In Which I Let My Freak Flag Fly

In Which I Let My Freak Flag Fly

by Kerry Scott on 16 July 2010

I need to tell you something.  I can trust you with this, right?  I mean, it’s a little odd…but I know you won’t make fun of me, because people on the internet are never mean like that.

So there’s this conference.  It’s called Laurapalooza.  I’m not making this up:  It’s a conference for Laura Ingalls Wilder fans.  It’s going on right now, and I’m totally wishing I was there.

I know, right?  Don’t feel bad.  My husband laughed too.

See, I loved the Little House books as a kid.  LOVED.  I liked the TV show too, but the books were really my thing.  And thirty-[mumble] years later, when the ultrasound guy said, “You’re having a girl,” I was like, “Yay!  How long before I can get her into Little House books?”  (Yes, that’s dumb.  Of course boys like them too.  I’ll be reading them to my son in no time.)

Now my daughter is about to turn five, and I’ve been reading the chapter books to her, every night, one chapter at a time.  They’re actually better than I remembered, and there are nuances that I completely missed as a kid.  For example, the relationship between Ma and Pa….I mean, it’s the 1870s, so they aren’t exactly equal, but it’s really quite a partnership.  There’s also a lot of genuinely useful historical insight for researchers (like The Long Winter, which depicts the famous winter of 1880-81, when quite a few of my own ancestors lived not far from the Ingalls home in De Smet, South Dakota).  In fact, I’m realizing that my love of obsession with history really started with these books.

Then, about a month ago, I read an article about planning a family vacation to visit various Ingalls/Wilder family sites.  I made my husband promise that we’d do it.  Some people dream of Disneyland.  Not me.  I want to go to Walnut Grove.

Then I read about Laurapalooza.  Check out this schedule.  Who wants to hear a talk about the Long Winter Seed Trip?  I DO.  Who wants to take the side trip to see the Betsy-Tacy neighborhood?  ME.  Who wants to see the guy who played Almanzo in person?  SIGN ME UP (seriously, because I saw his picture and he still looks good, and if you’re the same age as me you know you would swoon too, so just shut up).

Yeah, I’m THAT geeky.  I felt you should know.  And I’m already planning to go to the next Laurapalooza in 2012.  All I need is a sunbonnet (and money, and childcare, and a playlist for the drive to Mankato…but first, a sunbonnet).

(Oh, and remember when I told you about the tornado that hit Old World Wisconsin?  They’ve been closed this whole time.  They’re still closed.  They lost something like 2,000 trees.  But they’re finally going to re-open just in time for the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Days event, which is awesome.  If you’re in Wisconsin and want to support them, you should go.  It’s fun even if you’re not even remotely as dorky as me.  Go here for details.)

Photo by cesarastudillo

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

ABDPBT July 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Well, I certainly endorse the flying of the freak flag. But wow, don’t get the Little House thing. I could never even get into the TV shows. But you know, I have my basketball thing, so we all have our crosses to bear.


Missy July 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm

A girl after my own heart! :o)


Michelle Goodrum July 17, 2010 at 12:38 am

I’m right there with you! Read every book in the series. Read them all to my girls when they were little. I’ll let YOU in on a little secret. Husband even enjoyed reading the books to the girls (ssshhh).

Laurapalooza eh? Hmm, I wonder if I could talk hubby into that one. It might work.

Oh yeah. One more secret I’ll let you in on. I found my old sunbonnet last month!!! Guess I better get the freak flag out too.


Evil HR Lady July 17, 2010 at 5:50 am

I’m coming in 2012. I’m also a Little House addict. I’ve read each book at least 20 times. It wasn’t until I read them as an adult, though, that I realized how truly scary the Long Winter was. They really could have died!

And I lived in Mankato, MN for 6 months. Does that make me extra cool?


Susan Tiner July 17, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for sharing your inner geekiness. I would totally love Laurapalooza, so I guess that makes me a geek too. Did you also love Little Women? I never got tired of reading these stories to my daughter.


Regina July 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Really wonderful! While I was never into the books, I loved the TV show. I say ” Let your Freak Flag Fly” and be proud!!


Kerry Scott July 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I’m going to make sure my husband reads these comments. Twice. Because, see? Other people are this cool too.

Susan—I liked Little Women, but not as much as I liked Laura. I think it was because Laura definitely wasn’t a goody-goody. She could be a little mouthy. I can identify with that.

Evil HR Lady—yes, as a matter of fact, that DOES make you extra cool. Also, I have a birdseye map of Mankato from 1870 hanging in my office, because some of my ancestors lived there in the 1870s. You can see their house and their church. It’s cool.


Paula July 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Count me with flying my freak flag for Little House…. and it’s not the TV Stories, it’s the books that I love.


Greta Koehl July 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I had never read the books until I was an adult reading them to my two daughters – and that got me hooked! It was amazing to read something that got so many of the details about life in those days. Laurapalooza sounds awesome.


Barbara O July 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Really, I don’t think you’re strange at all. After all, I’m in my 50′s and my best friend who lives half way cross the country sent me this post cause even she knows how much I love the Little House books. Not the show though (couldn’t get past the adding of new story lines. I mean, that stuff didn’t really happen!!) My son and husband STILL tell me that the snow could NEVER have been so high that they could see the horse going by the upstairs window. TELL THEM! And by the way, the boys were not so into the books, to my dismay. Finally, I bought a whole box set and gave it to a friends’ daughter just to get it out of my system (I’ve personally been through 2 of those box sets in my lifetime) Now, my daughter, who’s 10, is not really a reader. Aughhhhh! But she’s gonna read these books! I mean it!
I can’t wait to go to the Little House historical sites, and now Laurapolooza is on my radar. THANK YOU!


Sandra Hume July 20, 2010 at 12:14 am

Definitely come in 2012! We had ourselves a TIME.


Natahle July 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Oh, man!!! I didn’t know there was a Laura Ingalls Wilder FESTIVAL!!! I would so be there!!! Little House was one of the first chapter books I read when I was little… and I’m pretty sure that I’ve watched EVERY episode of the tv show… I went to see the Little House on the Prairie Musical last November… Melissa Gilbert played Ma. I was on the 4th row… might as well have been heaven!!! I’m so putting this on my calendar for next year!


Sarah S. Uthoff July 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Watch video of the conference here:


Barbara O July 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I can’t believe I forgot to say that we went to the Little House on the Prairie musical, too, when it was in Raleigh in March. I did take my daughter to that. It was great! The more Laura the better!


Mrs. White July 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm

You are adorable! I love all the books and the show too! My children have all grown up on it. My oldest is now 22. I still enjoy watching the shows myself.

A few months ago, my husband and I watched a few episodes a day. I was talking to my 22 year old on the phone, telling her about it. All she said was “Poor Dad!”
(grins) Obviously that poor man would do anything for me!

Mrs. White


Amy Boland July 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm

A favorite lunchroom topic with a former coworker was recounting old episodes of Little House that never really happened. Like the day Ma was going to bake a cherry pie for the church supper, but she didn’t realize that a meteorite had landed in the cherry grove. She accidentally baked a pie contaminated with radioactive alien DNA. The townsfolk had all sorts of curious mutations before Pa figured out what happened and sent away to New York for a patent medicine to clear up the maladies.


Kerry Scott July 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Ha! That’s not all that far-fetched relative to some of the dumb plots they had on that show (especially in the later years).


Jo July 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Take the Freak Flag down – you’re no such thing! My cousins in Toronto sent me the Little House books when I was about 10 (in the 70′s) and I LOVED them, although we didn’t get the TV series (being in Scotland). If I still had them, I’d read them again :-) Jo


Erica August 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I’m pretty sure that I can make a pilgrimage from NYC in 2012. Anyone who doesn’t is a Nellie Olsen!


Margaret August 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Whoa! I had no idea this existed!!

Totally need to go with my mom sometime.


Katie O. December 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Just found this after reading your “best of 2010″ post, and I can’t believe I never knew about this! I’m the kid who dressed up as Laura Ingalls for Halloween one year, and when my neighbor told me I should be wearing my bonnet so people could tell who I was, I responded, “But Laura never wore her bonnet! Ma always had to tell her to put it on!”

And this conversation actually happened when I was shopping for my wedding dress:
[I try on old-fashioned looking, long-sleeved, high-necked, wedding dress]
Me: This reminds me of something Laura Ingalls or Anne Shirly would have gotten married in.
[Friend agrees]
Me: Although Laura didn’t wear white, did she? She just wore her best dress.
Friend: Yeah, she’d just had a new dress made, right? Wasn’t it was a black lawn?


Barbara December 31, 2010 at 7:59 am

And when Laura decided to wear the new black lawn, Ma said “married in black, wish yourself back”! I’m getting that book out again tonight!


George Farris January 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Who knew? What pleasant memories your post has engendered. Laura Ingalls Wilder was a consummate recorder of the cultural life on the American frontier. Her books gave me a sense of family that, sadly, I lacked in my own youth. I suppose I’ll have to clear my calendar for 2012.

Capitol regards,
George, in DC


Comeka August 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I loved these books as a kid but never realized just how much I learned about how my ancestors lived until I hit adulthood. I haven’t read them in years but I’m sure I would enjoy them again.

When you plan that vacation, don’t forget Laura’s final home in Mansfield, MO . . . this is where she lived when she wrote all the books. I visited when I was about 14 and very loved it even though it was completely UNCOOL for someone my age. LOL


Kerry Scott August 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’m way, way over 14 and I’m DYING to go to Mansfield. Someday!


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