We try to keep the podcasts to an hour, and well…we got rather chatty about Laura Ingalls Wilder and didn’t cover all of the Little House Books in review. So, during this mini-cast we finish the final three books of the series. Beginning with Little Town On The Prairie, and ending with The First Four Years – which was published, unedited, posthumously in 1971.
In addition to the brief book summaries, and several tangents, we got so involved talking about oranges that we forgot to mention the SECOND major thing that happened to Laura on the day of Ben Woodworth’s party – she experienced electricity for the very first time! Was, in fact, ZAPPED, by it – not sounding too fun from over here. Here is a machine from about fifteen years after this party – when you got to PAY for your torture- er, curing what ails you.
Because we just can’t drop the oranges, here is another tidbit: Laura had mentioned having an orange just once before this: At the church Christmas tree in Walnut Grove, each child received a little bag of popcorn with an orange at the bottom. However, this was edited out of the final manuscript!
Often times we are so organic in our discussions, we like to have the chance to clarify, you know, round out the information. For instance, Nellie Oleson was a completely fictional character based on three separate “mean girls” from Laura’s childhood:
- Nellie Owens was, in fact, from Walnut Grove, had a brother named Willie, and her parents ran the mercantile.
- Genevieve Masters took over the nastiness in DeSmet – she’s the one who boasted about having come from “Back East” and who made friends with “Lazy Lousy” Eliza Jane Wilder.
- Stella Gilbert’s role was rather innocuous – she wasn’t mean to Laura, but did pursue Almanzo at the same time that he and Laura were courting. Innocent Almanzo felt sorry for her and invited her to buggy ride with Laura, thinking that they were friends. Au Contraire, Almanzo!!
When asked by children after the books were published “What happened to Nellie,” Laura often referred to Genevieve Masters’ move back East and her early death from pneumonia – so we’re going to give the “Nellie Oleson” title to Ms. Masters… but how much of the bad behavior was based in fact, there’s just no way to know.
Our parting advice: Be nice to your elementary school friends, kids! You never know who just might write a book!
As always, music for our podcast comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at music.mevio.com.