Happy Birthday Laura! Dozens of readers share their favorite “Little House” memories!

Today is Laura’s special day! This year, we wanted to remember her legacy by asking Laura fans everywhere to explain what they loved about the Little House books & when they started reading them!

Dozens of Laura fans responded and their memories are all included below, along with a few great photos!

Etta was our randomly selected winner of the book Pioneer Girl. Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate this special day!

Dany: I’m far too glad to have found this blog and to arrive still in time to take part to Laura’s birthday celebration, I didn’t know she was born on February 7th, just one day after me! Well, I’m writing from italy and here the series of the ‘Little house in the Prairie’ arrived for the first time when I was just a little girl, aged 6, if I’m not mistaken, and I soon felt enchanted by this world I’ve always dreamed about and by this personage above all, the sweetness and the strenght of her personality caught me soon and fascinated me so much, I’d have loved to have her as my best friend, and in my fantasy world she was, I thought her to be a good example for every girl to follow!

Later, much later, I knew that it was a true story and that Laura lived for real, and it made me appreciate everything even much more.

I’m so thankful to who has decided to start and take care of this blog, I’m going and follow it with much love …. And I wonder if I’ll be so lucky to win, that’s would be a wonderful birthday gift to me too! Sending blessings, Dany

Donna Patrice Allen: I first discovered Laura in the 2nd grade. We had a library next to our school and if we got permission, we were allowed to go browse and check out books. Already a bookworm, I loved browsing through all the newest adventures. One day I discovered Laura’s books – way on the top shelf. Can still remembering standing on tiptoe to reach “Little House in the Big Woods.” Needless to say, I’d found an author who had a profound effect on my life.

Even though I didn’t quite understand all the books at that age, I read through the whole series. Laura became my “imaginary friend.” My Barbie dolls became the Ingalls family and I learned to make covered wagons out of shoe boxes, tried to make a rag rug (not successful – LOL), learned to sew pioneer clothes (moderately successful) and discovered that someday I wanted to write like Laura.

Through the years I read and re-read Laura’s books. At an early age, I discovered that there were people who were trying to save Laura’s home in Mansfield. At one point William Anderson sent me a personal letter when I asked him about Rose. I still have a Charlotte doll and china shepherdess that I purchased through the early museum gift shop.

For my 50th birthday, my sister took me to several of the Little House sites. We finally got to Mansfield! It was a dream come true. That same year, my first book was published and I had fulfilled that dream – I was a writer like Laura.  🙂

Laura was so much a part of my life (and still is) that it’s hard to put into words what she has meant to me. I’m sure other ‘fans’ understand what I mean though. In fact, I finally got to ‘thank’ Laura in a small way by partially dedicating one of my books to her. In April 2014, my ebook, “Roses are Red, Diamonds are Blue,” was published. I was able to make my main character – Laura – someone else who loved the “Little House” books. In fact, there are clues in the mystery that only a Laura fan would know. Would you know how to figure out the mystery phrase, “the badger not the bridge?”

Picking a favorite Little House book is like asking someone which of their children is their favorite! But if I had to pick, it would be “By the Shores of Silver Lake.” Loved the idea of the family taking in boarders to help pay for Mary’s college, their friendship with the Boasts and Laura running ahead to find that pantry stocked with winter supplies. There’s just something about it that makes me feel warm and cozy.

Gina Olleen Veurink: My aunt gave me the whole set of Little House books as a Christmas gift when I was 8 years old. I still have the set even though it is in “greatly loved” condition! I have loved them ever since and read them every year!

Michelle Spandbauer: I was Laura for many many Halloweens!1907933_10203466663533403_1591590921902482621_n

Mindy Thomas: Growing up in a home that was not exactly under great circumstances, Laura’s books provided a peaceful escape for which I will always be thankful for.

Leona Pryor: My Mother and I got hooked on them when I was in grade school. I received my first set for my eleventh birthday. As of today, I think I have six different complete sets and a few first edition books.

Marianne McCarthy: I started reading the Laura books when I was in first grade. I have read them so many times, I have lost count. One of my favorite memories of the series is reading them aloud to my mother. It was the summer of 1989, and she went to Heaven that November. She was a reader but had never read the series. As I cried through Jack dying, Mary going blind, the Long Winter, my mother cried also. She agreed with me FINALLY, that the books were indeed better than the tv series. I have loved these books for many years, and they have become part of my comfort books. Love them beyond all measure!

Kanchana Rathnayake: I first tead ‘On the Banks of Plum Creek‘ when I was 7 years old. My mother brought the book from the library to me. For the first time I heard about crickets’ weather. It was a heartwarming, unforgettable story and I wanted to read all the little house books bacause I was excited to read more about their life.

Patty Collins: My favorite Little House Book is These Happy Golden Years. My favorite LH memory: when I was about 6 years old, my sister would send me across the street to the library to pick up books for her. She is about 6 years older than me. She would describe the cover of which LH book she wanted. I always brought the one she requested as well as Golden Years because I loved the cover so much. I would put them in my little tuff stuff plastic shopping cart with my dollies and drive them home. Although I was too little to read the books, I would carry it around and look at the pictures until it was time to return it to the library!

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Jennifer Chambers: I can’t accurately put into words what the Little House books meant to me. The plain, simple writing. My sister and I read the entire series, my Grandma would borrow my books to read and it was hard for me to part with them even with my Grandma. I watched the movie Laura Ingalls Wilder Beyond The Prarie and I cried because the characters embodies the spirit of each character. I felt like Laura was my personal friend.

Kimberly Turtenwald: I received my first set of Little House on the Prairie books for Christmas in first grade and have read them at least annually since then. I always had one in my hands as a child. In fact, I wore out the first set and had to order a second one when I was grown, but I still have my well-loved first set. I just can’t let it go. My mom actually had Little House in the Big Woods when I was very young and would read it to me so I heard that one often, even before I got my first set. I love them all, but These Happy Golden Years is my favorite. I always look forward to reading about Laura and Almanzo’s developing relationship!

Robin Overton-Morrison: I was 8 years old when I first read Little House in the Big Woods; all of the books were written in a format that made the easy and enjoyable to read.

Rebecca Gettel: My 5 year old daughter and I have been reading through the series at naptime since she was 3!

Letitia Watson Kotas: My 9 year old daughter just finished reading the whole series last night. I am so glad to have passed my love of Laura on to her!!!!

Wylene Bowman: I bought them for my daughter and I read them with her. Loved them.

Colleen Ann Corcoran Tourtellotte: My Mom was a teacher she had me and my sister’s read the book’s. And have had them for my Girl’s.

Marsha Heien: I’m afraid I was in high school before I discovered Laura. I was working in my first job as a library clerk in the Library Supervisor’s office at an elementary school library. Another clerk and I were shelving books and she mentioned, “Here is Little House on the Prairie,” It was my favorite series of books when I was a little girl.” I didn’t know what she was talking about so I checked out the series and read them that week. A few years ago I was able to visit Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, MO. I live in Stuttgart, Arkansas, so it is a day’s drive for me. But I still feel fortunate that I can visit one of Laura’s sites. I have been there several times and am a Life Member of the Association. I am trying to decide on my favorite book of the series. It is hard as I like them all. I wish Laura had written more of her life after they arrived in Mansfield. I have read the magazine articles she wrote that have been compiled in several different books, but I wish we had more of her thoughts and memories of her Mansfield years. I guess I would have to say that one of my favorite stories is from the first book, Big Woods, of the Xmas gatherings of all the family at Laura’s house and the good times she had then. I think she was just a remarkable woman. She went from traveling in a covered horse-drawn wagon as a little girl to flying in a plane to visit Rose in her later years. I so glad there are so many Associations and societies keeping her legacy alive.

Etta Coil: When I was in about the 4th grade, I read Little House on the Prairie. As an adult, I re-read it and the whole series while recovering from surgery. I had watched the TV series, but so much enjoyed reading the books. I bought and read the Rose series, the Martha series and the Caroline series as well. Plus some other miscellaneous books about Laura too. Because of financial reasons, I haven’t been able to add to my collection lately, but would love to win Pioneer Girl. Thank you for celebrating Laura’s birthday and the chance to win.

Bonnie Traher: It seems I have loved reading for so many years that I tend to forget just when. Have always loved books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and plan on sharing this with my baby granddaughter.

Deena Goodale: The year Laura died was the year I came into this world—1957—but the stories of Laura’s pioneer childhood became a part of my life a few years later. At a young age, books held an interest for me and soon grew into a pastime that sometimes led to reading into the wee hours of the night—especially during the summertime!

As a child, nightly bedtime reading, which included books from the Laura Ingalls Wilder collection, was time I enjoyed with my mother. Her love of reading was passed onto me during this special time we spent together.

During the Christmas of 1969, a favorite gift received was the book These Happy Golden Years which sits in my bookcase amongst a collection of other “Little House” books authored by Laura. Within a few short years of receiving the book, “The Little House on the Prairie” television series, which aired from 1974 to 1983, became a favorite for both my mother and I.

Although I had read all of the Little House books as a child and teenager, a few years ago, my interest was sparked once again when my daughter entered fourth grade and needed book reading suggestions for book reports. At that time, I suggested she read the Little House books which she had received from my mother, her grandmother, a couple of years before. While her classmates chose more contemporary authored books, I thought she would enjoy what I had enjoyed from my childhood.

Thus began our tradition of reading the books together at bedtime just like my mother had done with me. In my spare time, I began to read other books written about Laura, her mother, and her grandmothers as well as books written about her daughter Rose. At the end of my daughter’s fifth grade year, during our two-year Laura Ingalls Wilder book frenzy, we tucked in a trip to DeSmet, South Dakota and to the Banks of Plum Creek in Minnesota.

There were so many great Laura stories, it is difficult to choose just one favorite; but if I had to choose, I would choose the story about Laura attending a birthday party for her classmate Nellie. Over the years, my daughter and I have come to classify some people as “Nellie Olson’s”! In this day and age, many may not know to whom we refer; and, if so, they have missed the great legacy left to us by Laura Ingalls Wilder and shared by three generations from my mother to me and lastly to my daughter. I hope the legacy of reading will continue for many generations to come.

Kathy Schopp: I was always an avid reader. I remember my mother bringing me Little House in the Big Woods home from the library for me.

I think she saw it on a suggested reading list. I don’t know but I do know that I enjoyed it immensely and then went on to look for and read the rest of the series and then disappointed when I couldn’t find anymore. A few years later I do remember finding “On the Way Home” and was so happy to find more Laura.

I of course, had to watch the TV series as I had read the books and was also a fan of Michael Landon, who I had grown up watching on “Bonanza”. It was the only show my Dad had time to watch during my early childhood and I have very fond memories of sitting with him on Sunday nights and viewing it after the Wonderful world of Disney.

I got away from Laura for a number of years during high School and college but always remembered the books when suggesting something for nieces and cousins to read.

Thanks to the Internet in the past 10 years or so, I have rediscovered and expanded my knowledge of Laura’s world through websites and have managed to finally get copies of the books for myself and have began to add some of the Rose books to my collection as well as the biographies of some of the TV actresses. I have also watched some of the more recent screen adaptations of the books and was able to see “Little House on the Prairie” the Stage show when it came to the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, with Melissa Gilbert as Ma.

In late 2012 I was able to make the trip to Mansfield, MO to see the house in Rocky Ridge and visit Laura’s Grave. I would love to make it to the other homesites some day.

I still share Little House with my Dad, and I thank my late mother for getting me started on Discovering Laura. Happy Birthday, Laura

Marilyn Collins: I did not discover Laura and her books until I was an adult. When my sisters and I started reading the books, what a treat. These are the type of books you want and can read over and over! The writing is so explicit that you actually feel like you are there with the family. You can feel the heat of the Minnesota Summers and the brutal snowy Winters. It is hard to pick a favorite because I would feel like I am hurting a best friend’s feelings. I would have to admit that I love each and every one of the books.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LAURA!

Joan Collins: Every book took me into Laura and her family’s life. How can you choose a favorite?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LAURA!

Connie Neumann: I will be celebrating both Laura and Almanzo’s birthdays and the 80th anniversary of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE on Feb. 7th with a storytime party at Longmont Public Library.

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Patricia Good: Happy Birthday Laura! I was introduced to Laura and the “Little House” books in 1949 when my fourth grade teacher would read a chapter every day following noon recess. I am as captivated today as I was then.  I have been fortunate to have visited Desmet, Walnut Grove and Mansfield. Each site renewed my interest in Laura and her family.  I enjoy her story as much today as I did when I was a school girl. Thank you for keeping her memory alive.

Mary Ellen Walker: The first time I heard the Laura books was when my Mom read them to me at bedtime.  The deal was she read one chapter a night.  The only time I could get her to read more was when Laura was going to get the fur muff and cape. She read an extra chapter that night! Since I learned to read, I have read all the books multiple times. I have been lucky enough to visit all the homes except for Kansas and Almanzo’s house in New York. I was at the opening of the Little House Wayside in Pepin as well.

Patrice D. Scully: I loved to read when I was young and frequently visited my school library. I am in my mid-fifties now but I can still remember clearly my school librarian saying to me “I know a book you will love” as she reached down and pulled Little House in the Big Woods off the library shelf. She was right! I loved the books and read the entire series many times. When I was in 5th grade I got the entire set of books in hardcover for Christmas. I was so excited! It remains one of my best Christmas gifts ever and I still have the books today. I think I liked By the Shores of Silver Lake the best since it was such an interesting time for the Ingalls family.This year for Christmas my children got me two of the Garth Williams Christmas ornaments which I will always treasure. Every year I remember Laura on her birthday. She definitely impacted my childhood in a wonderful way!

Kathi Olson: I was almost 11 when my family moved from Illinois to California.  I missed my friends back home and scared of all the new faces I met in my new class. But all I had to do was to go to the school library, and there was Laura.

Cricket Hamilton: When I was in 4th grade the new elementary school opened. There was a tiny library and someone suggested I read books by Laura. I could not read because I am dyslexic. I would place the books under my pillow in hopes that the story would somehow come to me. (I learned to read at the age of 55).

One summer we put up our family tent in the back yard and I would struggle to read a few pages at a time to my daughters.  They pretended to be Mary and Laura for quite some time. My goal is to take my granddaughter for a ride, on a train, from California to visit Laura’s family house. Rose Wilder used to live in California.

Mary Jane Doseck:  I’m 67 years old & my first memory of a Laura story was in the 5th grade when a girl named Susan Meffley read us a story aloud in class. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the episode when the family crossed the river & lost Jack.  I can still hear that little 5th grade girl reading with such expression & feeling that it caught us up in the drama of the family losing their beloved dog, the sadness & heartbreak when Pa couldn’t find him after walking the river bank for 2 miles. Then the complete joy when Jack found them! In the 5th grade, I’d not yet heard of the Ingalls, but was completely lost in the story so much that I never forgot it.

When the series came out on television, I was thrilled to watch it with my little girls & we soon came to refer back to how things we did would have been done in Laura & Mary’s time – anything from a job that needed to be done to how an injury or disease would have been handled.
Very soon after the series started on TV, I bought the complete set of Little House On The Prairie books & started reading them to my girls at bedtime. When I came to the “Lost Jack” chapter, I was tickled to remember when I’d heard it before! Through the years, I know I’ve read the whole set of books through aloud twice & maybe 3 times. Laura just seemed like someone I’d have liked to know so I’ve also read them for my own enjoyment a couple of times. I have collected “Laura books” (biographies), pictures & info & have the complete set of plates with scenes from various episodes from TV.  I even have a recording of Laura’s voice when she was very old! Some day I hope to visit DeSmet & Mansfield, Missouri.
Kimberly Johnson: I’m sorry that I don’t have any pictures of me reading any of Laura’s books, but on the auspicious occasion of her birthday, I would like to say that it was she that made me a reader. I always liked books, but when I was in the 3rd grade, our teacher began reading us Little House in the Big Woods.  I was enchanted by the pictures that Laura’s words spun in my mind. I would hurry back from lunch every day to hear more of the story. Then Charlotte’s Web came available in the library, and she stopped reading Little House in the Big Woods and began reading Charlotte. I was quite indignant.
Although I enjoyed Charlotte’s Web, there was something about Laura’s words that made me want more. I checked the book out of the library and read it cover to cover. When I read the last sentence and closed the book, I cried. I wanted it to go on forever. I was overjoyed when I found Little House on the Prairie, and thus I began a love affair with Laura’s books that still endures to this day.  In 5th grade, I checked out ALL of her books from the bookmobile, lugged them all home, and read from Little House in the Big Woods to These Happy Golden Years.
I have reread them all countless times. When my daughter was in kindergarten, I read her Little House in the Big Woods. When I read those final lines and closed the book, she cried. Another reader was born. On my grandfather’s 80th birthday, I took my family to Arkansas to celebrate. While there, I borrowed my aunt’s car and drove to Mansfield, Missouri, had lunch at the Little House Cafe, and toured the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum.
Finally, I was able to walk the land she had walked and breath the air she she had breathed. I have been an English teacher for 38 years and I can honestly say my love of words and language started with Laura and her stories. There is something magical that happens when I put a Little House book into a child’s hands and know that upon it’s completion, another reader will be born.  Happy birthday, Laura.
John Griffin: I first discovered Laura’s books when my children were small. I read every one of the books to them at night  before bedtime. I loved them just as much as they did. I have read everything i could find about the ingalls family. I regard Mr. Ingalls as a hero figure, such a good father. Laura herself was a beautiful person in every possible way. The books made a big impression on me and my family. It was the best part of my life being a dad to my two boys and one girl. I am now 67, but if ever i win the lottery i will go on a trip to Laura’s houses. It’s a life ambition of mine, I enjoyed all the books but my favorite was The Long Winter. Please keep up your good  work, my children are now all grown up but they have never forgotten the stories. They made lasting memories of happy times growing up. Best wishes, John Griffin, Kings Heath, Birmingham UK

Aimee Estell: I have been fasinated with Laura since I can remember! My mother read her books and passed them to me. I in turn read them to my son when he was 10 and then 10 years later I read them to my daughter. And you can bet my grandchildren will be read them too! We are planning our summer vacation this year around visiting as many of Laura’s homes as possible and we live Montana!

Sherry Patterson: My grandmother read all of Laura’s books to me when I was a little girl. I can still hear her voice, I believe I owe my love of reading to her. When I was older, I read them myself, we checked them out at our local library. I wish I knew how many times I have read them over the years, I am 69 years old now. I never owned the Laura books, as I called them, until I was an adult. Many years ago, my husband, knowing how much I had always loved them, gave me the entire set one Christmas. I treasure them and read all of them, once again, this winter. My favorite was The Long Winter, it shows more wear than the others. Thank you Laura Ingalls Wilder, for all of those cozy, happy hours I spent curled up with your books.

Jenny S: I have been a Little house fan ever since I can remember. It started out with the TV show, as I am sure, many have started out that way.  When I got into middle school, I started researching the real Laura.  When I entered high school, I did a paper on her and her family.  I loved seeing the places she lived and the things she wrote about.  It was the one thing that I loved to study and learn about. Had my whole education been about Laura Ingalls Wilder, I would have been an A+ student 🙂  My Godfather got me the whole series one year for a gift. I still have them. I loved reading about Laura and Almanzo and their love story. I would often find myself imagining being Laura and what it would be like. I feel a big connection to the whole story and life. I love reading about her life and hope everyone gets a chance to read her work.

Ellen Landreth: Attached are two pictures showing how I celebrate Laura’s birthday. One is our traditional meal of bean soup, corn bread and five little heart shaped Laura cakes. The other is me using my Laura puppet at a local library telling/reading Laura stories and interacting with the children and puppet. This year I am going to a school for the celebration.
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Laurel Wadley: My Father, Robert J. Hurt, was born and raised in DeSmet. He left for California when he was about 20 and stayed there for the rest of his life. He met and married my Mother in Los Angeles, but used to go back to DeSmet to pheasant hunt with old friends. He did this for quite a few years as I can remember. Because of my Dad, I have always felt a connection to DeSmet, and then when I read that Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family settled permanently in DeSmet, the tie was like steel.I have been a member of The Order of the Eastern Star for 34 years (the ladies group of the Free Masons organization), and when I found out Laura, her Mother and sisters had been Eastern Star in DeSmet, and Almanzo a Mason (my Grandmother & Grandfather also belonged to the Lodge in DeSmet) I begged my husband to take me there.

Finally, in 2004 my husband Jim and I took a car trip back to South Dakota, to see Mt. Rushmore again and to visit DeSmet and see if I could find my Grandmother’s house. I wrote to the Worthy Matron of the OES Chapter and she was kind enough to meet us at the Lodge Hall and show us around. While there, I saw several things on the wall about Laura. I also found the name of one of my Aunts, who had been Worthy Matron. We went out to the DeSmet Cemetery and I found some of my relatives graves and also the Ingalls burial area. I was so excited to feel so close to the Ingalls family at that time.  I had never read Laura’s “Little House On The Prairie” books as a kid, so when we were at the LIW gift shop I bought the whole set and read them the minute I got home. After leaving DeSmet, we drove to Mansfield, MO to see Laura & Almanzo’s Rock House. I also knew Laura and Almanzo had been involved in Masonry in Mansfield, and as we were driving to the Rock House we passed the local Masonic Lodge where they had affiliated.
I love all of the Little House books and could not pick a favorite. I ordered the newest book “Pioneer Girl: An Annotated Autobiography” and can’t wait to start reading it.Kerry MacPhail: I was 6 years old when I asked the school librarian for a good book to read, and she suggested the Little House books. I brought Little House in the Big Woods home with that day, and was in thrilled with it. It was, and still is, so real and so vivid a story that I felt like I lived in the cabin with Laura and her family and experienced all their adventures right along with them. One by one, I kept reading the Little House books, in order, of course. Several of my friends at school were reading them as well, and we used to talk about the story lines of each book and wondered what would happen in the next book.
Interestingly enough, my mother, who is an avid reader, had not heard the Little House series, and she began to read the books I brought home for the library. She was as just enthralled with them as I was, and since then has bought me the first paperback edition set of the books, as well as a few of the additional books about Laura. The books became something special that she and I share to this day.My favorite Little House book, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is These Happy Golden Years.
After all the travels, hardships, and uncertainties of the Ingalls family, they are settled in a town with people the readers get to know. The whole story of her relationship with Almanzo never ceases to delight me. What better hero in all of literature than Almanzo Wilder? Reliable, prosperous, and heroic in both getting the wheat during the Hard Winter and in bringing Laura home in the bitter cold from her miserable teaching job? He is every girl’s dream of a happy ending/new beginning. I reread that book every year and never cease to enjoy it. Happy Birthday, Laura! Her life and her books are a gift to the world.
Mollie Lyon: I entered fourth grade with the same teacher my sister had thirteen years earlier. That teacher read the Little House books to my sister’s class, but didn’t this year. At my sister’s remembrance of these fascinating books, I grabbed the joy of reading them on my own in my bedroom on long weekends. Over two years, I read all the books. My father bought me the set and the newly released, First Four Years.Years later, I went to that teacher’s house as a home health nurse. She lived in a little house, the way I always imagined Laura’s house. A small pantry kitchen and the family, the son never married, relaxed in the eating area. The parlor remained quiet for Sunday company. In my own writing career, Laura is my influence and I studied her journey. My publishing path commenced after the death of my mother, similar to Laura motivated by Mary’s death. My favorite books of the Little House series are the later ones. I think most preteens look to the teen years. Laura created a great example for impressionable children.
Sharen Bitz, Erie, Michigan: I am 62 years old, I grew up on a farm, and I am thankful for everyday that I live and what I have.
I finished high school, college wasn’t a big thing back then. Get a job, helped our parents and took one day at at a time. My twin sister, Karen, and I watched the Ingall’s on TV and never missed an episode when we were younger, (we finally had a TV!) we were amazed how they lived in he past, and had almost nothing, but yet they were happy and that was their way of living at the time. Then one day we discovered the Laura Ingall’s books!We each bought every book that had anything to to with the Ingalls families, the hardship, the way they struggled through their life. Each day was a hardship for them, the cold hard winters, hot dusty dry summers, raising or hunting for food for themselves. Building a cabin, fireplace for cooking and for warmth, even cutting their own wood for their homes, raising feed for their cattle, let alone to have food for themselves, making their clothes by hand. They wasted nothing!Both husband and wife actually worked everyday, not 5 days a week like we do now. All the children pitched in to help, they didn’t have TV, cell phones, computers, not like the kids have today. Kids now don’t even know what playing outside means, fresh air, excersize, being outdoors and playing with family or friends. It makes me feel that I have everything at my fingertips, and appreciate all that we have as I grew up, and realized how easy and how lucky we are to have the convenience that the Ingall’s never had and never dreamed what it would be like what we have today.

Electricity, hot and cold running water, air conditioning and heating for our homes, motor vehicles, groceries stores, shopping centers, buses for school children, hospitals, surgeons, medicines, hospice, nursing homes, day care, ADC, welfare, housing, retirement, social security, and the list goes on. WE ARE SPOILED!

When I read the books, I feel like I am right there next to them, reaching out to help and pitching in and being part of their life. No words can explain how I feel when I had read ALL the books of the history of Laura Ingall’s. I felt like I was a family member in a past life, the books are inspiring to all ages. My granddaughter is one year old, and I can’t wait to read the books to her.

My sister and her husband to the Ozark’s last year, and this year I plan on going to visit Laura’s homestead with my sister. A dream come true. Thank you for your time And sharing the Ingall’s history for all to read and enjoy.

Barbara Berg: I was 12 years old and in 7th grade when our teacher read By the Shores of Silver Lake and I loved it!! I went to the school library and read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books that they had. I think I love the books so much because my grandfather homesteaded the farm I still live on in Dakota Territory in 1879. I am now 65 years old, have been to DeSmet several times and to Plum Creek in Walnut Grove. I always thought it was so interesting that my own relatives lived in the same area at the same time.
Bethany: I first read a Little House book when I was about 9 (On the Banks of Plum Creek). My aunt bought me an old used copy at a flea market. I devoured it. I didn’t yet know they were part of a series. About a year later a school friend lent me her books and I read them about three times before giving them back. Through my youth my favorite was always Little Town on the Prairie – so much happened in that book! So many activities, the town growing up, the spelling bees and literaries, and all of those lovely things like first parties (and also the not so lovely things like sewing all of those endless button holes). When I reread them recently I had a very hard time choosing a favorite, as they all appealed to me so very much in a different way from when I was young. I guess I’m a different person now 🙂
Bonnie Traher: Seems like I have enjoyed reading for so long theta I cannot remember when I began. Have always enjoyed books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Planning on sharing this with my baby granddaughter.
Terry Lee: I started reading THE LITTLE HOUSE BOOKS when I was in the 3rd grade in country school. That was back in 1962 and I am now 63 years of age and still read those books. I dont have any particular story that I liked the best as I love all the stories and books Laura Ingalls Wilder ever wrote.
Mary: I was 8 years old the Christmas I received my first Little House books. I was immediately hooked and couldn’t stop reading and re-reading them. I was 10 years old when I read my favorite of the Little House books: These Happy, Golden Years. I was enraptured with the romance between Laura and Almanzo and filled with admiration for the independent and plucky Laura, the girl who was turning into a woman before our eyes.
Cheryl Arndts: I first discovered Laura’s books in the 2nd grade through the Weekly Reader program where you could buy books and have been in love with them ever since! Even at 48 years old I still enjoy reading them!

Katie Updike: Growing up in the Sandhills of Nebraska, I attended a one-room country school. Our teacher would go to the the small town where our county courthouse was and visit the library every 3 – 4 weeks. She would bring back “new” books for us to read. I always looked forward eagerly to the new selection, for at age 8, I was an avid reader and lover of books. Even though I am almost 60 years old, I still recall holding On the Banks of Plum Creek in my hands, and feeling a shiver of anticipation as I contemplated what was inside. I so enjoyed reading about Laura and her sisters; I had 3 sisters myself at the time.

“Pioneer” books were some of my favorites, and I read every one that I could get my hands on.
I don’t believe that I even discovered it was just part of a series of books for several years. Even now that I have read the whole series many times over the years, for my own enjoyment, as well as for my students and my own children, On the Banks of Plum Creek holds a special place in my heart. Because it was first!
Katrina Ohlemiller: It was Christmas 1973 when my father gave me the boxed set of Little House books. I was seven years old and my parents had recently divorced.  At the time, Laura’s books were an escape for me. I read each one with anticipation and remember wishing I could time travel to meet her and experience the pioneer living she wrote of. Through the years I reread each one of her books and experienced it anew as it connected to my life somehow. Laura’s relationship with Nellie mirrored my relationship with a neighbor girl and I recall wishing there was a creek nearby in which leeches waited hungrily for her bare legs. I reread the entire set again as a teenager and relished each word of Laura’s coming of age and how it must have made her feel when Almanzo came to pick her up that first Friday at the Brewster home.
When I was pregnant with each of my five children, I reread the series with added emotion. As my children grew I read the books to all of them so that they were able to experience a part of my childhood. They found it fascinating that we lived in Oregon, a place where Pa had wanted to go so badly. I was able to experience all the books with new eyes through each of my children. In the past several years I have enjoyed visiting some of the places where Laura lived. I remember breaking down in tears at Rocky Ridge Farm. It seemed silly at the time, but I knew it was something only readers who loved her books as much as I did could understand. While moving from Oregon to New York in 2011 to work on my PhD, my youngest and I stopped in for a few days at DeSmet, South Dakota. We both remember those days fondly. As I write this, my youngest child has just turned 18. I know her childhood was richer because of knowing these books, just as mine was. Laura taught us that the best things in life cannot be purchased, but only experienced; the love and support of family, social gatherings with friends, the prairie wind on your face, a sip of lemonade of a hot day, and the satisfaction of knowing you did your best. I cannot choose a favorite book of Laura’s because at different times during my life, each one has been a favorite.  As her birthday approaches, it’s the perfect time to get reacquainted with my favorite series. Happy Birthday Laura!
Ramona Schlaegel: I was introduced to Little House on the Prairie when my third grade teacher read it and the rest of the series to the class. I was enthralled.
Kevin Baker: Happy Birthday Laura…you were born one hundred years before me, as I was born in 1967. I started reading the Little House books when I was 7.  I devoured them at a young age and read them over and over until I wore them out. I am sure there are not many males out there who love the books as I do.  They instilled in me a love for the Ingalls and Wilder families, and a great love for history.  I mostly loved the stories of her teaching days.  It inspired me to become a teacher.  Her love for her students and their learning has effected me today, almost 150 years later. I teach history and have used her pioneer life many times as an example. My wife, for Christmas this year, ordered me the book, “Pioneer Girl”, which is on backorder, and I don’t know if I can get it now. I am patiently wanting to get my hands on the book so I can read, or should I say devour it. I am excited to read this book and gain more insight to Laura and her adventures.  So a big shout out to Laura Ingalls Wilder on February 7, 2015…her 148th Birthday. Happy Birthday from a great fan!

Sylvia Cole: I recently came across this photo which my son took in 2007 when the Primary School where I work as a LSA (learning support assistant) celebrated World Book Day. Dressed up as Laura, I read and told groups of children about Little House on the Prairie. Interestingly enough, the most unruly of boys wrote me a thank you note afterwards. He had thoroughly enjoyed the part about the wolves surrounding the house one night when Pa had not yet finished the strong door!

I was 7 years old when I first read Little House on the Prairie (in Dutch! as I grew up in the Netherlands). Now, 53 years on… I still read Laura’s stories and am right in the middle of Pioneer Girl (a Christmas gift to myself) and enjoying it very much indeed!
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Donna Schrader: I love Laura’s stories. I’ve read them all as a child. Watched the show when it was created for tv and have read the newer short versions to my kindergarten classes. I was always saddened that I couldn’t share the books with my younger students. Whomever came up with the idea to put them in shorter snippets is my hero. I loved using them to teach early American history. I think the originals were the spark that created my love for that period. I live in a rural area and have seen first hand many of the artifacts portrayed in the stories.  As a retiree I am experimenting with old patterns for quilting but not nearly as talented as those grand pioneer ladies. I love receiving your newsletter. Keep up the good work.

Tom Anderson: I remember my mother reading the Little House on the Prairie book to me and I happily continue to tradition with my children. (Rebecca, Margaret, Henry and Lorenzo)

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Laura Jensen: I started reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I started town school in 3rd grade after completing the 1st and 2nd grades in country school. I was so excited to get to check out books from a big library! I am from Beresford, South Dakota and have been through some pretty long winters myself, and I have always been in awe of how the pioneers survived, so I think that is why ‘The Long Winter’ is one of my favorites, although it is very hard to narrow down, I love everything I have ever read that she wrote, or what has been written about her! I have been blessed to visit DeSmet several times, Walnut Grove and Mansfield, Missouri! And I am so very glad that I share the same name as my favorite author! I enjoy your Newsletter! Thank you so much for that.0130151709a_resizedEmily Ezell & her Third Grade Class: The Third Grade at Cowan Elementary in Cowan, Tennessee loves reading ALL of Laura’s books!  We have a special story time each day and we love to find out what Laura is going to get into next!!! LIW ContestSinead Mac Devitt: I was eleven years of age when I was introduced to the “Little House” series. It was so interesting learning about the Ingalls’ way of life and how they survived despite the scarcity of money. Charles and Caroline Ingalls worked very hard and yet always provided the family with adequate food, clothing and education. Despite the challenges they endured, e.g. inclement weather, losses, and illness, etc., the family lived in a loving environment and were surrounded by words of wisdom.       The Laura Ingalls Wilders’ books gave me an insight into the American culture. Examples included types of food, e.g. roast pig and molasses cookies. They also introduced me to their customs, e.g. the celebration of Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.  Anytime I hear of the songs that were sung throughout, e.g. “Polly-wolly-doodle” and “Oh Susanna”, I can still hear echoes of the whine of Pa’s fiddle. Laura Ingalls Wilders’ background also educated me from a historical point of view as it gave me a flavour of life during the Victorian period, e.g. dress and transport. I remember how Laura wore her dress with a hoop and also when she restyled her hair by cutting a bang before she attended her first sociable.

During the stories, I could hear the clip-clop of horses pulling their wagon as the whole family travelled from Wisconsin to Kansas and as far as Dakota. I can still picture their faithful dog, Jack, trotting after them during their journeys. The stories also educated me about the features of the American landscape, e.g. the prairie and creek, etc.  Examples of the wildlife included the panther, racoon and wolves. A hair-raising episode about the wolf pack was illustrated in “The Little House on the Prairie”.
My favourite book so far has been These Happy Golden Years which I read when I was 13 years of age. I was so inspired by Laura’s stamina and perseverance when she left home to teach in a school. Despite the freezing cold rides and unfavourable circumstances of her lodgings with the Brewsters, the support of her family kept her sanity. When she experienced a challenging time when teaching an unruly pupil, she fed off her mother’s words of wisdom. Caroline was, as Charles said, “wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove”.
Laura subsequently adopted Caroline’s approach and thankfully it worked with the pupil. Even though the details of her life were set in the 18th century, I believe such words of wisdom will always be valued. I’m sure according to Laura’s Ingalls Wilders’ fans, many aspects of the Ingalls’ way of life during that period will be timeless.
Laura Blendsoe: My name is Laura. I was not named after Laura Ingalls Wilder, but after my great, great grandmother Laura Tullos, who was born in 1862. I received my first LHOTP book, “Little House in the Big Woods” as a Christmas present from my 3rd grade teacher. I received my second one “Little Town on the Prairie” as a 12th birthday present from my aunt and uncle, and “These Happy Golden Years” later that same year, for Christmas from my parents. A few months later, in the Spring, we were making a trip from where we lived, in North Dakota, to Oregon. My sisters and I were each given $10 before we left. I spent my money on buying the remaining six books in the series. I still have everyone of those books, though I’ve had to replace my original “These Happy Golden Years”, because I had read it so many times when I first had it, that the back cover, and some of the last few pages, came off, and the book split in two. I still have it, and wouldn’t dream of throwing it away. I know each of these books by heart, and it is nothing short of a deepening thrill, or more accessible time machine, than to sit down with Laura and her family, as they go through the hardships and trials, joys and triumphs, of their wondering, prairie life. Thank you, Mrs. Wilder.
Winner of Pioneer Girl Book!

Etta Coil: When I was in about the 4th grade, I read Little House on the Prairie. As an adult, I re-read it and the whole series while recovering from surgery. I had watched the TV series, but so much enjoyed reading the books. I bought and read the Rose series, the Martha series and the Caroline series as well. Plus some other miscellaneous books about Laura too. Because of financial reasons, I haven’t been able to add to my collection lately, but would love to win Pioneer Girl. Thank you for celebrating Laura’s birthday and the chance to win.

Thank you for helping us celebrate! 

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4 comments on “Happy Birthday Laura! Dozens of readers share their favorite “Little House” memories!

  1. Terri Schwerzler says:

    I was amazed at the number of people that felt the same way I did. I really didn’t think other people my age (50) still loved Laura I thought it was just me. If she had only been able to know that even into the years of 2000 people would need her writings and love her writings. Thank you for doing this “How has Laura affected you birthday”……….Terri Schwerzler

    _____

  2. Marguerite Miller says:

    2015 and her Books are just as good if not better than ever. No book will ?3 able to beat them.

  3. Ann says:

    When I was in grade school about 4th grade (1964), I found a book on one of the shelves that had a picture of a little girl riding in a covered wagon looking out the back as she rode away. I checked the book out and began reading it. I remember it being the first book that I truly enjoyed reading. I looked for that book several times again during that year but could never find it. Moving forward several years….. My mother bought the Laura Ingalls book set in the early 70’s. So I was curious having ‘never’ read one of her books. But to my surprise, the very first book I pulled out was the little girl looking out from the covered wagon. Even though a teenager at that time, I read that book again (and many times since) and enjoyed every word on every page. I just loved it, and all of her other books as well.

  4. Jane Daas says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the above comments about the joy Laura’s books brought to each one! I, too, was profoundly influenced by the Little House books, all of Laura’s writings, and biographies about her. I was introduced to the series by my second grade teacher. I have read the series so many times over the years; I feel that each time I do, I glean something new from them. I read some of the books with each of my daughters, and I hope to introduce my nine year old son to them this year. I plan to visit De Smet and Mansfield in the future. I can’t wait! I have always felt that Laura was a dear friend of mine. Her stories inspired me; they made me want to be a better person.

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