Lessons from the Prairie

As I mentioned in my easily influenced post, I often get a new take on books with a re-read. I thought of another, this time heartwarming example.

Growing up, like most little girls, I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

I was transported to the prairie. Despite my affinity for them, something had always bugged me about the books when I first read them, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. When I re-read them a couple years ago, I instantly put my finger on it: I related to Mary not Laura. Why couldn’t she just follow the rules?!?!?!?

These books returned me to a simpler place, and I started to wane nostalgic for a time in which I never lived.  To think of a Christmas where children were delighted by homemade gifts and made eternally grateful for their annual single piece of candy. I remember as a child thinking how sad they should be about being so poor!

In my re-read, I paid a great deal of attention to the cooking that Caroline Ingalls did in her tiny homes with limited ingredients and cooking implements. I even checked out the Laura Ingalls Wilder cookbook from the library and made the deliciously soft and flavorful gingerbread.

Occasionally I long for a world with fewer choices, especially when analysis paralysis is kicking in. That is when my mind starts to think about the prairie. That doesn’t last long before I am reminded that “simpler” is very different than “easy”:  Mary went blind because of scarlet fever (which I had when I was 4!); my life would have consisted of getting married, having babies, and cleaning everything by hand; and the average life expectancy in the 1880s was my current age. Perspective is quickly placed when I think of it that way!

Once I get my new-to-me bookshelf (and thus making enough space), I definitely plan to buy the entire collection. I plan reread them often enough to make it worthwhile, plus just seeing them on the shelf will make me smile.

What books are worthy of a re-read to you? or Where do you mentally go when your current situation is getting to be a bit much?

3 thoughts on “Lessons from the Prairie”

  1. The little house collection you have pictured is the EXACT set my daughter got me for Christmas last year. She knows how much I love those books. I love the simplicity of their life, and the values. I love that her “everyday ordinary” life seemed worthy to record. It’s a good lesson to all of us, I think. What we do today may seem commonplace in our individual lives, but to future generations it may, unbelievably to us now, feel simple and nostalgic. A simpler time? Makes it hard to imagine where we may be headed.

    And I relate to Pa. I’m definitely a gypsy at heart.

    Where do I go when I need to retreat? To a book or out under a night sky.

    Enjoyed this post Tammy.


    1. I am more firmly rooted in my belief that we are sisters separated at birth now than ever before!

      One of your statements really made me pause. Wow, if people look back onto our lifetime longing for our simpler era, what would that mean about the future?!?!?!?!?


  2. Faster and faster and more and more multi-tasking I fear. Unless more of us move toward slowing down, breathing, savoring, etc. I don’t know how much more complexity we can bear. Sisters? I think yes.


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