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Friday, November 08, 2013

My Name is Robynne, and I’m a Laura Ingalls Wilder –aholic!

I’ve been carefully watching the reactions of my family and friends as they have perused my new website (mylittleprairiehome.com).  To be honest, I had no idea how my, um, slight obsession would be received. Of course, everyone has had their suspicions all along, but certainly no one realized the extent of my passion.  Until now, of course. . .it’s kind of all out there on full display! 

So, I guess it’s time to just call a spade a spade:

My name is Robynne, and I am a full-blown, no-holds-barred, from-the-top-of-my-head-to-the-tips-of-my-toes rabid fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Whew!  There, I said it, and I'm not taking it back!

(Feels kind of good to be out of the prairie water-closet!)

My love affair with the Ingalls and all things ‘prairie’ started when I first read through the series at about 8 years old.  I am not sure what attracted me most: the palpable love in their family, the simplicity of life on a claim, the historical interest, the various adventures (sliding on frozen lakes toward buffalo wolves, fending off runaway oxen, taming wild horses, etc.) or the pleasure they all took in pulling together and building a future together.  It was all very far from my chaotic, violent, suburban childhood.  So very, very far.

I’m sure it began as a way to escape into a world that held all I wished I had in mine:  peace, love, gentleness, camaraderie, vision, joy, and family unity.

As the years passed, my circumstances changed (and significantly improved!), but my original connection to the Ingalls didn’t fade one little bit.  In fact, it deepened.  As I read and re-read (and re-read again!) the Little House books, I began to understand the subtle strength of Laura’s character as well as those around her.  I began to truly appreciate the difficulty of their lives, what they faced and often left behind, and how much stress and pressure and hardship they endured to merely survive.  My deep respect for them all, and every single settler/pioneer/adventurer, blossomed like a wild prairie rose.

Don’t get me wrong. . .I don’t walk around the house wearing a pinafore and sunbonnet these days (shout out to my beloved Gram who kept me well stocked in prairie gear when I was younger!), nor do I plan to move into a soddie any time soon (though I wouldn’t mind a short vacation in one!).  And (full disclosure here), I’ve made my home in the decidedly un-prairie location of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California.  But, strangely, I feel more connected to the prairie mindset now than ever. 

Why?  Because I now know it wasn’t the Ingalls or Laura or even the prairie that I was really in love with.  It was what they gently represented and unintentionally modeled.  Through a life of sacrifice, hard work, family unity, and deep faith, they demonstrated that a life worth living is not measured by how much you have or what you wear or who you know. . .it’s measured by how much you love and how open you are to receiving love back. 

My own difficult family, and even more difficult circumstances, didn’t do much to teach me these hugely important lessons.  But a rag-tag crew of pioneers crammed into a one room cabin, with little money and few possessions, taught me a whole lot about tenacity, dignity and, most importantly, love.  Those are lessons worth learning and a life worth living.

So, without shame or embarrassment of any kind, I say again:  I am a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan!  And you know what else? I want to live on her kind of prairie. 

Don’t you?


  1. Yes, Robynne. I completely understand. I grew up prairie. We would have been considered gypsies if we had moved around a lot. I can rise to any occasion. I love your website and your blog.

  2. Thanks, Heather! I have to say that my heart has just about always lived somewhere on the prairie. . .and it is really only now that I kind of understand why. :) But I am an enigma in my family. . .far more adventurous and woodsy and make-from-scratchy. For the longest time I had no idea why. . .but, of course, now I totally get it. I was infected with the prairie from a very young age! :)

  3. Beautiful sentiments about the indomitable pioneer spirit and those tiny homes full of love, sacrifice, and gentleness. I too have been drawn to these stories all my life. Thanks for this forum!


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