In Chapter 20 of Little Town on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder shares the time she attended a birthday party for Ben Woodworth. It seems Laura didn't like much about her appearance. She wanted to be "tall and willowy, like Nellie Oleson". Her eyes were too far apart and they didn't sparkle. Though her hair was think and long, it wasn't golden like her sister Mary's.
Laura and her friend, Mary Power, went to the party together. They had: oyster soup with tiny oyster crackers, potato patties, codfish balls, and biscuits. They drank coffee and there was cake for dessert. The whole oranges that were cut to look like flowers were eaten with the cake. Then they played games and Laura told her Pa and Ma all about it.
Laura had so much fun that she had trouble concentrating in school. We learn in the next chapter that Laura will turn sixteen in ten months.
When you read chapters like this, you realize not everything has changed for teenage girls. Laura was not happy with how she looked, which is a problem that plagues many girls today. She was nervous about going to the party, but she had fun, and then school no longer held as much of her attention.
We see the young woman that Laura is quickly becoming. Laura meets Almanzo for the first time, though she knew who he was. They exchange name cards and soon Almanzo is escorting her home in the evenings.
Today, we honor the legacy that Laura Ingalls Wilder left us. Her books have touched hearts for generations and show no signs of slowing down. Television series and TV movies have been based upon those books that Laura wrote at the urging of her daughter Rose. Those same books are used by students who are studying the pioneering era, and there are still young girls who dress up like Laura on Halloween.
On her 143rd birthday, we offer our thanks that one little girl growing up on the prairie, many years later, put pen to paper and shared her life with us. With the popularity of the Little House on the Prairie Musical, and Dean Butler and Legacy Documentaries working on Laura Ingalls Wilder related projects, Laura's legacy will continue to play a role in the lives of many families. May we always remember Laura Ingalls Wilder!