The other day I started reading a biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder to a group of fourth graders. We did not finish the book, but I could immediately see why Laura picked up her pen and paper. Her pioneer family went through many hardships and struggles.
In their attempt to move westward, they faced constant upheaval. They moved from farm to farm in the Midwest and eventually on into the Great Plains States. This was in the late 1800’s and wars with Native Americans were still quite common.
Also, there was the threat of diseases which had no cures. Her youngest brother, Charles, died when he was nine months old and later their entire family caught scarlet fever with the exception of Laura and her Pa. Her sister, Mary, was left blind after the sickness.
Those experiences were enough to make a natural-born writer find a pen and some paper. In times of great peril, many that have gone before us have found solace in writing.
It is a silent friend that lets the writer do the talking and it is a great way to air concerns. Alice Walker wrote, “I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person.”
Diaries and personal accounts have served as sounding boards for writers. Yet, they have also left a wonderful record for readers to understand times gone by.
We see the universality of the human emotions. We see others afraid; we see them happy and we see them mourn. In this case, we get a peek into what life was like on the prairie in this country.
Laura Ingalls Wilder left this poignant saga about her family. Her Little House on the Prairie Series has entertained young readers for years. Wilder reminds us that, “A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing!”
Lynn M. March 15, 2016