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