Please tell us a little about yourself:
I was born and raised here in De Smet. As a child, I remember going to the library and checking out the Little House books. They still have a few copies in the back with my 1960s kid-scrawled handwriting in the front of those books. In my free time, I like to garden and sew – especially American Girl doll clothing.
What do you prefer: coffee or tea?
I’m partial to tea!
How long have you been working at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society?
I started in 1990 and worked as a tour guide for five years and then I became the office manager. In 2003, I became the director.
What is your role at the Society?
My official title is director. I manage the day-to-day operations. In a given week I might work on wallpapering the Ingalls Home, giving a tour, working on creating a new Laura Ingalls Wilder calendar and planning field trips. We are a small, non-profit organization – I wear many hats!
Which book in the Little House series is your favorite?
Hum, it is probably a toss-up for me between The Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years. I enjoy the romance of Laura and Almanzo, but I love Laura’s teen years in De Smet. While she was living in De Smet, it was a youthful season of her life, before all the worries of being an adult.
Which book about Laura’s life and legacy is your favorite?
Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder by John Miller. It is a wealth of information about Laura! The author includes footnotes, so you can see where his ideas about Laura came from. It provides a clear knowledge of her.
What projects are you excited about working on right now?
Oh! That’s easy! Right now, I am working on a book called The Images of De Smet. The photos are all old postcards. Just today, we had four more postcards come in that I had never, ever seen in my life. A De Smet resident just had them at their home. We scanned the photos and they will be included. I think we have enough photos and information for four books and we’d still have some leftover!
Which of the historic buildings on the Historic Homes tour is your favorite?
I’d have to say the Ingalls Home. I have spent hours and hours working there documenting artifacts, painting and preserving. I find it to be a very peaceful house. I always think, “If walls could talk!”
If you were giving a tour of the Historic Homes and only had time to show visitors two artifacts, which two would they be?
First, I would show them Pa’s big green animal book. In By the Shores of Silver Lake, the girls were playing outside and they saw a bird. They asked Pa what the bird was and he got out that book to help the girls identify the bird. I can show you the picture of the bird right there in the book!
Second, I am really fond of our collection of letters between Aubrey Sherwood and Laura. She writes to him a little about her memories from De Smet. Being a hometown girl, that is really neat for me to read.