Saturday, May 31, 2014

These Happy Golden Years - Claytonopolis Style

A drawing Alex and I made after reading Happy Golden Years

We visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri after the wedding we attended.  This is the home and farm where she lived out most of her life.

After Alex and I finished reading all nine books in the little house series, my own personal fascination with Laura Ingalls Wilder did not end.  As I was looking for books at the library for my son to read about Lewis and Clark, I stumbled upon a biography of LIW.  After reading that biography, I am even more enamored with her.

A favorite quote from LIW was a letter she wrote for a library dedication:
"The Little House books are stories of long ago.  The way we live and your schools are much different now, so many changes have made living and learning easier.  But the real things haven't changed.  It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
I used to struggle to be happy.  I so desperately wanted to be happy.  Eventually, I found consolation in a relationship with God.  But, during a time of loneliness and sadness a friend said to me he had heard it said, "If you're not happy here, you won't be happy anywhere."  It was a bit of a revelation to me.  Yes, it is possible that if my circumstances changed life might be easier, but would I be happier?  The revelation is that I make my own happiness.  It was the first time in my life, that I realized that I could simply choose to be happy/content no matter the circumstances.

The farm house that Almanzo built for Laura
Unfortunately, they would not allow pictures taken inside the museum, so we only have outside pictures.  But, we were able to see Pa's fiddle and many of the possessions Laura wrote about in the books.  I suppose she wrote about those certain things, because those are the things she had held onto.  She probably held onto them, because they had significance to her.  But it is an amazing thing to read a story about people of long ago, and imagine all the things described, then go and see the actual things that were once held by not just characters in a book, but real people.

The museum had some of Laura's favorite clothing on display.  In the books, Pa's nickname for Laura was half-pint.  But, she also speaks of how strong she was.  I was always curious about her size.  I was surprised to see how small she was.  She was under five foot tall and from her clothing she was very petite.  The interior of their home was made petite as well.  The ceilings and counters were low.  The furniture was also low.  The rooms were also small.

Laura's daughter, Rose, was a successful writer and built her parents a new modern home called the Rock House.  But after living in it for just four or five years, they moved back to their farm house.

Andrew and I liked the Rock House very much.  We would be happy to live in it in our old age.  We asked Alex if he would build a house for us like that when were old.

We stayed at a lovely little cabin near the museum.  It was very peaceful.  We wish we could have stayed another day or two.  We were surprised to hear that land was very inexpensive in the area.  It is still very rural there.  In fact, the owner of the cabins and land said she would sell us the whole site for $550,000.  She said she missed her children, who live in Utah, very much.  We smirked at the offer and told her it was out of our reach.

I must give my husband a big laud for driving eight hours out of our way to take me to this museum.  However, I figured that there was no better time for us to go.  I felt if we did not go now, we never would.  I proposed this trip as though it were an educational home schooling trip for the kids, since we just finished reading the books.  But, we all know the trip was really for me.  I feel very gratified now that I have had this experience.

Look at the expression on my face.  I am like a kid a Disneyland. 

Mno Hiya Lyta!

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