’ve done it all thanks to the Little House on the Prairie books.
Around the time of Indiana history lessons in 4th grade, I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder and devoured the entire LHOTP series. I remember reading them on the bus, in bed, during recess (yeah – I was that kid), anywhere I could sneak in a few pages. I don’t remember any of my friends reading the books, or discussing them with anyone. I wasn’t even a fan of the show (Almanzo was such a skirt). But there was some indescribable connection made.
When I read The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure a few months ago, all those memories came flooding back and I became consumed with visiting the landmarks of the Wilder family, just like Wendy did. But first, I decided to reread the entire Little House on the Prairie series to make sure I wasn’t romanticizing the books of my childhood.
Something about the way LHOTP is written makes you remember such specific details after 20 years when you can’t remember what you had for dinner last Sunday. It’s not even that well written – the descriptions are confusing and some of the stories are monotonous; I had to look up several words, so I surely wouldn’t have understood them at elven years old – but from the very first page, I was back in 4th grade. I wanted to toss around a pig’s bladder blown up like a balloon. I wanted to wear a god damn bonnet!
Now I want to go on a LHOTP pilgrimage more than ever.
Are you a LHOTP fan? Have you ever re-read something as an adult that you loved as a child? Did it have the same effect?
Next up – Anne of Green Gables.Bookworm