Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Laura's Letters


Laura Ingalls Wilder promises to be her husband's eyes as she rides the train from Missouri to San Francisco in 1915 to visit with her daughter, Rose, and attend the great World's Fair, called the Panama-Pacific Exposition (to celebrate the completion of the canal through Panama). Her words, written with a soft pencil on plain paper, paint a picture for us as well. An extremely prolific letter writer, she describes everything to Manly in great detail, and even writes letters to him while on the train! After arriving in San Francisco Laura rests, then sees the Pacific Ocean for the first time:

"At Land's End I had my first view of the Pacific Ocean. To say it is beautiful does not express it. It is simply beyond words. The water is such a deep wonderful blue and the sound of the waves breaking on the beach and their whisper as they flow back is something to dream about."
~West From Home, Laura Ingalls Wilder

And, after wading:

"The salt water tingled my feet and made them feel so good all the rest of the day, and just think, the same water that bathes the shores of China and Japan came clear across the ocean and bathed my feet. In other words, I have washed my feet in the Pacific Ocean."
~West From Home, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura's very impressed by San Francisco and the abundance of beauty she finds everywhere, described in West From Home.  She even says it's almost too much for her!  Her husband did not travel with her because the farm needed tending, but Laura shares her adventures with Manly and with us through her descriptive letters.   She was a gifted writer and an incidental historian.

6 comments:

  1. Oooooh! Now you make me want to read it! :)

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  2. Oh what a great read!! I totally forgot about this book that she wrote..Hmm I really need to slow myself down and enjoy the journey's that you have been on..Books can take you Everywhere! Thank you for taking me along Susan..

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  3. Thank you, Christie. I am really enjoying this book!

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  4. While I read your blog, I was reflecting on what a gift Laura Ingalls Wilder had that she could still transport us to another time even as adult readers. In some ways I envy her chance (and my great-granfather's) to marvel at such new and wonderful sights. I can't imagine what it would be like to see the first car, the first radio, the first television and to even see man on the moon. With the advent of so many wonderful new technologies today, it is easy for us to take them for granted and to lose our sense of wonder. I often think of the Lost Boys of Sudan who have experienced such wonder. After a tragic lifetime of horror, loss and wandering they arrive in America. For the first time they are exposed, rather quickly, to electricity, flush toilets, grocery stores and refrigerators. It is a wonderful reminder for us to try not to lose our sense of wonder that comes so naturally to young children.

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