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.
What a fantastic tour! I like LIW, as well, though I haven’t read all of her many books. I believe she wrote newspaper columns about her later life out in the countryside? She saw so many, many changes in her lifetime and recorded a lot of them. I’m really glad your socks and your husband were able to take you to DeSmet.
To answer your question, Christine, yes, Laura did write a newspaper column. This was before she became a children’s writer, and I think where she honed her craft. xo
I have so enjoyed getting to know a little about you from your blog…..and the traveling socks what a great way to share your travels….Now I am off to explore more of your posts….Great meeting you…
Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m happy to have visited you, too. xo
Well you know I would have LOVED this! (Being an absolute Laura fan myself, that is.) Maybe it’s one reason I work in a two-room old-fashioned school. It reminds me of the Little House series. Thanks, gentle socks, for giving us this tour.
Stacy Lyn really wants to work in your two-room schoolhouse, Kathy. And live in the big woods. Another dream, perhaps. xo
What a blessing that you got to got there together. Indeed, such childhood memories stay with us for the duration of life and this was perfect for LIVING it kind of.
Did send you a link via google+ that you like about writing. Keep at it as it is very healthy science has found out.
Good for us!
PS – if you can delete the previous comment; Please do so!
I saw the link you sent on Google – I’m not surprised at all by those findings. I’ve always found writing to be cathartic.
I’ll stop over to your blog sometime this week. I’ve just been incredibly busy lately, but I’m hoping for a break soon. xo
I hope to visit there soon–to see if the visions in my mind match the actual buildings. I visited their home in Missouri and the home that Rose built for them, which they were not content to stay in
I’ve seen the farm in Missouri, too, Ann, but the rock house was being refurbished, so I didn’t get to see that. One day I hope to. Next I think I want to go to Independence, Kansas. I know that the house there is only a replica, but I’d still like to see it. xo
I liked the part about the orange!
Just another factoid from the novel! xo
Keep those socks moving! Looks like you had a great time in the Great North. I have never traveled there. The novel sounds interesting. Its amazing what the American pioneers had to do to carve out a nation like the U.S. It is full of stories of lives ordinary, but extraordinary. Thanks, Stacy for posting such an interesting vignette of a novel and a place that is part of us but almost from a another world.
“A part of us but almost from another world” – sums it up perfectly, Bill. xo