Life in Queens (the Most Diverse Borough of the Most Diverse City in the World)

Archive for May 3rd, 2014

Culture in the times of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Anyone whose known me as a child can vouch for the fact that I was utterly memorized and obsessed with the way of life described in the little house books. As a young child, I didn’t really understand that gas, indoor bathrooms, and heating were commodities that only recently became available to all. Living in the middle of the woods or the prairie with nothing surrounding you but nature seemed something almost unattainable in today’s world.

The first “little house” book started off when Laura was four years old: that was the same age I was when I begin reading it. She spoke of the excitement and longing to go into town and visit a small store and receive candy. Today, a simple walk down the street to the local deli would result in the same outcome but with a large lack of excitement from what was shown then. In the same way, a small family function of everyone gathering in a small house for dinner or a dance caused the same type of ruckus as it does today, but with a completely different reasoning. Our ice cream has no power over their creative desserts of maple syrup drizzled over clean, white snow.

I read the little house books without any hiatus. I quickly realized the double standard held for females versus males. Laura was an exception; she worked to help support her family, and even left school early to start teaching. She didn’t mind the grunt work that other women of the time claimed would “hurt their clear white skin” or “risk losing a bonnet”. At the age of 16, she was engaged. This baffled me, because at the age of sixteen, I was still quite childish (and still am!) I was in school at that time, and if I suggested to my parents that I live school to get married, I would’ve been in it for quite a lecture.

Regardless in the differences in culture, I actually wish that I had the chance to live and experience that time period: when food was not processed or artificially grown, when simple things resulted in real joy, and when nature was truly at your fingertips.

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