Wednesday, September 15, 2021

New Story: Lazy Autumn Day: LHOP Inspired Fanfiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 


Lazy Autumn Day

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Author’s note: This story assumes the farmhouse was not destroyed by a tornado as happened in the episode, “Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow.”

 

Laura peered out the front window of the white farmhouse she shared with Almanzo. Harvesttime was her favorite time of the year, especially when the wheat had grown so well.

Almanzo’s new reaper had made quick work of harvesting the wheat, which she had helped him bundle into sheaths before they stacked the golden sheaths into stooks so the grain heads would dry. Tomorrow, their friends would arrive with the thresher to get the grain bagged and the extra straw baled to sell in Mankato. A farmer’s life rarely left time for relaxation. As a farmer’s wife and mother to Rose, many of Laura’s days seemed endless.

She felt Almanzo’s hands clasp her shoulders. “Just look at it, Beth. The Lord blessed us this year.”

Laura sighed. Just last year, a hailstorm had wiped out their entire wheat crop a few days before harvest. Almanzo had mortgaged the house without telling her, so when the crop was destroyed and Almanzo was struck ill with diphtheria, they almost lost everything. She wouldn’t allow herself to feel happy about this crop until it was threshed and bagged.

“It will be good to have some money in the bank,” she said, afraid to speak her fears aloud.

Luckily, those fears remained unfounded. The wheat was threshed, the grain bagged, and the extra straw baled. Their barn ended up filled with fresh straw for bedding, and with what Almanzo sold, he bought supplies at the Mercantile to last them through the winter. He paid ahead on their bank note, so that even if they missed a month, their home would be secure. He also put some money in their savings. It felt good knowing they paid their bill at the Mercantile in cash. That left nothing for Mrs. Oleson to hold over her head.

Laura sat in her chair, rocking Rose as she slept. She would tuck her into bed in a few moments, but she always enjoyed watching her sleep. Almanzo sat in his chair on the other side of the fireplace, sipping a cup of tea.

“We’ve worked hard these last few days, Beth. How about tomorrow, we go on a picnic?”

She raised his eyebrows at him. “Tomorrow is baking and cleaning day, Manly, just like every Saturday.” She shook her head. “You know I’ll be busy.”

“The house looks beautiful. I’m sure no one will notice if you miss a day.” He slid out of his chair and knelt at her feet. “You’ve worked so hard since Rose was born. A little extra rest will do you good.”

“I’m not the one who suffered through diphtheria and a stroke.”

“No, but you took care of everything while I recovered.” He kissed Rose’s head and helped Laura to her feet. “The canning is done and we have enough supplies for winter. We have some leftover biscuits and ham, maybe a couple of slices of that pie you made the other day, and a bit of tea. We’ll take Rosie Posie for a ride and put a blanket out on the grass down by the lake. What do you say?”

A crooked smile crept across his face, and Laura knew she couldn’t resist it. “Oh, Manly, you’re impossible.”

He pecked her cheek. “Anything for my girls.”

The next morning, bright sunshine filtered through the windows. What a great day for a picnic. Dressed in her brown skirt and a cream-colored blouse with brown edging, Laura piled food into a basket. She wrapped up Rose in her blankets and tucked her into a larger basket.

“All set, Beth?”

She nodded. “We’re ready to go!”

Barnum and Skip pulled the wagon down the road, their hooves tossing up dirt as they clip-clopped along. Laura felt a breeze across her face. It rustled the leaves and sent some of them floating to the ground in a bounty of yellow, red, and orange. She sighed and leaned into Almanzo’s shoulder. If only every day could be like this.

Once they reached the lake, Almanzo yanked the horses to a stop and pushed the brake lever. He took Rose and her basket and placed them on the grass before extending his hand to help Laura out of the wagon. She grabbed the basket of food out of the wagon box and the blanket and made quick work of setting up their picnic, while Almanzo led the horses to the shore for a drink.

He sauntered over to her and plunked down on the blanket, crossing his legs. They ate and talked, enjoying their lazy day together. They walked along the water’s edge until Rose fell asleep. Laura placed her into the basket and pulled her blankets closer.

Sitting on the blanket with his legs extended, Almanzo leaned back on his arms. He patted his leg and Laura laid her head down.

“I’m so glad you convinced me to do this, Manly.” She gazed up into his blue eyes. “I didn’t realize how exhausting this last year has been.”

He smiled. “I asked Albert to stop by and tend to the animals, so we don’t have to rush home.”

It seemed like her husband had thought of everything. Laura closed her eyes and let her mind drift through the many memories of their relationship: meeting each other, giving each other their nicknames, the day he finally admitted he had feelings for her, their wedding day, and so many other moments she cherished. How did I get so lucky?

“I’m sorry last year was so hard on you,” he said. “I spent all that time thinking of me and didn’t consider what you were going through.”

Laura sat up and cupped his head in her hands. “I can only imagine what it was like for you.” She kissed him.

Almanzo pulled her close. “We probably won’t spend a lazy day like this again for a while, so let’s not spend it thinking about unhappy memories. Let’s just enjoy being a family.”

As Laura snuggled deeper into his arms, she thanked God for all He had given her. Almanzo had recovered from the diphtheria and stroke, Rose brought both of them tremendous joy, and she loved being a farmer’s wife more than she ever thought possible. Though she missed teaching, the occasional tutoring job helped fill that gap. She didn’t know what the future would bring, but she was certain they could face anything together.

 

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos – All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

First Anne with an E Fanfiction Story Posted

 


Well, I did it. I wrote my first Anne with an E fanfiction story. You can find "The Apology" here if you wish to read it. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Is Anne of Green Gables the Canadian Version of Laura Ingalls Wilder?


I recently finished watching, Anne with an E on Netflix, the latest adaptation of the Anne of Green Gables books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. If you are familiar with the novels and the 1985 adaptation starring Megan Follows as Anne Shirley, you will find some well-loved scenes scattered throughout Anne with an E. You will also find, however, that series creator Moira Walley-Beckett had her own ideas about who Anne should be, what the world of Avonlea should look like, and what the town's residents should cope with. 

If you are curious about my thoughts on any of that, check out my (so far) three part series titled, "Modernizing a Classic" at The Book Connection. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Montgomery was seven years younger than Laura Ingalls Wilder and lived in another country, yet they both wrote about a young girl's childhood based upon their own experiences. Montgomery created a fictional character in a fictional town on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Wilder wrote her recollections of growing up on the American prairie. 

Both Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls Wilder would face hardships during their childhood. Both girls had a knack for getting into trouble because of their impulsive behavior and outspokenness. Both would become schoolteachers. Both would marry and have children. And both would experience hardships in their married life that tested them. In some ways, they seem to be the same girl with different experiences set in a different town. 

Let's not even consider adding Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott into this mix. 

Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls Wilder have amazing followings, with their books and the film adaptations drawing in more fans every day. Just like fans visit Prince Edward Island to find some of Anne's old haunts, they flock to Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and even New York (The Wilder farm) to get a glimpse into Wilder's life. 

I am sure we could find more Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls Wilder connections if we tried. Fans around the world love their impulsive and outspoken role models who have enchanted them for generations. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

It’s Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry: LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos


It’s Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos 

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters. 

 

Laura felt ashamed.  All Manly tried to do was show enthusiasm over wanting children, and she had blasted him. Terse words flew from her mouth, reminding him she wanted to teach two more years before they started a family. 

 It bothered Laura all day long, but the intense guilt crippled her attempts at apologizing.  Almanzo had been busy anyway.  They were preparing for the arrival of Almanzo’s older brother Royal and his family who were stopping in Walnut Grove for a short visit before leaving on a holiday. 

“Honey, I’m home.”  She heard her husband’s voice through the house.

“Up here,” she shouted back.

Almanzo’s boots thumped up the stairs.  “Still cleaning?” he asked as he entered.

 "I’m almost done.  Did you get everything we need from the Mercantile?”

“Yeah.  We’re all set."

“Good.  I think I’ll make an extra apple pie and some biscuits tonight.”

 Laura’s feet left the floor as Almanzo scooped her up in his arms.  “I love your apple pie,” he said, kissing her tenderly.

"It’s not for you.  It’s for Royal and Millie.”

 Almanzo’s lips brushed against hers. “Can't I have some now?”

She pushed him away.  “You’re impossible.  Now get out of here and let me get my work done.”

 He shuffled out of the room like a naughty child who had been scolded, his head hung low.  He glanced back at Laura with sad eyes. Great, now I feel even worse, she said to herself.

 Almanzo went to bed before her. Supper had been a silent affair and Laura’s pangs of guilt tugged at her heart. Why didn’t she just apologize and get it over with?

 She turned down the lamps in the parlor and wandered upstairs. Almanzo sat in bed reading the newspaper. He looked up for a moment, but said nothing. She unrolled her hair and brushed it out, looking through her mirror every few seconds to see if he was watching her. She snuck behind the screen to change into her nightgown and sighed before slipping under the sheets next to her husband.

 Thinking a book might calm her mind she picked one off the nightstand. After a few seconds she slammed it down on the quilt.  "Oh for goodness' sake!”

“What’s wrong?” asked Almanzo.

 “Me, that’s what’s wrong.”  A look of confusion clear on is face, Laura took his hand in hers. “I’m sorry about this morning. I never should have spoken to you that way. I know you want children, but I…”

 Almanzo put a finger up to her lips. “I’m the one who should be sorry.  I know how you feel about it.  I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

 Now she felt horrible--not only did he understand, he took the blame. “I appreciate that Manly, but I shouldn’t have gotten so angry.  It’s just that I worked really hard for my teaching certificate, and I want to get some use out of it.”

 “The extra money doesn’t hurt either.” 

Laura nodded. “There is one other thing. I know it’s silly and selfish, but I…I like it being just the two of us. Now that I’m married, I can’t imagine how Ma and Pa managed to get any privacy.  One of us was always running to them with our problems.”  A huge sigh escaped from her lips.  “I’m not sure I’m ready to share you yet.” 

Lowering her head, she feared what he might think of her.  Almanzo rolled onto his side and snuggled in close. Lifting her chin he gazed into her big brown eyes and smiled the crooked smile that always melted her heart.

“You know, that’s kind of how I feel about your teaching. It’s like I have to share you with a bunch of kids and their parents all the time. Each night you grade papers and plan lessons. Sometimes, I come home and just want to kiss you, but there’s a student at our kitchen table and I have to behave.”

 Laura’s eyes widened. “Really?” He nodded. “Why didn’t you ever say anything?”

“Because, like you said, it's selfish. I want you all to myself once you're home.”

She never realized how it must be for him. Laura leaned over and peeked his cheek. "I want you all to myself, too," she teased.  

Almanzo grinned. "I'll always be yours."

She giggled. Now that the issue between them was settled, she would reschedule her tutoring for tomorrow so that she could spend more time with him tomorrow evening. Maybe they could have an early supper and go for a short ride by the lake. She snuggled into the sheets once he turned down the lamp.

The night flowed through to the next morning. Laura rolled over and saw Almanzo sleeping soundly.  She stared at him for a few moments, his wavy blond hair catching the first glints of sunlight peeking through the curtains. She knew one day their house would be filled with the laughter of children, but for now she was content with listening to his steady breathing and knowing he belonged only to her.


Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Father's Heart: LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 


A Father’s Heart

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos 

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

 

            Charles peered through the front window, frost clinging to the edges of the window pane. Laura, Carrie, Albert, and Almanzo chased each other around the yard, scooping up handfuls of heavy, wet snow and hurling them at each other. 

            A vision of a young Half-pint, braids bouncing beneath her woolen cap as she ran around the front yard in the snow with her sisters flashed through Charles’s mind.  Where had the time gone? 

            Caroline’s gentle hand cupped his shoulder. “Seems like only yesterday Mary, Laura, and Carrie were having snowball fights of their own.” Her breath tickled his ear. 

            “Are you reading my mind again, Mrs. Ingalls?” 

            Caroline’s arms encircled his waist and she leaned her head on his shoulder. “No, just your face, Mr. Ingalls.” 

            Outside, Almanzo caught up with Laura, who had just nailed his shoulder with a large snowball that splattered across the back of his coat. He grabbed her around the middle and pulled her into him, her giggles filtering through the glass into the house. Almanzo nuzzled her neck and her arms wrapped around him as she turned sideways for a kiss. 

            Charles’s heart ached as he watched them. They reminded him of many years ago when he and Caroline had been a young couple in love. But, more than that, he realized at this time next year Laura would no longer live in the little house on Plum Creek. She would celebrate her first Christmas with her new husband in a little house of her own. He sighed. 

            Caroline’s arms squeezed around his middle. “It will be strange without her.” 

            Charles nodded. “We learned to do it with Mary, and we’ll get used to Half-pint being gone too.” Caroline lifted her head and gazed at his profile, one corner of her mouth pulling into a smirk. “Though it might take a bit longer this time.” 

            Charles turned to face his wife. “At least I still have my favorite lady.” His lips captured hers for a tender moment. 

            “Laura chose a wonderful man… just like I did.” 

            Charles couldn’t argue with that. It surprised him how much he warmed up to Almanzo since Laura’s engagement. After all the help Almanzo had given Mary and Adam with the blind school, risking his own life to help out a family he owed nothing to, Charles was certain there was no man in Walnut Grove he would rather have as Laura’s husband. 

            The front door flew open and four giggling, breathless people marched inside, the ruckus waking Grace from her nap.

           “Warm yourselves by the fire,” said Caroline before disappearing into the bedroom. 

            Charles watched Almanzo help Laura out of her winter coat before removing his own things. “There’s some coffee on the stove.” 

            “Thank ya, sir.” Almanzo strolled into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee for Laura and himself. 

            “Hey Laura,” Albert poked his sister’s side, “is Almanzo going to wait on you in your home too?” 

            “Don’t talk about Laura leaving,” Carrie whimpered from where she stood in front of the fireplace, rubbing warmth back into her hands. 

            Laura ran to her sister and hugged her tightly. “Oh, Carrie, it will be all right.” Laura rocked her sister back and forth. 

            Almanzo’s boots clomped across the floor. “Laura’s right.” Carrie’s tear-streaked face glanced up at him. “We’ll be living right outside town, and we’ll probably be here all the time.” 

            “Oh great! Just when I thought I would be getting some peace and quiet up in the loft.” Albert smiled at his sister, but Charles saw the sadness hiding in his eyes. 

            Albert and Laura had been nearly inseparable since the Ingalls family moved back to Walnut Grove. Having left town when times were tough and settling in Winoka, in Dakota Territory, the Ingalls family had stumbled upon Albert, an orphan living on the streets. The boy had instantly won their hearts. When the Ingalls family packed up to return home, they asked Albert to come with them. 

            Adopting Albert had legally secured his place in the Ingalls family, but even without the adoption, he was like their flesh and blood. Laura and he couldn’t have been closer if they truly were brother and sister. 

            Laura planted a hand on one hip. “You best remember who grades your papers little brother.” 

            “How can you call him your little brother when he’s taller than you?” asked Carrie. 

            The room erupted with laughter as Caroline entered the room with Grace leaning against her hip. 

            Caroline placed Grace in her highchair while the others pulled out chairs to sit down at the table. “Dinner is almost ready.” She strolled to the stove and lifted the cover of the pot. Breathing in deeply, she smiled and then stirred the contents with a spoon. 

            Carrie sat down opposite Laura, her eyes still blinking back the tears that swam in her eyes. Laura reached across the table. Carrie’s outstretched arms met her halfway and Laura squeezed her sister’s hands. 

            “Once we’re settled in the new place,” said Laura, “you can come over as often as you like.” 

            “Really?” 

            “Sure. You can even sleep over… as long as it’s okay with Ma and Pa.” 

            Carrie’s eyes widened and her smile revealed a mouth with a few missing teeth. “I’d like that.” 

            Charles rapped his knuckles on the table. “If you ladies are done talking about leaving, I’m starving.” 

            They giggled.  “Sorry, Pa.” 

            His eyes twinkled and he cast a wink in Laura’s direction, but shifted in his seat, the pain of Laura’s imminent departure still tugging at his heart. 

            Caroline placed the last plate of food on the table and sat down. The chatter stopped and everyone bowed their heads. As Charles began to thank the Lord for the bounty of food, he risked a glance at his beloved daughter and her betrothed. They had such dreams and plans that he couldn’t help but be taken in by all the excitement, but he knew it would be hard to let her go, even to a man who had earned his admiration and respect. 

            Before ending his prayer, Charles paused for a moment to silently ask the Lord to give him strength as Laura graduated from daughter to wife; just as he prayed for the courage to leave Mary behind in Winoka, where he would no longer be able to protect her. Caroline and he had prepared their daughters well, but that did not ease his desire to keep Laura from all the heartbreaks he knew would come to her as a farmer’s wife. 

            Caroline’s gentle smile met his face, as if, again, she knew his thoughts. “They’ll be fine,” her eyes seem to say. 

            Charles swallowed away the lump that had formed in his throat. “Amen.” 

            The conversation immediately picked up where it had left off and plates passed around the table. Charles’s heart swelled with pride when his eyes took in his family and Almanzo, who sat between him and Laura. He had gotten used to seeing Almanzo around the dinner table, and the nights the young man wasn’t with them, Charles felt something wasn’t quite right, as if the family could no longer be complete without him. 

            Charles said one more silent prayer before digging into his plate of food. Thank you, Lord, for blessing Laura with such a special man. Amen.

 

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A Sister's Advice: LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 


A Sister’s Advice

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

 

            Almanzo’s packed belongings sat at the edge of his bed. One bag and one knapsack to carry with him to his new life in Sleepy Eye. He would stop by Laura’s house this morning before school to talk to her.

            Eliza Jane had been quiet at supper last night. They grew up together. They had never lived apart. When she left home to accept the teaching position in Walnut Grove, he offered to go with her. As hard as it was to leave his parents all alone in Spring Valley, as the second oldest son, he had a responsibility to make sure she stayed safe. Royal married years ago, and with Perley Day’s whereabouts unknown, Almanzo filled his wagon with household items and provisions, and made the drive to his new home with Eliza Jane.

            Part of him struggled with his need for independence versus his need to care for his sister, but seeing Mr. Ingalls in town every day and sitting across the aisle from him at church on Sunday mornings, pretending he agreed with Mr. Ingalls’s decision that Laura and he must wait two years to marry, pushed him forward. He made plans for Ned Turner to help with the farm while he was away, so at least Eliza Jane wouldn’t have to worry about managing all the chores by herself.

            Almanzo’s boots thudded on the stairs as he marched down to the kitchen for breakfast. He doubted his sister would allow him to go without a lecture, but he had made up his mind. He wanted a future with Laura, and her overprotective father stood in the way of their happiness.

            “Good morning, Sis.” He caught how she glanced out of the corner of her eye at him as she stirred scrambled eggs in a cast iron pan.

            Eliza Jane poured him a cup of coffee and handed it to him. “Good morning, Mannie. Sleep well.”

            What is she up to? He knew his sister well enough to know that the temporary shock of last night’s announcement had worn off. She would have plenty to say.

            He shrugged. “Not really, but I have a lot on my mind.”

            “I’m sure you do.” Eliza Jane slid a plate of ham and eggs in front of his seat at the table and sat down at her seat opposite him. She looked over the rim of her glasses. “Are you still planning on leaving this morning?”

            He nodded. “Yes. I’ll head over to Laura’s place after I drop you off in town. Shouldn’t take her long to pack up. Then we’ll head out to Sleepy Eye.” He shoveled a large forkful of food into his mouth, which he washed down with a swig of coffee.

            Eliza Jane crossed her arms and leaned them on the table’s edge. “What makes you think Laura will go with you?”

            Almanzo stopped his fork mid-air, his mouth remaining open. “What do you mean?”

            “She has a lot to consider, you know.” Eliza Jane slid her mostly full plate aside. “Without warning you’re going to ask her to pick up her life and move to Sleepy Eye? What about her teaching? What about her family?”

            His sister’s lecture quickly got annoying. Beth would go with him. Hadn’t she been in love with him forever? Didn’t she immediately say yes when he asked her to marry him?

            “Sis, we are only moving to Sleepy Eye, not Boston.” One corner of his mouth lifted, creating a crooked smile. “We can come visit once we get settled.”

            Eliza Jane pursed her lips as he spoke. She stood straighter in her seat, like she did when she made a point to a student. “Mannie, you know I want what’s best for you. I always have.” She lowered her gaze and smiled. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciated you coming with me to Walnut Grove when I accepted this job. I’m sure a single young man had other things in mind for his life, but you chose to live here.”

            She reached across the table and clutched his hand. “While I am thankful, I never would have asked you to pick up everything and move here with me.” Eliza Jane shook her head. “You’re not giving Laura any choice. She loves you, and if she wants to be with you, she must leave the place she has called home for years and leave behind her family. Are you sure you want to ask that of her?”

            Almanzo pushed his seat back and stood. The heat of his anger rose to create a ring of sweat around his shirt collar. “You don’t understand, Sis. How am I supposed to face Mr. Ingalls every day and pretend that we agree when we don’t? How is Beth supposed to feel about me as a husband if I can’t stand up and fight for what we want?”

            He stormed off to the kitchen and dropped his plate and cup in the sink. When he turned around, his red-headed sister stood in the kitchen doorway. Tall and slender, her eyeglasses made her appear older than she was. The red, black, and white plaid dress she often wore to school didn’t help. Growing up in Malone, she used to be so fashionable.

            Maybe if she ever had a beau, she would know what it’s like to be in love and to want to spend your life with a person so much it almost hurts to spend days apart. Painfully shy, Eliza Jane felt most comfortable around her students.

            “Almanzo, all I am saying is that if you fight for what you want, you should be sure Laura wants the same thing. This could go horribly wrong, and I don’t want to see you hurt.”

            Almanzo’s shoulders drooped. How could he stay angry with the sister he had looked up to all his life? He strolled over and hugged her. “It will work out, Eliza Jane.”

            The clock chimed seven times. “I best get Barnum and Skip hitched up. Can’t have the teacher being late for school.”

            Almanzo plunked his hat on his head and marched out to the barn. As he hitched up his Morgans, he thought more on what his sister said. Could she be right? Would Laura choose her pa over me? He shook those thoughts from his mind. Laura loved him and he loved her. His plan would work out fine.

          


Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Character Profiles--Who Should I Cover Next?

Following the stats on Laura's Little Houses, I see that the character profiles I've done capture a fair amount of attention. So far I have profiled:











Now, you will get to choose which character I profile next. Here are your choices:



Charles Ingalls


Caroline Ingalls


Reverend Alden


Doc Baker


Nels Oleson


Harriet Oleson


Leave a comment on this post to let me know who you would like to see profiled next. Thanks for helping.