Hello, Gentle Readers. It is we, Stacy Lyn’s Traveling Socks, here to give you the final installment of Stacy Lyn’s road trip to South Dakota.
We’ve saved the best for last – DeSmet, South Dakota. Those of you who know Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House saga, know that DeSmet is the setting for Little Town on the Prairie.
When Stacy Lyn was a little girl, she dreamed of living in the country like Laura. She dreamed of being a children’s writer like Laura. As an adult, she worked to turn the sad little girl’s dreams into a reality.
So now she lives in a little cabin on the bayou in her beloved Louisiana.
But her superman took her far from home to experience another dream from a another lifetime – Laura’s town on the prairie. DeSmet, South Dakota.
We (her Traveling Socks) toured the lovely little town with Stacy Lyn and walked through the house that Pa built. Photos of the interior were forbidden, so you will have imagine Pa’s craftmanship and Ma’s decorative touch – or better yet, read (or re-read) the books, and Laura’s vivid descriptions will come to life.
We stepped inside the school where Laura and Carrie attended classes. Stacy Lyn imagined herself sitting next to Laura while she rocked the desk to and fro in defiance of teacher Miss Eliza Jane Wilder. (Miss Wilder was Laura’s future sister-in-law and guardian of Laura’s daughter Rose when Rose moved to Crowley, Louisiana – yes, Louisiana! – to complete high school. Stacy Lyn knows esoteric facts because she reads anything she can find on her childhood heroine.)
Norm delighted (as much as a non-fan can delight) in this replica of the Brewster School, where Laura taught far from home at the tender age of fifteen. Mrs. Brewster was a madwoman – and her name was changed in the story, too, for good reason.
We also toured DeSmet itself to see other important sites from Laura’s stories. This is Cap Garland’s house. You may remember that Cap and Almanzo Wilder (Laura’s future husband) saved the townsfolk from starvation during The Long Winter by venturing out of town to find a farmer who had stockpiled wheat. (Stacy Lyn believes that Almanzo should have sold his own wheat to the townspeople rather than risk his life, but this is just her opinion. You may disagree.)
Later we found what was then the Congregationalist Church – of which Pa was a founding member – and the Loftus General Store, where teen-aged Laura attended a dime social upstairs. (And where she ate an orange for the first time in her life!)
One of the most enchanting sites on the tour was the surveyor’s house, where the Ingalls family lived one winter to keep everything in order until the surveyor’s return in spring when he resumed his job for the railroad.
Our final stop on this winsome journey was the Big Slough, where Laura was free to roam (and Stacy Lyn was free to dream) in By the Shores of Silver Lake.
Just like that, the day was finished. Stacy Lyn felt that she had awakened from a dream. She had, indeed, but this dream had come true. Sometimes things like this happen, even to city girls with country dreams.