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Little House on the Prairie: Pa, Ma and That Mime That Raped Sylvia


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#1

OHNicki

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 12:53 AM

I was looking through "On the Shores of Silver Lake" and one of my favorite lines just sums up Laura. They are living in the railroad camp and Pa warns the girls that they must never go around the railroad men because they are rough, uncivilized men who use rough language. Mary and Carrie, of course, don't want anything to do with rough men, but Laura thinks that she would like to hear rough language, just once.

I think that is the essence of Laura, a good girl, but adventurous and MG portrayed that perfectly.

Edited by OHNicki, Jan 1, 2004 @ 8:40 AM.

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#2

Etaoin Shrdlu

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 4:53 PM

Why oh why did they give Laura those dopey looking braids that started right over her ears? She didn't used to wear them like that when she was younger.

I also don't think the real Laura wore braids every single day of her life right up until she became a teacher like TV Laura did. Didn't girls start wearing longer dresses and putting their hair up when they were fourteen or so in those days?
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#3

bobbyhill

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 6:27 PM

While we're talking about prairie hair, what about the 70s-style long hair on Pa, Albert, and Almanzo? I don't claim to know much about historic prairie hairstyles, but it always seemed unlikely to me that those were authentic.

Edited by bobbyhill, Jan 1, 2004 @ 6:46 PM.

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#4

Rudywill

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:43 PM

I also don't think the real Laura wore braids every single day of her life right up until she became a teacher like TV Laura did. Didn't girls start wearing longer dresses and putting their hair up when they were fourteen or so in those days?


Etaoin Shrdlu, in either the Long Winter or By the Shores, LIW mentions her hatred of corsets, but if a girl wanted to wear long dresses and wear her hair up, then she had to contend with it. Even to the point of saying that Mary and Ma didn't mind theirs and slept in them, but Laura took hers off every chance she could. Which was one of the reasons why she liked helping Pa in the fields with the hay, and I believe she talks about her first sighting of "the Wilder brothers" as being one of those corsetless times.

The TV show was so loosely based on the books, that I often imagined LIW turning in her grave - especially when the mime raped Sylvia and when Zaldamo sported that 1970's style surfer hair do. But that didn't stop me from watching every single episode to the point where I knew which one it was by the time the opening credits were finished.
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#5

crazy_girl

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 10:18 PM

I'm truly in awe of the people here who read the books. My mom bought them for my sister and I one Christmas when we were little and we were so horrified that they were nothing like the tv show that we stopped reading them after the first one. Then my sister bought a book from the Scholastic Book Club that had all these pictures of Laura & Almonzo and we were disturbed that she was not as pretty as Melissa Gilbert and he looked nothing like the TV Almonzo (whom we actually thought was cute).

I mean hell, there was barely a Nelly, absolutely no Nancy, no Jenny Wilder, no mime rape, no fat circus woman, no wild boy, no blind school, Mary didn't have a hot husband, they rarely mentioned mass death . . . just nothing of interest in those books for my young, dark, perverted little mind.

I decided that the TV reality was better than the real reality of Laura. You other kids reading the books--you were smart kids, weren't you?
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#6

OHNicki

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 10:27 PM

You other kids reading the books--you were smart kids, weren't you?


I'm old enough so that is wasn't a choice between the books and the TV show! I read all of the LH books when I was in 3rd grade, which was around 1970, 1971.. so no TV show yet. I never liked how far away they wandered from the books and didn't watch it much when it was new.
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#7

hkk02

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:21 PM

Why oh why did they give Laura those dopey looking braids that started right over her ears? She didn't used to wear them like that when she was younger.


Those braids always made my ears itch. I would've hated having all that hair over my ears. But at least MG had hair thick enough to look good in braids, unlike some people. Yeah, I'm talking about you Jenny. Although Shannen's hair does look much thicker nowadays. Wonder what's up with that? As someone who's had to deal with extremely thick, coarse hair my entire life, I'm always interested in others with thick hair. Weird obsession, I know.

crazy_girl your post made me crack up! I was an avid reader as a kid and my mom bought me several of the LH books, but I could never get into them for that exact reason. I was too in love with the LH world the show created. I actually read them as an adult and they are really interesting. I've learned now to separate the two, there is just so little to compare. I still do at times, though, as is obvious from many of my posts here. I bought my daughter the set from Scholastic for Christmas. I'm hoping she can enjoy them in her childhood since she has much less exposure to the show than I did. I seriously watched every day and even refused to give it up for Lent one year. How warped is that--watching a mostly Christian-themed show and being so un-Christian. Oh well, guess I turned out okay, mime-rape viewing and all.
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#8

meldogg1978

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:23 PM

I read all the Little House books several times by junior high and I'm fanatical about the series on television. I think it would've been hard to film a show based 100% on the books because the Ingalls moved so much over the years in real life. I loved the books (Little Town on the Prarire and the Long Winter especially). They were so interesting and I felt I learned a lot about life back in 1870s and 1880s. I know the television show deviated a great deal from the books, but I still loved the show regardless. It was a little weird to read the books and see pictures of the Ingalls' in real life and on the show everyone looked very different.

One thing I always found interesting was Carrie and Grace. In real life, Carrie was only 3 years younger than Laura, but the Greenbush twins were much younger than Mel Gilbert. At least 5 or 6 years. Laura got married at 17-18. That would've made Carrie 14-15. The Greenbush twins were not that old. The real Grace was 10 years younger than Laura and Grace on the show wasn't born till Laura was 14 or so. Just creative license I guess.
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#9

Schroeder

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:36 PM

Hey. I just learned the other day that I have the Hallmark Channel as part of my cable package!
Go me!!!
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#10

kathyk2

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 1:20 AM

I loved the books when I was younger and I owned all of them. Most of the setting of the tv Little House actually occured during On the Banks of Plum Creek. That is the book where the Ingalls moved to Walnut Grove and Laura met Nellie Olson. In the books Pa always wanted to be travelling and Ma wanted to stay put.
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#11

Alexa

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 9:51 AM

But CrazyGirl, the books are so good! You are missing out :-)

The series and books are very different, so I can see why it seems strange to see the series as a kid, and then read part of the books and have it be all different.

I have actually read the books several times in adulthood. I still love to read them...especially the later ones.
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#12

bigmonster

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:10 AM

This is either way off topic or a really hard trivia question....but does anyone remember the episode of WKRP In Cinncinatti where Herb's wife was telling some TV Reporter that they only watched LHOTP, and what reason did she give?
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#13

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:27 AM

That episode of WKRP is a classic!! IIRC, she was telling the reporter that it was good family fare, and that every week there was a fire or someone went blind. Hee!
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#14

christopherson

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 12:27 PM

I'm truly in awe of the people here who read the books.

I absolutely LOVED the books. In fact, all this talk about LHoP lately has made me want to read them again. I loved the chapters in the books about their Christmas celebrations, and how the girls would get like a tin cup and a penny and be flipping out with joy. I also loved Pa's stories and when Laura would describe how Ma/Pa would set up their homes all cute with their meager possessions. Plus, I just loved how tough Laura was.

I loved the books (Little Town on the Prarire and the Long Winter especially)

The Long Winter was also one of my favorites. The desperation!

I just checked when the series started – 1974. It's funny because, as I watch these episodes from the first season on DVD, I don't remember a lot of them. I remember reading the books before watching most of the series, but since I was only 4 when the series started, I must've watched earlier episodes later on as repeats or in syndication.

I started watching the series because I'd read the books, but like everyone else, soon learned that the show was nothing like the books, and grew to love it for completely different reasons.
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#15

Love2Hate

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:09 PM

To the poster who commented on the real LIW to MG - I agree, I remember seeing photos when I was about 12 and being horrified at the haggard, masculine looks rather than the sweet prettiness of the actors on television. That goes for all the characters, not just Laura. In addition, I was surprised at how fat Mary, Grace, and Ma were (or had become) when the earlier books had said that Pa could span Ma's waist with his hands when they were married.

Re: Laura and Pa's relationship - I always thought it was very clear that they had an acute closeness, and a special relationship because he had always wanted a son and Laura was a tomboy to Mary's ladylike character.

Edited by Love2Hate, Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:09 PM.

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#16

TheRealJanBrady

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 3:56 PM

I also loved the books and their Christmas celebrations. In one of the books, the girls make maple candy by drizzling maple syrup over snow, allowing it to harden. I tried that with snow and Log Cabin Lite syrup, but it never hardened!

I didn't read Farmer Boy for many years, thinking that the story of Zaldamo, a boy, would be boring. Then, having run out of other LHotP books to read, I tackled it and loved it. The writing is so vivid.

I'm sure I saw photos of the real Ingalls/Wilders, but I can't remember them--I remember the illustrations on the books much more clearly. I'm actually glad I can't remember the photos. I know that seeing photos of the real VonTrapps has ruined The Sound of Music for me! (Maria was fat!)
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#17

ctygrltif2

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 4:37 PM

If any of you are interested in more reading of LIW work, check out "West from Home". It is a collection of letters she wrote to Almanzo while on a trip to visit Rose in San Fransisco during the World's Fair of 1916. She was so talented at the art of letter writing; it's easy to imagine everything she describes.
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#18

jodela-he-hoo

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 4:55 PM

My mother bought us all the books but gave them to us all out of order. I went from "Little house in the big woods" (loved, loved, loved the story of Mary and Laura playing with Pa as a wolf and Laura smacked him and scrambled over the wood bin) to "the long winter". There might have been 2 that were missing, for sure "farmer boy". I was easily able to separate the show from the books. I always wanted to go back in time and be Laura's best friend. I just knew I could take modern technology back with me and she'd catch on quick. I just got the hallmark channel and I hope to see a few episodes. You guys are making me want to get the dvd's but that's too expensive.
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#19

christopherson

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 6:10 PM

I also loved the books and their Christmas celebrations. In one of the books, the girls make maple candy by drizzling maple syrup over snow, allowing it to harden. I tried that with snow and Log Cabin Lite syrup, but it never hardened!

Hee! Maybe it needs to be done with real maple syrup, or something. That's so funny that you tried it because I always wanted to, but we never had much snow to experiment with in Seattle.

I just loved how innovative they were since they had so little.
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#20

eejm

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 7:57 PM

I also loved the books and their Christmas celebrations. In one of the books, the girls make maple candy by drizzling maple syrup over snow, allowing it to harden. I tried that with snow and Log Cabin Lite syrup, but it never hardened!


I always wanted to try that. I asked my mom several times if we could try it, but she claimed that she didn't know if it was pure maple syrup they used or a mixture with something else, so it might not turn out right. Really, I just don't think she wanted me making a big old sticky mess in the kitchen. Wonder why.
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#21

DocHopper

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 8:12 PM

Hee, I just devoured this whole thread, spurned by the repeated mention of the "Mime Rapist" ep in the TV Potluck thread. This really is the best.thread.title. ever.

Hee Crazy Girl, we were the smart kids. I devoured all of the books in order in 3rd grade and re-read them frequently until I um...discovered VC Andrews in 7th grade. Yikes. Thank god that ended. Those books were much much more disturbing than the mime who raped Sylvia. I even loved "Farmer Boy", {Funny sidebar, in junior high I read this series of 3 books that began with one called "The President's Daughter". In the 3rd book Meg, the President's Daughter gets kidnapped, and when she escapes she is in these woods. And she keeps trying to think of nature-y tricks to help find her way, and she laments that reading all of the Little House books didn't help, because all she can remember is "Farmer Boy" and all of the insanely big meals the Wilder family ate -- end funny sidebar}

Had to chime in on the differences between RL Pa and the show. I always thought RL Pa resembled the shows Mr. Edwards more. Also, I found the movie "Beyond the Prairie" to be a lot more telling about certain aspects of LIW's real life. That Pa's wanderlust was why they moved so much, and that Ma eventually put her foot down while the girls were still young about moving further and further from civilization. Also, the Almanzo/Laura relationship developed much differently than in the books. I always remember that when he asked her how she'd like an engagement ring, Laura said it would depend on who offered it, and when Almanzo asked how what she'd think of him giving her one, she replied "It would depend on the ring".

OK fave eps --
Nellie and Percival. Loved him. How sad that the actor dies of AIDS (or so I read upthread), but cool that Alison Arngrin (sp?) honors his memory.

The circus fat lady is Nels' sister.

When Nellie comes back older, meets Nancy and realizes that as horrid as she used to be Nancy was worse. And also that she and Laura are so genuinely happy to see each other. Post-Percival Nellie rocked. Also, I loved how sweet Willie turned out to be.

When the women are too busy working and the men have to cook for their families (horror). There's a funny shot of all of the kids taking handfuls of like, stewed tomatoes out of their pockets. I kept thinking, why would they put that in their pockets? When do they get to wash their clothes? Then the men simply put the women's restaurant out of business to prove a point or something. Hee funny, funny sexism.

The Fool's Gold ep fantasy sequence!

Nellie and Laura's mudfight! Was this the ep where Almanzo takes Laura to his house to clean up and Charles comes in and punches him out? I loved that!

OK, enough now. But this thread rules.

Edited by DocHopper, Jan 2, 2004 @ 8:16 PM.

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#22

Love2Hate

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 9:20 PM

The circus fat lady is Nels' sister.


*gasp*
In real life or on the show? I don't remember.
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#23

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:30 PM

*gasp*
In real life or on the show? I don't remember. 


A local independent channel in the Dallas/Fort Worth area runs LHOP episodes on a daily basis. I've been off work since Christmas and have been OD'ing on watching the show on both the Hallmark Channel and this channel. I can't remember which channel had this episode on the other day; the fat lady in the circus was Nels' sister, not the actor's sister. Nels was ashamed and didn't want to acknowledge her presence. It was actually a fairly touching episode and seemed very out of character for Nels to be somewhat cruel.

Which reminds me, why the heck did he stay with Harriet? What a shrew that woman was.
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#24

Etaoin Shrdlu

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 11:20 PM

I always wanted to eat dinner at Almanzo’s (Farmer Boy) house! Everything sounded so good. His mother must have been cooking 24-7 though.

In either the Long Winter or By the Shores, LIW mentions her hatred of corsets, but if a girl wanted to wear long dresses and wear her hair up, then she had to contend with it. Even to the point of saying that Mary and Ma didn't mind theirs and slept in them, but Laura took hers off every chance she could. Which was one of the reasons why she liked helping Pa in the fields with the hay, and I believe she talks about her first sighting of "the Wilder brothers" as being one of those corsetless times.


I got the boxed set one year for Christmas and read them many times over as a kid. I remember the whole thing about the corset and thought how much it must have sucked to have to wear one in the first place, much less try to sleep in it. They thought it helped you keep your figure or something. I guess you can’t eat too much if your insides are being squeezed. It was pretty obvious that no one on the show was wearing a corset though. I think all the women over 14 should have been squashed into corsets, and all the male actors forced to get bad home-done haircuts and unattractive facial hair.

I remember being vaguely disappointed by pictures of the real family too. Pa looked like a member of ZZ Top, Ma was fat and kind of severe-looking, and Mary wasn’t all that pretty, like Laura made her out to be. I thought Laura was cute though.

Do you think Laura and Almanzo didn’t have any other kids (after the baby that died) because of his partial paralysis?

Wow. That is totally none of my business.

Still – it’s too bad there weren’t a bunch of little Wilders, and that the immediate family died with Rose.
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#25

Fraoch

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 11:48 PM

I just loved how innovative they were since they had so little.


I always wanted to try the syrup-in-the-snow trick, too, but I did NOT want to play with a pig's bladder blown up and tied with string, balloon-fashion. Does anyone else remember this? Pa slaughtered a hog to prepare for the winter ahead, and he took the bladder and made it into a balloon for Mary and Laura to play with. IIRC, there's even an accompanying illustration showing the girls merrily playing with it. Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade...

Also, on the topic of the actual show:

Which reminds me, why the heck did he stay with Harriet? What a shrew that woman was.


Didn't she say a couple of times that SHE owned the store? I always thought maybe it had been her family's business and Nels married into it.
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#26

Etaoin Shrdlu

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 12:44 AM

Bwah! I remember the pig bladder balloon! (I also remember thinking "yuck").

The roasted pigs tail on a stick sounded tasty, but you can keep the head cheese!

Remember the Sugaring-Off Dance? Kinda sucks that Pa made them all move away from their extended family like that. (Didn't he say that the Big Woods were getting too crowded or something?)
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#27

bobbyhill

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:34 AM

Which reminds me, why the heck did he stay with Harriet? What a shrew that woman was.

I think we were supposed to believe that deep down, he loved her. Wasn't there an episode where the Olesons separated and the Ingallses got them back together by cleverly using reverse psychology? Or am I confusing them with Ike and Corabeth Godsey on The Waltons? Actually, I think that the Stephenses did that for the Kravitzes on Bewitched too. But the Kravitzes didn't own a general store so it's not the same thing.

It's interesting to watch Harriet evolve from being merely persnickety at the beginning of the series to a full-on cartoon character by the end. And then she also was painted as a racist and anti-Semite so we could laugh at her ignorance. Sort of like Archie Bunker on the Prairie.

Edited by bobbyhill, Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:35 AM.

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#28

Love2Hate

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 3:46 AM

I remember being vaguely disappointed by pictures of the real family too. Pa looked like a member of ZZ Top, Ma was fat and kind of severe-looking, and Mary wasn’t all that pretty, like Laura made her out to be. I thought Laura was cute though.


Carrie's older years weren't too kind, either. I saw a photo of her in either her late teens or early 20s and she looked like the evil one-browed baby on the Simpsons.
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#29

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 11:15 AM

The pig bladder ball isn't as gross as it sounds. My teacher brought one into class when I was a kid and it was just a misshapen rubber ball. Once it's dried out, it's perfectly usable. After all, original footballs were pigskin, and where do you think leather comes from?

Nels and Harriet separated several times. There was the ep where he became a travelling salesman to have some control over his own business ideas and to get away from Harriet. He met a lovely Irish lass in a neighbouring town and even kissed her, which Charles witnessed. But he returned to Harriet because he loved her.

They also split in a later ep when a feminist speaker came to town and made the women realize that they were considered property of their husbands, legally. Since the business was Harriet's, it really peeved her that legally it was Nels' just because they were married. So all the women staged a protest. I think that was the same ep mentioned above where the men had to fend for themselves with all the cooking and cleaning.

As for fantasizing about how fun it would have been to have Laura's life (minus the outdoor plumbing), I hope you're kidding. It was brutal and difficult and while the books have romanticized some of it, and they certainly did have good times, it was not a fun life. Everyone worked hard, children too. The women had to rise first in a cold house to start the fire and begin baking bread so there would be some for breakfast. They had to haul water from well, go to the barn and gather eggs and go to the cold storage for a slab of bacon. This was just for one meal. It repeats two more times, each day. Then there was the knitting of socks and mittens, sewing of clothes, gardening, laundry was endless, and barn and fieldwork in between as needed. All this was done half the time while pregnant and/or with a small child or two (or five) running around. Modern life has its drawbacks to be sure, and there is something to be said for a simpler, family-oriented way of life, but there were also many hardships.

Anyway, off the soapbox. I always wondered why they showed the roof of the house from the inside with holes in it. I mean, contrivance aside, even the youngest of viewers would understand that rain would fall through all those holes.
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#30

bigmonster

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 12:12 PM

Everyone worked hard, children too. The women had to rise first in a cold house to start the fire and begin baking bread so there would be some for breakfast. They had to haul water from well, go to the barn and gather eggs and go to the cold storage for a slab of bacon. This was just for one meal. It repeats two more times, each day. Then there was the knitting of socks and mittens, sewing of clothes, gardening, laundry was endless, and barn and fieldwork in between as needed. All this was done half the time while pregnant and/or with a small child or two (or five) running around. Modern life has its drawbacks to be sure, and there is something to be said for a simpler, family-oriented way of life, but there were also many hardships.


That's luxury compared to how it was when I was a kid. There were 150 of us living in a shoebox and we had to walk to school every day in our bloody bare feet and it was uphill both ways. We worked 20 hours a day shucking peas and at the end of the week we got a quarter if we didn't complain. And we were glad to get it. That's just the way it was and we liked it that way.
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