Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Relative Keeps Laura Ingalls Wilder's Legacy Alive

It’s been many years since Laura Ingalls Wilder penned her now famous Little House series. Wilder’s contribution to the world of children’s literature is still celebrated today through pageants, plays, and musicals; and the popular 1970’s show Little House on the Prairie, based upon Wilder’s books, can still be seen in reruns, often multiple times a day.

One of the famous author’s relatives does her part in keeping Wilder’s legacy alive through presentations about the life and times of the Ingalls family.

Beth Ingalls-Leisses is the great granddaughter of Hiram Ingalls, who was Charles (Pa) Ingalls’ brother.

In April of this year, Beth visited a group of fourth- and fifth-grade students at Lincoln Elementary in Hartford, Wisconsin to share some of the stories her grandfather had told about her famous relative. And again in May, Beth traveled to the Trenton School in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to share with second- and third-grade students her Ingalls Family Travels presentation. The presentation covers the history of the Ingalls family and the travels and hardships they endured in Pepin, Wisconsin in the late 1800’s and follows through Laura’s life until her death.

For Beth Ingalls-Leisses, visiting schools and other organizations to talk about the Ingalls family is her way of showing her affection for Wilder and her books and a way to keep the family story alive through a direct approach.

I recently asked Beth what she would say to the author if she could travel back in time and meet Wilder, she said, “Laura, you are the most beautiful person I know. You are loving and loyal to your friends and family, unselfish in the sharing of your life through your books, idealistic and independent and my kind of lady. I am so proud to be a part of the Ingalls family and I thank you for letting me share your life with others.”

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