Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Interview Series: Laura Ingalls

This week's interview is with that darling child of the frontier, Laura Ingalls. Let's hear what Laura's got to say.

Greg: Welcome, Laura. It's really great to have you here.

Laura: Thank you for inviting me. I haven't seen this many trees since we moved away from the big woods.

Greg: Why don't you tell us a little bit about that, Laura.

Laura: Why sure. I was born in the big woods, in Wisconsin. Pa and Ma and Mary and me were real happy there. We had the best of times, working on the farm, and sugaring off--that's making maple syrup iffin' ya didn't know. Sometimes, after sugaring there'd be a dance. I loved the dances. Pa would play his fiddle, and we had a grand time.

Winters were cold, but wonderful. At night we'd sit by the fire and listen to Pa play his fiddle. Mary and I would dance with Ma and clap our hands. Sometimes I'd just sit quiet and listen. I could listen to Pa play for days on end, if his arms would let him.

Greg: Sounds lovely. How did you come to leave Wisconsin?

Laura: Pa got word that there was land opening up in Kansas. He sold our little house in the big woods, bought a covered wagon, and took us lock, stock and barrel to Kansas. Funny thing, he never told us it was still technically Indian Territory. I suppose he didn't want to worry us. Ma was pretty surprised. She wasn't partial to Indians, I've since found out.

Pa built the most lovely little house on that ol' prairie, but even Pa couldn't do it by himself. Our new neighbor, Mr. Edwards, helped him some. Pa put in the floor, put on a roof, and dug the well all by himself, though. He was just the strongest, handsomest and smartest man in the whole Kansas territory was Pa.

Greg: So everything was perfect, I take it.

Laura: Well, no. We had our share of trouble. There was the fever, for one. Ma called it fever 'n' ague. It nearly done us all in. Ma says we got it from eating watermelon, although that never made much sense to me.

Once we were better, Mr. Edwards brought us Christmas presents from Independence. That sure was a nice Christmas, right after being so sick and all. We were happy there, but we had to move again on account of our land really still belonged to the Indians and the army was gonna make us leave.

Greg: Oh dear, so it was on the road again, was it? Where did you wind up next?

Laura: Funny enough, we wound up on the banks of Plum Creek--that's near Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Our bulldog, Jack, came with us, and little Carrie. Pa traded our two horses to Mr. Hanson for some land.

At first we lived in a house dug out of a hill, but Pa built a nice wood house soon enough. He farmed the land and did all right for himself, all things considered.

I liked Walnut Grove. I got to go to an actual, real school for the first time in my life. My teacher, Miss. Beadle, was a real inspiration to me. That's where we met that old Nellie Oleson. She was so high falutin' calling us country girls like she was born and raised in New York City. Well, Walnut Grove, Minnesota is no New York City, I can tell you. I don't know where she got such strange notions.

Greg: So, did you stay in Walnut Grove?
Laura: Land sakes, no! Things were all right for a time, but after the plague of locusts wiped out our crops, and Pa was nearly froze to death in a blizzard, and we all got scarlet fever that made Mary go blind, it was time to move on again.

After leaving the banks of Plum Creek, we moved on to the shores of Silver Lake in South Dakota. It was really the idea of my Aunt Docia who had come to Minnesota on a visit. She said Pa should come and work in my Uncle Henry's railroad camp in South Dakota. Ma and Pa thought it was a good idea, so we all up and moved again.

Pa sold out, and took the wagon and the team, while we followed by train, Mary being so weak still and all. It was exciting travelling on the train, I'd never been on a train before. It went so wonderfully fast. I didn't know you could go as fast as that!

So Pa was all set working for the railroad. But, wouldn't you know it, not long after, the railroad camp pulled up stakes and headed back east. Things weren't so good. Winter was coming on, and we still hadn't found a place to stay.

Luckily, Pa was able to find us a place watching the county surveyor's house for the winter. We were living high off the hog there, I can tell you. In the spring, Pa found us some land, and we got settled. We stayed there for quite a spell.

Greg: Well, it certainly sounds like you've had quite an adventurous life for one so young. Maybe you shoould write a book!
Laura: You know, I've always thought about writing a book. Maybe one day when I'm grown I'll up and do it.

Greg: Well, good luck with it. Thank you so much, Laura. It was a pleasure talking with you.
Laura: The pleasure was all mine, you're almost as nice as Mr. Edwards, but you don't have an old scraggly beard like him.


  1. I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books...and, of course, the television show! Thanks for the reminder.

    1. You're welcome. I started watching the series when the first aired, because my sisters watched it. I read the books later. Very good!

  2. You've got Laura spot on! I grew up reading the books about her childhood and loved them! Thank you for taking me back there again....

    1. Thanks! That means a lot. Glad you liked the post!

  3. One of my favorite series of books as a child. I wanted to be Laura! You did an excellent job with the interview. Spot on! I still love to watch the show on tv when I catch it, but I usually end up crying over something towards the end. :)

    1. There's one with Ernest Borgnine where Laura blames herself for her baby brother dying, so she goes up to the top of a mountain to ask God to take her and bring back her brother. That one always gets me.