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I know why I love Amish things so much. I grew up reading about wagon trains, bread-baking, and gardening. There’s something special about the slower-paced way of life.
Yes, you guessed it: Growing up, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books! I read them many times, and some images are still in my mind—Pa circling his hands around Ma’s waist, wolves howling outside the log cabin, crossing a wide river, and Laura pushing her way through the tall cornstalks. (Can you picture those same scenes, too?)
You can imagine how thrilled I was when recently my husband and I visited Rocky Ridge—Laura and Almanzo’s home. http://lauraingallswilderhome.
Rocky Ridge is about one-and-a-half hours northeast of Branson. My heart started pounding as soon as read “Mansfield” on the street sign. It was a real place! I wanted to pinch myself. Going there was the same to me as it would be taking my kids to Narnia.
The farmhouse at Rocky Ridge was mostly built by Laura and Almanzo themselves. A museum and bookstore have been added on. There’s also the Rock House a few miles away that their daughter Rose built for them.
—The kitchen is tiny ,and the counters are very low. Laura was under five feet tall, and Almanzo built the kitchen to fit her. (I’m getting teared up again just writing that!)
—Right next to Laura’s bedroom was her writing room. In addition to a small desk, there was a fainting couch. Sometimes Almanzo would get up in the middle of the night and find Laura sleeping there because she’d gotten up to write but didn’t want to go back to bed for the risk of waking him. (I can relate!)
—The home and the furnishings are so very simple, and they’re exactly as Laura left them. She died Feburary 1957, and Rose opened the home to visitors just three months later.
Facts from the website:
In 1885, Laura Elizabeth Ingalls and Almanzo James Wilder were married August 25 in Dakota Territory by the Reverend E. Brown of the Congregational Church.
In 1894, Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder, with their daughter Rose, settled on Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Missouri. They established a successful farm, built their own home, and settled down permanently in the Ozark hills. Rose grew up and moved away and became the well-known author, journalist, and world-traveler Rose Wilder Lane.
In 1932, Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first of her beloved Little House books, which described the pioneering of the Ingalls and Wilder families during the 1870′s – 1890′s. All of the nine manuscripts for these famous books were penned right here on Rocky Ridge Farm. Their publication made the Wilders well-known international literary characters.
The thing that surprised me the most was learning about Rose. It was Rose who inspired Laura to write her books, but Rose was also an accomplished writer herself. Rose was a writer, real estate agent, and journalist. In the late 1920s, she was reputed to be one of the highest-paid female writers in America.
At the height of her career Rose wanted to help her parents, so she built The Rock House. It was modern in every way. Almanzo and Laura lived there for eight years, and Rose lived in the farmhouse. When Rose moved to the east coast to be closer to her publisher, Laura and Almanzo lived in the Rock House where they stayed until their deaths.
Whew, those are a few of the things I learned! But in discovering them I also discovered a part of my childhood . . . and I got a glimpse into why I like things “not quite” Amish. Laura’s influence had something to do with that!
Today’s giveaway is Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley, courtesy of Tricia Goyer! To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. If you have trouble seeing the widget, try using a different browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, etc.). Only those in the continental U.S. are eligible to win. The winner will be announced on tomorrow’s blog post.