Sunday, January 20, 2013

NDL Illustrated - From the Beginning

Garth Williams, illustrator of the  Little House Books as well as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Little Fur Family, and many others including beloved  Golden Books such as Baby Farm Animals and Home for a Bunny would be our number one choice to illustrate our life story.

Look what he did for Laura, Mary, and Carrie Ingalls.

Laura's path and NDL's have not been exactly the same, but they have crossed and paralleled many times. We both went west from where we were born. NDL skipped over the big woods of Wisconsin and the prairies of Kansas, but caught up with the wagon train in Minnesota.

One year we took a semester detour to Haiti where the only show we ever remember the host family  watching on TV was La Petite Maison sur la Prairie.
Amazingly Laura spoke perfect french, but in a high squeaky voice very different from the one we were used to hear coming from the little rough and tumble pioneer character.

Several of our early homes have been just a step up from a sod house, and our current one, on certain days, in certain months resembles one.

We experienced the vast state of South Dakota notable for its lack of lakes and trees. 
We're not sure how the Ingalls managed to find one to live by.

While living in South Dakota there was at least one very long winter when we were not quite reduced to braiding hay to burn in the stove, and going off in a sleigh to find wheat to sustain the town, but it was close. Our car didn't start so we tied a rope to the back door, and with the wind swirling so hard that we couldn't see our hand in front of our face we tried to walk to our jobs even as icicles formed on our eyelashes and our noses and fingers and toes went numb, until fortunately we found a haystack to crawl into while we rode out the storm...

Well, it was pretty bad, and our cars really didn't run for a week or so, until a Christmas miracle happened and one of them started just in time to retrieve Almanzo from his work shift, which he really had walked to and had stayed at for several days, so that we could have Christmas together in our little house on the prairie.

 Of all the books perhaps we relate most to The Long Winter. We were born in a January ice storm, named after Laura Ingalls, and are reminded of our start almost every birthday when outside scenes consistently resemble those from our very earliest days* and from the first few winters of our newly married life.

Now we are back in the Big Woods just miles from where little half-pint started out and here we will stay. Unlike Pa, we don't need so much elbow room and rather like being able to see our neighbors and their  houses from our own. That's what makes us NDL. 

* from NDL's mother's journal
January 20 - Laura Ann was born at 8:15 a.m. lots of black hair in a pretty curl.
January 21 - Kids going late to school and coming home early. Nastiest weather in many years as ice coats everything & cuts off electricity, roads, phones, etc. Zero degree temperatures made more hazard. Safe and snug at home with our new baby finally.
January 22 - Daddy very busy keeping emergency generator going for us and neighbors. We are very lucky to have it.
January 23 -Heavy ice still hangs on everything and temp 10 below at 8:00 a.m.


Honeybee said...

It's certainly a different day and age from when you entered the world, NDL - though yesterday's super howling weather change ushered in conditions much like the day you were born (as reported by your mother's notes). You
missed out on the coolest scene of the city being showered with nature's own white Dippin'Dots. Maybe they spewed all over the piney woods as well. In any event, hunker down up there and have a Happy Birthday!

wynne said...

Happy birthday Laura! We are so glad you shared this insight into your name and similarities with Laura Ingalls. Hope you snuggle in and stay warm today! Will there be cake? Hope you have a great year ahead! Love, Wyn

Laural said...

Happy birthday! These illustrations are some of my favorites too.

I admit, some days in January and February I do think about the people who first settled here and how crazy they must have been to stick in out without central heating, rather than heading straight south. I think that's what I might have done.....

Joanna K. Dane said...

Very Timely NDL, I'm reading the series right now to my curly-headed girl of the big woods. Amazed at how LIW described everything with such compelling detail. If there's one survival guide I have to take with me when I'm forced into homesteading, it's going to be Little House on the Prairie.

Happy Birthday from the little prairie on the other side of the big woods.

next door Laura said...

Thank you all. It was a pleasant day that included a (pan)cake, time with family, and a nap.

It's -15 this early a.m. with a wind chill advisory on until tomorrow noon, but the woods are lovely dark and deep and the cabin is cozy and warm.

You stay warm too by carrying your hot potato lunch under your buffalo robe in the sleigh or just by hunkering down indoors if you don't have to go anywhere on MLK day. This is a very good day for the postal carriers to have off. Even if it means the many expected birthday greetings will be a day late we're glad some fingers might be saved from frostbite.

Shaundra said...

Happy belated birthday! Very nice post - I didn't realize you were named after LIW. One of these days I will have to reread the series. I don't remember much of it as it was read aloud to me by mom at bedtime. All I remember is being mesmerized by her voice as I struggled to stay awake.