Monday, August 8, 2022

Changes: LHOP Inspired Fanfiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Changes

LHOP inspired 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 and Caroline had just finished moving Carrie up to the loft.  Now, only Baby Grace would be downstairs with them.

“Would you like some coffee?” Caroline asked Charles.

 “Sounds good,” he replied, glancing up at the loft. 

 Caroline’s knowing smile told him she knew what he was thinking. “It seems strange without her, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it does.” Charles walked over to the kitchen window and looked out, as if he expected Laura to walk down the road at any minute. “We already went through this with Mary. You think it would be easier this time.”

Caroline shrugged. “It never gets easier, no matter how many times it happens. It’s just not the same when one of your children leaves the nest.”

She brought Charles his cup of coffee and motioned for him to sit down with her at the table. Caroline brushed a strand of hair away from her face. “She married a good man.”

“I know,” he said with a nod.

Caroline reached over and put her small, white hand on top of Charles’s much larger and darker one. “Once again, we know how our parents felt when we packed up and left the Big Woods. We’ll get by it…just like we did when we left Mary in Winoka.” 

After drinking his coffee, Charles stood. “I need to do some work out in the barn.

His feet shuffled along the floor before he opened the door and walked outside. He only stayed there for a few minutes before he strolled down to the creek.

***

From the kitchen window, Caroline saw him cross the yard. She spied him as he sat down in Laura’s favorite thinking place. Her heart ached for him. Laura and he had always been so close. She prayed God would help him accept the changes life had brought. 

***

 Charles sat along the creek bed for about twenty minutes. It was no accident he sat in Laura’s special thinking place. He would often join her when she was younger and share fatherly advice. Now, he was replaced by Almanzo Wilder. She would go to him for the advice she needed. He admitted he felt sorry for himself.

He knew he was being silly. It was natural for a young girl to grow up, fall in love, get married, and cleave to her husband. But somehow, he had hoped Laura, his Half-pint, would wait a little longer. 

Charles looked up at the sky searching for guidance. “You know, Lord, it was hard for me to admit Mary had become a woman who could survive on her own without her Ma and me. But after a while, I accepted it.”

He felt tears forming in the corners of his eyes but blinked them away.

“With Half-pint, I fought the battle against her growing up every day. I always wished I could keep her a little girl forever. But before I knew it, she was a young woman and a teacher. An older man courted her.”

Charles stopped praying to let the tears flow. When the last tear fell, he stood and grabbed a smooth, flat stone from the ground. He skimmed it across the creek. Laura loved to do that when she was younger, he thought.

“Lord, I feel like I’ve lost my little girl. We have always been kindred spirits. I always understood how she felt…and she understood me, too. I am going to miss those picnic lunches and fishing trips. Lord, please help me to accept these changes in my life and help me learn to appreciate the grown Laura as much as I love the young one.  Amen.”

Charles sat back down and looked out over the cold flowing water. A few moments later he felt a small, familiar hand on his shoulder.

“Hi, Half-pint.” Charles turned his head to look back at her. 

“Hi, Pa.” Laura pulled up her skirt and sat down next to her father. “What are you doing out here?”

“Thinking.”

 “About what?”

 “How grown up you are?”

 Laura smiled wide. “I never thought I would hear you say that.”

Charles cupped her chin in his hand. “As much as I hate to admit it Half-pint, you’re a woman now.” He gazed at the ground to hide his tears. 

Once he recovered from his emotions he looked up and said, “What are you doing here? I thought you and Almanzo would be busy at the house.”

“We just finished getting Eliza Jane’s things together. She’ll send for them once she’s settled in St. Louis.” Charles nodded. “Almanzo had to go into town, so I figured I would come out here and spend some time with you. Almanzo will pick me up on the way back.”  Laura paused. “Pa, can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

 “How long did it take you and Ma to get used to being married?”

Charles smiled. He had thought his days of passing out fatherly advice to Half-pint were over, but here she was once again looking for him to share his wisdom. “Quite a while. It’s a big change going from being your own person to being a couple. You’re not having problems already, are you?”

“No, it’s just that Almanzo and I have different opinions on things and sometimes I feel I have to give in so we don’t argue.”

Charles let a laugh escape from his lips. “I know you have strong opinions Half-pint, but there’s nothing wrong in giving in occasionally. Marriage means a lot of compromises...if you want it to work.”

Laura reached over and hugged him. “I’ll try to remember that. Thanks, Pa.”  She reached for a smooth, flat stone and stood. She tossed it toward the creek and watched it skim the water. 

Charles had been so preoccupied with all the changes in his own life, he had forgotten how many changes his daughter was going through. And he found even though she was a grown, married woman, she still needed him. Charles glanced skyward and silently thanked God for answering his prayers. 

***

Caroline watched them from the kitchen window. “Thank you, Lord,” she said as she wiped away tears of joy.

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos – All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Little House Gifts



Do my friends know me or what? One of my friends picked up these gifts for me. He has even offered to protect the book covers so that I can keep them as collectibles. 

 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Available Now: Back to the Prairie by Melissa Gilbert

I bought this new book from Melissa Gilbert when it came out. I am in the middle of reading it now. Did any of you buy it yet?


The New York Times bestselling author and star of Little House on the Prairie returns with a new hilarious and heartfelt memoir chronicling her journey from Hollywood to a ramshackle house in the Catskills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Known for her childhood role as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the classic NBC show Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert has spent nearly her entire life in Hollywood. From Dancing with the Stars to a turn in politics, she was always on the lookout for her next project. She just had no idea that her latest one would be completely life changing.

When her husband introduces her to the wilds of rural Michigan, Melissa begins to fall back in love with nature. And when work takes them to New York, they find a rustic cottage in the Catskill Mountains to call home. But “rustic” is a generous description for the state of the house, requiring a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for the newlyweds to make habitable.

When the pandemic descends on the world, it further nudges Melissa out of the spotlight and into the woods. She trades Botox treatments for DIY projects, power lunching for gardening and raising chickens, and soon her life is rediscovered anew in her own little house in the Catskills.

Visit Goodreads to purchase from your preferred retailer. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

New Story: Snow Angels: LHOP Inspired Fanfiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 


Snow Angels

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: The real Charles Frederick Ingalls was born on November 1 and died nine months later. In the episodes, “The Lord is My Shepherd, Parts 1 and 2,” there was no date mentioned for his birth, but he seemingly died weeks after he is born. (The funny thing is that if you watch the episode “A Most Precious Gift,” from Season 4, they have the correct birth and death dates.) When Laura runs away, it is warm enough that she doesn’t bring a coat, but Charles mentions to Isaiah when they are searching for her that the night was the coldest one they had as of late. For the sake of this story, I am using Freddy’s actual birthdate.

Laura snuck out of bed when she heard the clattering of pots and pans on the stove. Just like every day, Ma rose early to get the fire going and to make breakfast. She leaned over the loft ladder. Usually, Ma smiled as she worked. But not today. She didn’t sing or hum either. Today, would have been baby Charles’s first birthday. Though Ma and Pa never spoke of the baby boy they lost, Laura figured they must think of him from time to time.

The bed creaked behind her, and she saw Mary stretching her arms and releasing a big yawn. She snuck back to the bed and whispered to her sister.

“Ma looks sad today.” 

 Mary nodded. “That’s to be expected. We should take Carrie with us as we do our chores this morning.” Since it was Saturday, the oldest girls didn’t have school.

“She likes feeding the chickens with me anyway,” said Laura. “Maybe we can take a walk down to the lake later.” 

Mary tossed the covers aside and exchanged her nightgown for her dress. She brushed her hair and held her long bangs back with a comb. She opened the shutters on the window. “We best stay close to home today. Those gray clouds might mean snow.”

Both girls descended the ladder as quietly as possible. 

“Morning, Ma,” they said.

Ma flashed them a weak smile. “Good morning, girls. Laura, could you put your coat on and go tell your Pa that breakfast will be ready in a few minutes?”

Laura did as she was told. Some days she didn’t feel like doing chores or being a messenger, but today she wouldn’t complain at all. She needed to be on her best behavior to make the day as easy on Ma and Pa as possible.

When she entered the barn, Pa raked the same spot over and again. “Morning, Pa.” 

Charles startled as if he had been deep in thought. “Morning, Half-pint.”

“Ma asked me to tell you breakfast will be ready in a few minutes?”

“Thanks, Laura.” Pa smiled, but his eyes didn’t twinkle the way they usually did.

As Laura strolled out of the barn, puffy white flakes of snow fell from the sky. “Look, Pa, it’s snowing!” She couldn’t hold back her excitement. She loved the first snow of the year.

“You best be getting your chores done early,” he said. “Looks like we are due for a good storm.”

“I will.” Laura raced back to the house to share the news with her sisters. 

Mary held Carrie up to the front window so she could peek outside at the falling snow. Carrie squirmed with glee. Laura and Mary chatted about how many inches they might get and how fun it would be. They didn’t notice the volume of their voices.

“Girls,” said Ma, sharply. “Please put Carrie in her highchair and set the table. Pa will be in in just a minute.” She turned back to the stove.

Laura and Mary stared at each other. Ma rarely raised her voice and hardly ever spoke in anger. Already, Laura had broken the promise she made to herself to be on her best behavior. She should have been more respectful.

“Yes, ma’am,” the girls said before doing exactly as they were told.

The front door opened. Pa walked in and removed his hat and coat. Without a word, he picked up the coffee pot and poured the hot liquid into a cup. Then he sat in his chair at the kitchen table.

Just as quietly, Ma dished out his breakfast. Her gaze lowered, she filled everyone’s plate before filling her own and sitting down.

“Laura, would you say grace please?” asked Ma.

She didn’t always know what to say, but today Laura wondered if she was supposed to mention her little brother. Would it be appropriate? Would it make Ma cry? Worse, would Ma or Pa be angry? Laura decided to just thank God for their food and for all their blessings. She swallowed hard before saying, “Amen.” She opened her eyes and looked from Ma to Pa, who picked up their forks and ate their food in silence.

The day dragged on forever. Laura and Mary did their chores with Carrie alongside them. Laura read Carrie a story and tucked her in for a nap. Then she joined Mary in the loft. Mary lay on their bed reading a book of poems by Oliver Wendell Holmes that Miss Beadle lent her, so Laura decided to sit at their desk and worked on her arithmetic homework. She found arithmetic so much easier than history. If you could remember the formula, you could solve any problem. With history, you had to remember all different kinds of dates and events.

When she heard Carrie rustling in her bed, Laura whispered to Mary, “Let’s get our coats and hats and take Carrie out to play in the snow.”

Mary glanced out their window. “There must be four or five inches out there by now. Carrie will love it.”

After asking Ma’s permission, Laura and Mary helped Carrie into her warm coat, her knitted hat, and a pair of red mittens before putting on their things. They walked outside as quietly as they could, but Laura’s heart skipped as her boots landed in the fluffy white snow. They made a point to play away from the house, so their laughing wouldn’t disturb Ma or Pa.

Carrie found it hard to walk and run in the snow with her little legs. When she fell for the third time, she crossed her arms over her chest and pursed her lips.

“Hey, let’s make snow angels,” said Mary.

“Yeah, that would be fun,” replied Laura. “Carrie, do you want to make a snow angel?”

Immediately, Carrie’s smile dimpled her cheeks. “Snow angel,” she said.

“Okay,” said Mary. “Lay down in the snow.” After she gave Carrie that instruction, Laura and she laid down to show Carrie what she meant. “Now, keep your legs straight and raise your arms over your head.” Mary and Laura did that, and Carrie copied them. “Now, you move your legs out and in and move your arms down and up like this.” Carrie mimicked her older sisters. When Mary and Laura stopped, Carrie stopped, too.

“Don’t move,” Laura warned Carrie. 

Mary stood up first, followed by Laura. Then the two girls lifted up Carrie. Their baby sister’s eyes widened as she looked upon the three snow angels.

“I wanna make a snow angel for baby Charles,” said Carrie.

Mary’s and Laura’s mouths dropped open. Laura wondered what would make her think of their baby brother.

Laura picked up Carrie and held her in between Mary and her. “That is so nice, Carrie. What made you think of baby Charles?”

Carrie nibbled on her bottom lip. “Mama said baby Charles was in heaven, and heaven has angels.”

 Mary and Laura hugged their baby sister. Laura hoped she would remember this moment the next time Carrie aggravated her.

“Do you think you can make a snow angel all by yourself this time?” asked Mary. 

Carrie nodded. Laura put her down and Carrie sat in the snow right next to her first snow angel. With a little extra help from Mary and Laura, she made another snow angel. Laura and Mary helped her up and they all looked down on the four snow angels.

The snow had lightened to flurries while they played. Laura figured it must almost be time for Pa to come out and feed the horses. The three girls walked to the front door and stomped off their feet before heading inside.

Carrie raced over to Pa, who sat at the kitchen table wiping down his fiddle. Laura didn’t expect that he would play tonight, but she always enjoyed watching him as he lovingly care for his instrument.

“Come see my snow angels, Papa. Come see my snow angels,” said Carrie.

Ma glanced at them from her rocking chair, where she darned one of Pa’s socks. “Your cheeks are as red as cherries, Carrie. You must be cold.”

Carrie shook her head. “Not cold. Come see the snow angels.” 

Pa shrugged at Ma and they both put down what they were doing. Ma grabbed her shawl before stepping outside followed by Pa, who held Carrie in his arms.

“Those are some pretty snow angels,” said Pa.

Ma crinkled her nose in confusion. “Why are there four of them?”

Laura was about to answer, but she saw Carrie raise her arm, so she didn’t speak.

“Mary, Laura, me, and baby Charles,” said Carrie as she pointed at each one.

Laura saw Ma’s eyes fill with tears. When she looked at Pa, his lower lip trembled, as if he was trying not to cry.

Ma kissed Carrie’s cheek. “How nice of you to remember your baby brother in heaven.”

Pa’s arm encircled Ma’s waist.

“Ma?” said Laura. “Do they celebrate birthdays in heaven?”

The gentle smile that usually greeted Laura in the morning shone across Ma’s face. “I don’t know, Laura, but isn’t it nice to think of your brother having a party with God and his angels today?”

The thought of baby Charles having a heavenly party sounded so much better to Laura than remembering him as the little brother she lost. Even if she knew she would see him again one day, that seemed like such a long time away.

“I am going to think of baby Charles having parties in heaven whenever I feel sad that he isn’t here.”

“That sounds like a great idea, Half-pint.”

The snow had stopped, and the sun broke through the clouds, making the snow sparkle like a sea of diamonds. Laura and Mary gasped. 

“How pretty!” they said.

“Pretty,” repeated Carrie.

Pa, Ma, Mary, and Laura laughed. Laura found the sound of Ma’s and Pa’s laughter soothing after the sad day they endured. She raised her gaze to the sky as the sun continued to shine. Thank you, God, for this special gift on my brother’s birthday.

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos – All Rights Reserved.