12 July 2007

Laura Ingalls Wilder

So you may or may not know I just moved. Even fewer would know I moved to Laura Ingalls Wilder country. It wasn't a factor in the decision I promise, but a fact we found out after the move. A fact my almost 7 year old daughter picked up on quickly and begged me to go visit since we moved. I held her off long enough on the after were settled argument and I took her Monday. We live less than an hour from Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The place immortalized in the TV show and filmed in Simi Valley, CA. Looks nothing like it. The present day Walnut Grove is a town of less than a 1,000 and boasts the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant, three weekends in July where they have lookalike contests which don't just require looking like the Laura and all the rest, but also knowing extensively about the characters themselves. The year round facility is a collection of building none of which is actually associated with Laura's original stay. If you want to see where Laura laid her head its a walk out in a field to see the remnants of a dugout. In other word a hole. Inside all these buildings though there was no stone unturned as far as Laura's real background. Family pictures, fill ins for things that were mentioned in the books. This is what Laura's favorite dishes looked like. Laura was 26 times removed relation to the princes William and Henry or was it more than that.

There was one little article written about the time that the TV show started(they have a whole room relating to it). It was just by the local paper, but it was pointing out that the books are fiction of a sorts. She wrote them as children's books when she was in her 60's and 70's, the first was supposed to tell of her time when she was three that was when they actually lived in the little house on the prairie, in Kansas. The publisher said there was no way she could remember that time and she changed her age to 5. It of course through all the other dates off and there's where it essentially became fiction. As they were children's books she used no dates, no full names half the time. But the museum had pictures of the walnut grove citizens mentioned after how much research I don't know. There was no Nellie Oleson that can be found in town, but if most of the people are real and the things happened to some degree is it really fiction or dramatized non-fiction. The dates thing sounds more like things have been changed to protect the innocent sort of warning. And the TV show don't get me started on the license they took with the 9 places that Laura lived as she was growing up. Walnut Grove was just a stop on their constant travels around the Midwest.