A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mansfield, Missouri


Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum


Having already been stung by the farce up in Minnesota, I walked into the gift shop/entrance to her final home prepared.  What the Walnut Creek gift shop lacked, this one more than made up for.  Here they expanded on every item from before with the addition of books written by others about Ingalls, patterns to make your own doll clothing or full size pioneer clothing, toys, games, bookmarks, pens, pencils, crayolas, coloring books, Christmas ornaments and items for the "entire year", a mind-boggling array of collectibles, also the complete family tree of both the Ingalls and Wilder branches printed on imitation parchment...it was endless. 

Probably the best part was the assortment of postcards many of which showed every aspect of the inside of Laura's mansion home.  I saw every room of the house, every piece of the furnishings, her favorite chair, her dining table, her writing table as she left it, her bedroom and the bed she died in, her kitchen, her kitchen sink, her trash can, her rural mailbox, her bathroom, her...well come to think of it there wasn't a postcard of her toilet but there were a couple slots empty - "sold out".  I thought Why pay $6 for a guided tour when I've seen it all here?  So I stepped outside to see the house for that is what I came for anyway.

I bet she used this door more so than the front. 
Of course had I taken the tour I would have found out.

Around to the front.

Her front door

The view from her front door

Around the side

and the back, which I suspect she used to take out the trash except when an old curmudgeon was standing out back taking pictures.

I am not one, really.  But when faced with the excessive production, distribution and marketing of junk goods in the name of someone who most likely wouldn't approve of if they were alive today just rubs me the wrong way.  I picked up three other brochures while here, other towns where Laura once lived, towns who are making the most of their good fortune in some way.

Pepin, Wisconsin - Birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  "Come see where the log cabin and barn use to be.  See where the 'Big Woods' once stood.  A highway now winds through the land that once was the Ingalls farm, probably following very closely the wagon tracks which Laura describes in her book.  One thing that still remains is the 'beautiful lake' about which she wrote about."

Burr Oak, Iowa - "revealing Laura's unpublished story." Oooo is there another side of Laura we knew nothing about?  "See Laura's only childhood home still on its original site."

Upon reading that, what is one to think when the next brochure reads:
Independence, Kansas - "An official Laura Ingalls Wilder Homesite,  1869 -1871." 
Laura was 2-3 years of age while living there. 
I went to check it out with 6 extra dollars still in my pocket.



11 comments:

  1. Tsk..tsk..tsk, this poor lil girl has disappointed you from day one! Maybe you should have read all the books instead of chasing her around!
    If you would have just made a trip to your local library you could have checked the entire collection out for free! ;)

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  2. Isn't it amazing what people will spend their money on? I wonder what you do with all the "souvenirs" after you purchase them anyway...they just take up space... but then, I tend to be more cynical about that kind of commercialism! Great photos of a house that looks remarkably like the houses I remember form my childhood!

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  3. we (might) learn something every day. Mine was finding out what curmudgeon meant. Never has been in my vocabulary and I doubt I'll remember it to use it myself either. You can keep hold of that one but don't turn into one John.

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  4. I would have saved my money too. That house is bigger than I thought it was.

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  5. I never knew Laura was "retirement" aged when she wrote the Little House series.

    I've been thoroughly enjoying your shared travel posts, John, and your dry humored take on what you found. Thanks for the chuckles.

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  6. you're kind of curmudgeony when it comes to the over-marketing campaigns of a once simple life. :)

    i like laura's house here.

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  7. Can you imagine how much space would become available in the landfills if all of the souvenirs that had been tossed out were removed??? People are funny. 99.9% of my souvenirs are stored inside my camera in used pixels.

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  8. I loved the "little house" books. Fascinating to see Laura's last home in your photos. I enjoyed the museum post, too, but I agree that Laura would probably be horrified to know her homes were being exploited to this extent.

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  9. Sadly, the Anne of Green Gables books have been exploited in the same way here in Canada.

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  10. Thanks for your travelled around

    photos.

    Very nice. Alot of childhood memories.

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