My claim to fame as a youngster was that I read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books seven times over. My sister and I would play Little House dress-up--I was always Laura and made her be Mary--complete with bonnets, and with the teenage boy from next door mocking us. On one hot August road trip to visit relatives in St. Louis (in a Dodge Duster with black vinyl seats and no air conditioning), my dad, knowing of my obsession, drove us 100 miles off the interstate just to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum. (It was closed. I still hope to visit some day.)
But who wouldn't be obsessed? Log houses, playing catch with a pig's bladder, maple syrup candy, Pa's fiddle-playing, salt pork, Ma making hats from the harvest straw, the sod house, calico dresses, corn cob dolls, coyotes howling in the night, fever 'n' ague. And, of course, Garth Williams' beautiful illustrations. Williams was the illustrator of my childhood; all my very favorite books were illustrated by him. The Cricket in Times Square. Charlotte's Web. The Frances books. Stuart Little.
I still have my original yellow cardboard boxed set of Little House paperbacks and am now re-reading them for the eighth time. They are just as wonderful as when I was eight or nine--I still get a little scared when Ma pets the bear, thinking it's Sukey the cow; I still get worried that Jack the bulldog won't made the swim across the rushing creek. I still want to live in a sod house and eat salt pork.
But instead, I made a Little House-inspired Etsy Treasury.