We just got back from staying at a state park in Oklahoma. On the way home, we picked another memorable rest stop about half way along our eight-hour drive. We visited a replica of the cabin Pa built thirteen miles south of Independence, Kansas where the Ingalls family lived for about a year. This spot is the setting of a book in one of my favorite book series from childhood: Little House on the Prairie. Inside the cabin, we found articles reminiscent of that era, even a chair carved out of a tree trunk. We found an oil lamp with the hurricane class, a washboard and tub, very few decorative knick-knacks, a bucket of kindling, etc. Pamela had to try out the coffee grinder. Pamela found the place utterly delightful. We wandered behind the cabin and found a hand-dug well set-up to look like that Laura watched Pa make.
Sheepishly, we headed to our next stop was the little gift shop to the right of the cabin. We felt a tad guilty for we had no cash to make a donation (and the visit was well-worth a token of our appreciation), so we opted to buy momentos: a Kansas coffee cup for Steve and the CD of the songs Laura described in her books Pa's Fiddle. I'm such a LIW junkie that I have The Little House Cookbook, Laura's Album, and The Little House Songbook in my home library. An outfit called Pa's Fiddle Project has recorded two more albums that you can sample and download at Amazon: Arkansas Traveler and Happy Land. Before you roll your eyes that this is kiddie stuff, folks are taking Pa's music seriously: last January some big names (Randy Travis, Natalie Grant, and Ronnie Milsap) got together in Franklin, TN for a live session of Pa's music to be aired on PBS during June's fundraising campaign. If you still doubt me, check out this you-tube clip. To capitalize on the serendipitous timing, I plan to pick folk songs from the album for our third term. While Steve paid for our purchases, Pamela decided to relax on the rockers on the front porch of the store.
This placard in the field behind the post office points out the Doc Tanner (the doctor who probably saved the Ingalls life when they were hit with a terrible fever) lived on the land past the highway. Standing here was glorious because birds serenaded us with their lovely music. I didn't take many pictures inside the post office because they were in the middle of renovations. Pamela signed the guestbook for us.
Then, we took a tour of Sunny Side school, which opened not long after Laura left. The room reflects how the school appeared at the turn of the century. Two rooms displayed toys, medicine bottles, and other artifacts. Pamela smiled at the sight of a coon skip cap for Davy Crockett gave a young teen one in our books on the Alamo. I noticed the McGuffey readers on the desks, which some homeschoolers use today (we prefer whole, living books in our homeschool).
You may be wondering how the Ingalls went to the bathroom. Thankfully, the restroom facilities were NOT authentic to the pioneer era. However, they did have a rustic look in their wood and stone structure and the wooden table for changing diapers. I don't think Ma had one of those!