I was there when they moved to the "Banks of Plum Creek," and struggled through "The Long Winter," before settling in "Little Town on the Prairie." Laura became a school teacher, and met Almanzo in the "Happy Golden Years." (We learned more about Almanzo in "Farmer Boy.")
I was with Laura and Almanzo during "The First Four Years," of their marriage, when Laura became a mother and struggled to make ends meet, before the family ended their search for a place of their own; "On the Way Home," to Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura wrote her books.
Her stories of life as a pioneer girl were nothing short amazing, and I found myself anxious to read the next book. Her storytelling sparked my adventurous spirit and I imagined I was with her every step of the way; crossing the Missouri river, struggling to survive the horrible winters on the prairie, saying goodbye to Jack, their faithful brindle bulldog, battling Scarlet Fever and Malaria, and having only a stove or fireplace for heat, as well as reading and sewing by candlelight. The stories helped me appreciate the modern conveniences I often took for granted.
This year marks the 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Ushers Ferry Historical Village is celebrating by holding winter activities Feb. 5 from 2-3:30 pm. Activities includes a tea, crafts, music, and games for kids and adults alike.
The registration fee is $20 for Cedar Rapids residents and $24 for non-residents. Advance registration is required. To register, please call 319-286-5566 or go to www.crrec.org to register for program #314706-01.
Laura was born February 7, 1867, near Pepin, Wisconsin. Laura and her family traveled across the prairies of Minnesota and South Dakota, before settling in De Smet, South Dakota. Laura became a school teacher and met her future husband, Almanzo Wilder, during wagon rides between the school and home. She married Almanzo in 1885. Many years later, Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who grew up to become a reporter for the San Francisco Bulletin, encouraged her mother to write about her childhood.
Laura's first attempt at writing an autobiography was in the 1920s, which she called "Pioneer Girl." It was rejected by the publishers, but Laura was determined to succeed. She spent the next several years rewriting her story, which included a new title. She also changed the story to a third-person perspective.
Laura published "Little House in the Big Woods" in 1932, the first of her "Little House" books, and finished the last book in 1943. She died February 10, 1957 on her farm in Mansfield, Missouri at the age of 90.
For more on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder visit www.lauraingallswilderhome.com.