Mom suggested I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to my children when they were young. She read Little House in the Big Woods to her grade one students each year and assured me the children loved the story.
I went out and bought the first book in the series, couldn’t hurt to try, being my philosophy. Besides, didn’t want Mom nagging me—not that she would have. Well, maybe only a little.
Each evening we sat on the sofa and read a chapter before bedtime. Like my mother’s students, my children were enraptured by the story. I was too, and reading together offered me the opportunity to tell my children more about my childhood on the farm as I was able to relate many of my own experiences to the book.
At the time, we lived on the edge of the city with farmland and a creek across the street. We huddled together on the sofa as I read about the Ingles family in their wagon surrounded by howling wolves. Just then we heard the howl of coyotes echoing across the snowy field. I think I was as scared as my kids and we all clung to my husband when he walked in the door.
Now, my daughter is reading the book to her daughter. The munchkin gives me a thumps up and says, “Grandma, best story ever.” Bravo! We have another generation enthralled with Laura’s story. We live in the heart of the city now, so she won’t hear any howling, as her mother reads, but as she asks what churning is and what traps are, she will learn about life in another time.
It’s not often that we can relive the past and there are many instances when we wouldn’t want to, but the marvel of a book is that it can and does take us on a journey. Laura Ingalls Wilder, gave my daughter and granddaughter, through her writing, a glimpse into another world and time. She gave me an almost tangible link to my parents and our life on the farm.
Thank you to Ms. Wilder and all the authors who take us on such journeys.