There is a fairly new autobiography that I have enjoyed called Pioneer Girl. It is a compilation of letters written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The book is so big and unwieldly it reminds me of Kramer’s coffee table book that turns into a coffee table. The information in it is from when her little family drove a wagon to find a nice piece of farm land in Missouri. I loved the descriptions she gave of each spot they travelled through, the cost of land and a cord of wood. Five cents for a whole watermelon.They sold a cord of wood for fifty cents and were very excited about it. When they found the property that they wanted to buy, they opened the lid of their little wooden box to look for their precious one hundred-dollar bill and couldn’t find it.
They had to work odd jobs in town and live off picking berries and other forms of wild crafting- in a time where wild crafting just meant trying to feed yourself.
Just when things were about to get desperate, they searched the box again and found that the money had slipped into a crevice in the wood. They could purchase their large acreage of land after all, with apple trees and a small house with a spring.
I read somewhere that up to the forties a family in Canada could purchase a home with the income they made in one year, the income of one person. Hmmn…. That would make life a lot easier for people in Canada wouldn’t it?
There were also letters from Laura (Bessie) to Manly as she travelled by train to visit her grown up daughter Rose, in San Francisco. She began every letter with, Manly Dear, you could just feel the love in her letters especially when she says, the beauty I saw today was almost spoiled because I didn’t have you here with me to see it.
In the same vein I really enjoyed Ferne Nelson’s Barefoot on the Prairie. It is a memoir written by a woman who grew up in Bruce, Alberta. One of my favourite chapters was titled the Holy Rollers. The kids went to a church sermon because their mother called them Holy Rollers. The children misunderstood and kept rolling a marble down the aisle during the sermon, creating a ruckus. The ridiculousness of it made me snort out loud with laughter.
Toodle loo from the big city girl who was born in the Prairies, lived on a Gulf Island and now lives in the Foot hills. I think I will make a children’s rhyme out of this, similar to –There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, but instead, There was a (not so old) lady who loved the Prairies, I don’t know why she loved the Prairies, eventually she will die, cause we all die or some such. She lived in the Prairies and then moved to the West, I don’t know why she moved to the West, perhaps she’ll die, cause eventually, we all die. She lived in the Prairies, and then moved to the West, she lived on an island and we all know the rest, I don’t know why she loved the Prairies, perhaps she’ll die.
Not sure if it will be a hit.