vintage book ~~ the long winter

Is winter starting to feel long for you too?  It really shouldn’t for me because it came rather late.  But now that March is only a couple of days away I am feeling  very  done with it all.  The view from my window hasn’t changed in weeks…and this was on a pretty day:

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And the only book I keep thinking about is this :

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HOW did they make it through the long, dark, cold, brutal days of Winter?  Without electric, gas, DVDs and the Internet???  I love reading but come on!

Have you ever read the “Little House” books as an adult?  I read the entire series about four years ago.  As a child, they were my favorites.  I would dream about having the same adventures Laura and Mary had…playing under their big pine trees and making candy in the snow (Little House in the Big Woods), traveling by buggy out to Indian territory, camping out while Pa played the fiddle (Little House on the Prairie),  living in a dugout (On the Banks of Plum Creek), getting fancy name cards (Little Town on the Prairie), and so much more that completely captivated my young, adventurous imagination.

And then I read them as an adult and found  a totally different perspective.  Holy cow.  Travelling by horse and buggy through a WILDERNESS, with three YOUNG children in tow plus all one’s possessions and provisions that are supposed to last who knows how long…I don’t think so.  And the camping out bit while Pa played the fiddle?  Not fun for Ma who had to cook over a fire and clean it all up and then get the kids to bed while maintaining some level of sanity.  Nor did she have Xanax.  If I had been Ma and heard a violin playing in the middle of nowhere after a grueling, endless day of life on the road wagon trail, I would have looked for a little padded cell to dive into.   Living in a dugout??? No way.  What kind of bugs were part of that deal?  I know what I see when I dig in the garden and it is enough to know that I don’t want to dig deeper– let alone live in the hole.  Plus all the other stuff…building  houses and barns, digging  wells, fighting off locusts and prairie fires, burning corn husks and gnawing on whatever sustenance was around just to get through seven months of snow because the train (aka LIFE) couldn’t make it out to you.  Man! This lifestyle was not for the faint of heart.  While Pa was the hero of Laura’s books – her adored father, provider, plucky musician – he totally got on my adult nerves.  If I had been married to a man like that, so full of three-quarters wanderlust and one-quarter self, dragging his posse of women all across the Great Plains, I would’ve went on strike and refused to move beyond Plum Creek (once I was out of the dugout of course…Ma did end up with a “beautiful house with real glass window panes and a hinge door”).  Insufferable man.

YET, they are happy books with happy stories of simpler times and families working together, playing together– being together– no matter what challenges came their way.  Although my (slightly) jaded adult perspective diminished my romanticized childhood memories of these books, I still loved every single word and I know I will love (read) them again one day.

Have you read the Little House series as an adult?  Which is/was your favorite book?

~~Heather~~

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26 thoughts on “vintage book ~~ the long winter

    • Oh my goodness…your comment was in my spam box–as if!! I think anyone who loved these books as a child should read them as an adult…I really do.

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  1. I’ve been waiting for your icicle photo…nice. Since I live in a home that was built in the 1730’s, I often think about those that came before me and how hard their life was in our home.

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    • I think about that too. Our house would have been one of the first in this community…the town was created in 1836. It is amazing to think of a structure standing the long (or longer), home to so many generations…not to mention all the world history that happened around it too. : ).

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  2. No, I haven’t read any of these books – I just remember watching Little House on the Prairie AGES ago. Thought it was such a wonderful family and liked all the stuff they did. But I agree – looking at all that today – NO WAY 😉
    What lovely icicles you have on your house 🙂
    I’ve been freezing for the last two days. Wouldn’t mind a little more sunshine and warmth 🙂
    Have a very HAPPY day 😀

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    • I loved the TV show but it was LOOSELY based on the books. I grew up on that show though and would love to have the entire series (currently just have season 1). I would definitely recommend the books to anyone of any age. They are true classics.

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  3. I read them a LONG time ago and I enjoyed them. I also watched the show on TV. My sister was nuts about the dad, Charles. He was such a perfect saint on the show. I still tease her about her infatuation with him. Mind you, I quite fancied Almanzo, when he came along, but always worried that I’d end up blind like Mary. I think I preferred Anne of Green Gables!

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    • Oh, I love the Anne series too. But I was older when I read all of those…somehow they escaped my radar until my late teens. Did you ever read the Emily of New Moon books too (there were only 3)?

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  4. I did read some of these books, although I was a Nancy Drew girl myself. But I love your take on your grownup view of them. I know I would have made a lousy pioneer!

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    • Me too! We have done a lot of camping which I enjoyed and miss. But we never did the rustic thing…there was always a bath house nearby–merci beaucoup.

      I didn’t read much Nancy Drew…a few around 5th grade. I only started reading Agatha Christie this year! I am a little behind.

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  5. Oh, Heather, it is 10:00 pm and I’m reading your blog not expecting to get your modern take on the books. I couldn’t stop laughing. You are such a good writer. I love your sense of humor. Pa a insufferable man and plucky musician???? Dragging his posse of women across the great plains. Love it!!!!

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    • Let me know if you do. They are easy, fast reads and there really is a lot of history to learn in them about that time period. Very enjoyable!

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  6. I dearly loved Little Joe Cartwright, but never did get into watching Landon do Little House stuff. Never have read the books, but I keep meaning to. I loved Trixie Beldon books as a kid, and someone I knew had all the Cherry Ames set. When I was in the 6th Grade I discovered Charlotte Baker’s book Green Poodles. My best friend and I kept that book checked out of the library all year, reading and re-reading the silly thing. This last year I broke down and paid £15 (down from £80-something!) for it and I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it. The other books I loved as a child were anything my Louisa May Alcott. Knowing about her real life father doesn’t make me admire him much, however. Possibly a reason he didn’t figure large in her books?

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    • Shelley, I have heard of Trixie Beldon but never Cherry Ames or Green Poodles–I will look those up and see what they are about. I still love reading children’s literature (young adult mostly). Have you ever read anything by Gene Stratton Porter (have we had the conversation before?)? If you like Louisa May Alcott you would probably enjoy Gene Stratton Porter. Funny, I just realized I have visited both of those authors home in the past 4 years.

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    • It is funny how perspective changes–or comfort and fear set in–as we get older. I remember in 5th grade thinking how cool it would be to rocket into space, go to the moon. No thanks.

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    • I loved the books more but I really did like the show when I was a kid–guess I still do because it reminds me of my childhood. Sounds like I missed out on the Trixie Belden books!

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  7. I started reading books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my children in the early 70’s. They are wonderful. However as an adult I have loved owning and reading Little House in the Ozarks. This book features a collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s rediscovered writings, ninety percent of which have never been published in book form. Between the years of 1911 and 1925, this pioneer women journalist wrote on topics as varied as the wind which danced around her Rocky Ridge Farm. She talks about the changes to her sleepy town of Mansfield, Missouri. She talks at length about women, their voice , and their involvement in the work force, and other issues pertinent to women’s roles in the early 1900’s. There are more than 140 pieces of Wilder’s timeless wit and wisdom. Her humor and spunk transcend the years. I am telling you that I have read this over and over again as her observations and insights will warm your heart and touch your life. Thanks for sharing Heather, I know how much you enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilders stories. Hugs, Auntie Marcia

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    • Auntie Marcia?!! Oh my goodness. You may have started reading the Little House books in the 1970s but when did you start reading my blog?? I am so happy to have a comment from you. And I will be checking into the LIttle House in the Ozarks. I remember at the time of re-reading the series a few years ago of checking out a biography on her–she was such an adventurous soul with great spunk and determination.

      Hugs to you too!

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  8. What a difference a couple of decades makes, eh? I have often tried to imagine making that trip. Dust blowing in my face all day long and covering, what?, 6 miles? Oh, please no.
    I’ve never read the books but always loved the TV series.

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    • You never read the books as a child??? Sorry to say, but you really missed out on some adventures. I loved the TV series too even though it was different from the books. I miss good, family TV like that.

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  9. I couldn’t agree more. I had the same reaction reading the books as an adult and a mother; what was Ma thinking? I can’t believe she put up with it. She came from a comfortable town-life back East; I suppose she had a bit of wanderlust too!

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    • She would have had to have…any of those pioneer women had to have it because they were “choosing” an incredibly hard life. Did you ever see the PBS special that aired a few years back called Frontier House (i think)? It took modern families of today and put them into the Montana frontier for a few months–reality style. Each household’s goal was to plan for the winter months–see if they could survive through it with enough foodstuffs, farm animals, etc. That was a real eye opener too. And maybe the ONLY reality TV show I ever enjoyed watching. : )

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