Laura Ingalls Wilder Week: The Monument and Graves

Last week was spring break for me, so I took the time off to visit my dad and my grandmother, who is ill with cancer, in Missouri. My grandma finished her last radiation treatment while we were there, so we are hoping that things look good and that she’ll start to get stronger and be able to care for herself again.

While there, my dad took us to the Laura Ingalls Wilder house in Mansfield. I have been wanting to visit this historic site for some time, but we were last there during Christmas, and the house is not open until March 1. I had good timing for this trip, and we took a day to visit the site.

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So this week on my blog, I’ll be posting all about that day trip and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

To see Monday’s post, click here. To see Tuesday’s post, click here. To see Wednesday’s post, click here.

As we left the museum, we overheard others talking about a monument with a bust of Laura in the local park and that the Wilder’s graves were in the town cemetery. The docent explained to us where they were located, and we drove there on our way out of town.

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The monument is surrounded with small plaques that say the names of each of Laura’s books.

The cemetery was muddy, and of course, my four-year-old daughter had to jump into all of the mud puddles she could see, but it was a still a neat place to visit and a way to pay homage to Laura.

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As you may have noticed, I’ve used Laura’s name familiarly throughout this series. I think that’s a consequence of feeling so close to her, through her books, and through seeing her homes and keepsakes on this trip. I do not mean this use of her first name disrespectfully. Instead, I see it as deep respect, for her books drew so many readers close to the most intimate and important moments of her young life. They continue to do so, and they remind me that childhood and girlhood can be universal, even when divided by generations and technological advances. I see myself in Laura through her books. I connect with her despite our very different circumstances. I see my oldest daughter connecting with her, as she’s been reading the books over again by herself. There’s something connective about Laura’s books and experiences. And through reading them, we come to know her and love her.

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17 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Week: The Monument and Graves

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  1. It is a dream of mine to take my daughters here one day – it’s a little far from Washington State! When I was reading the part to my older daughter when Laura married Almanzo and Pa asked to put her in the wagon one more time, I started bawling. The books have been so different for me the second and third times around from when I first read them as a little girl.

    1. Agreed! The books have been so different to me now than they were when I was younger, but both in good ways. I think they might become books I reread every few years. I hope you get a chance to take your daughters to some of the sites.

  2. Laura Ingalls Wilder was the reason I started loving books; in some ways, she’s why I’m a teacher today. Some of my earliest and most beautiful memories are sitting on the couch as a little girl with my mom reading those stories to me.

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