A couple of weeks ago, Jayce and I finished reading These Happy Golden Years, one of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We read the entire series from start to finish, progressively going further west with Pa and Ma and their girls. It was a series I looked forward to reading every bit as much as he looked forward to hearing. Laura had a way of weaving the truths of heartbreak and hardship in so seamlessly with the joys of a much simpler time. At the end of the last book, there was a blurb about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum. Until reading that, I never had a single reason to visit Mansfield, Mo. But now, well…
You know how it feels when your favorite TV series wraps? And you miss the characters and wish you could visit with them again? All the more so when the characters were real, live, living and breathing people.
I immediately put the book down and picked up my Kindle, curios for more details about Laura’s life. One thing led to another and I’m telling you the truth when I say that I am addicted to Ancestry.com. I haven’t come across it yet, but I’m holding out hope that somewhere in my tangled genealogy there might be a link that connects me to those Ingalls. By marriage at least.
In the meantime, I am absolutely enthralled with what I have found. Jeff and I literally had to tear ourselves from the keyboard last night. I went to bed imagining the Hezekiahs and Delilas and Olivers on my tree. I closed my eyes and saw them rattling across a dusty prairie in a tattered wagon, their eyes and their hearts set on Utah.
Mormons. I would never have guessed.
There are the most minute of clues to sift through. Names and records and lore.
I’ve never been big on history. But there is something so beckoning about these people who once were. Their stories begat my own. Their blood runs in my veins. And though I’ll probably never so much as visit a single one of their graves, I can at least dream up who they were and spin stories of heartbreak weaved seamlessly in with the joys of a much simpler time.
Laura’s heart and perseverance and faith kept me turning the pages. The books are read and put away but I’m turning the pages still. Of Averys and Coopers and Ezells and Millers. Mapping their histories and uncovering their legacies, a page at a time.