Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preferred heroine.

In the recent flurry of young celebs, I feel the need to stand up for one in particular with which I grew up. As much as I can try and appreciate the pop music, glitter, and attitude that come with say, Miley Cyrus, I'm not sure 10-year-olds need to be carrying cell phones and sporting halter tops. Call me old fashioned on this one, but I didn't have my first cell phone until I was a freshman in high school. It was a Nokia, had a Hawaiian flower face plate and came fully equipped with snake and somewhere around 10 texts per month. Side note: It was also about the size of today's cordless household phones. Nevertheless, I recently stumbled across one of my favorite books, Little House on the Prairie, in the bookstore downtown. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my favorite. Having read every book in the series probably somewhere around 7 or 8 times, I couldn't get enough of Laura and her family's adventures. I believe my copy of Little House in the Big Woods was left outside on the porch one afternoon during a thunderstorm, but even the subsequently waterlogged pages couldn't stop me from rereading. It goes along with the aforementioned love of trains; I thought it would have been pretty cool to have been a pioneer. Aside from the life or death choices that came with deciding whether to "caulk the wagon and float" or "ford the river" (thank you, Oregon Trail for those many eventful mornings in homeroom), you could have given me a bonnet and signed me up. Laura Ingalls was a classic American heroine; very much a more modern take on Annie Oakley.

I am fortunate enough to have a house in Pennsylvania that has been in our family since the 1800s. About 30 minutes north of Lock Haven, Mohawk sits on a beautiful mountain along the Susquehanna River. Driving up through the winding roads leads you somewhere someone else could never find (unless of course they knew exactly where to look). Growing up spending Thanksgivings, Christmases, and fall weekends there afforded me many of my own Laura Ingalls Wilder moments, including the fort that my grandfather helped us construct. It was my very own log cabin, and I loved being able to pretend that I too was as adventurous as Laura. Some of my best memories include driving the car in from the gate at age 10 (Thanks, Dad), picking apples from the orchard, hiking and spending hours by the bonfire watching the black bears hang out at the feeder. The last time I was up at camp, I spent the vast majority of one afternoon looking through old scrapbooks from the 1930s-1950s that my great grandfather had put together. Already a sucker for black and white photography, these were absolutely unreal. It was all I could do not to hijack all of the albums and take them back home. So many of the pictures I found enlightened me that my Nana was, perhaps, a Laura Ingalls herself.

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