Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Whose This Lady and Why Is She A Heroine To Me?

When I was growing up, this woman played a huge part in the life of my imagination, I so wanted to be her.

Bet your wondering who she is!!!!

She was born on February 7, 1867 near the village of Pepin, near Lund, Winsconsin and died February 10, 1957. The village still celebrate her every September with traditional music, crafts and a look alike contest, a spelling bee and other events.

You still don't know who she is, well some of you may.

She is Laura Ingalls Wilder, that's right "THE" Laura Ingalls of the Little House on the Prairie or as the books where called The Little House In The Big Woods, The Little House Series as they became more commonly known. The first was published in 1931 and has continued to be published to this day and has been translated into 40 languages.

I first came across these books in my Grandfathers shop. Grandpa was a Pawn Broker in the dock area of Southampton and had come from poverty himself and so while it might have been unusual for Pawn Broker to take in books, he did in fact know first hand how hard it was for people and so took in every thing from books to silver teaspoons, your Sunday best suit, to your gold and silver. More about his little shop another time...I really should tell you more about the dusty old shop; old day soon.

Rooting about in the shop one day, I came across the whole series and as they had laid there unclaimed for a very long time, Grandpa allowed me to claim them as my own. They were all first editions and I am sorry to say that they were lost in our house fire a few years back.

I remember well getting stuck into the books and being transported to a time and place I didn't know existed. How Laura became my best friend, even my mum read them and then a little later in time they brought out the t.v series and I was lost and transported again.

I always related to Laura, she was high spirited and curious about life, always defending others and often in trouble. Something a little like me. Can't say I was ever as nice as she was at times, but I'm guessing that I had those moments too.

What I didn't know was that she was a real person. In truth I had never thought about her as real. As a child Laura was very real to me, but she lived in the books and t.v shows that would transport me to Walnut Groove.

It was only this morning that she turned into a real person. When I accidentally came across a letter written by her that also contained a recipe of hers for gingerbread. I was checking an e-mail from Tipnut.com and found it, further searching lead me to a letter written by Laura where she mentions the recipe.

So as it's Christmas and some of you may be thinking of making some gingerbread, I thought you might like to share in this little discovery of mine.
The letter was written to, Letter to Jennie D. Lindquist (October 19, 1953)
Here's the recipe:-
1 cup brown sugar blended with

1/2 cup lard or other shortening.
1 cup molasses mixed well with this.
2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water
(Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).

Mix all well.

To 3 cups of flour have added one teaspoon each of the following spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves; and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift all into cake mixture and mix well.

Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs.

The mixture should be quite thin.

Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.

Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.

I have no idea if this a good recipe or not, but I do intend to bake it and I'll let you know then.

A couple of other things I found out. The "fiddle her father played every night when she and her siblings were in their beds and the sound she drifted of to every night still exists in her home.

My Grandpa played the violin, which is as far as I know the same as a fiddle and I loved it when he played. Must have been nice to hear it every night as you drifted off to sleep.

Walnut Grove is a real place and they also have a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum click HERE.

Here's a replica of the house she was raised in, spacious it ain't.

This is a replica of the inside of the home that she grew up in, makes the one from the t.v show look like luxury; and I thought our house was small. You can see more HERE

You can find out heaps about her on Wikipedia, HERE which will then send you off in all sorts of directions, I certainly had fun today finding out more about her.

In case you are wondering who the letter was too.

Jennie D. Lindquist.....Horn Book Magazine Editor.
editor from 1951 to 1958

When Jennie Lindquist, formerly managing editor of The Horn Book, became editor in 1951, she was face to face with a children’s book publishing industry creating a greater variety of books than ever before. She skillfully kept the magazine on course under this onslaught of titles — plumping up the issues, and allowing the reviews to grow a bit longer and occasionally more controversial.


  1. Oh, what a wonderful series of books--yup, read it when I was younger and watched pieces of the TV series. I much preferred the books--but I'm a book kinda gal.

    Gosh, this brought back some wonderful memories.....

  2. I have heard of the little house on the prarie but not read any of the books. S he sounds an interesting person.


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