Rocky Ridge Farm – A Laura Ingalls Wilder Story
By T. L. Tedrow
Laura Ingalls Wilder is known and loved for her “Little House” books and the enduring television series made famous by the late Michael Landon. While millions of words were written in letters, diaries and newspaper articles describing the old West, few had the power to bring the experience alive like Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The American West was a settler’s experience, where men and their families went looking for opportunity in the vast new land. These brave people tamed the frontier, crossing the prairie in wagons, carrying furniture, seeds and guns, looking for a place to build a home.
The prairie pioneers and the millions of immigrants coming to America were looking for the same thing. They came with hopes to raise families, build farms and villages, churches and businesses. They came to work and be free. Free to do with their hands what was in their hearts.
To raise their family in their own house… in their own little house.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder story did not stop after the ninth book. It had just begun! She went on to become a pioneer journalist in Mansfield, Missouri where for 16 years she was a columnist for the farm family weekly, Missouri Ruralist.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, the self-taught journalist, spoke her mind about the environment, land abuse, preached women’s rights, lamented the consequences of war and observed the march of progress as cars, planes, radios and new inventions changed America forever.
In her newspaper writings she captures the spirit and growing pains of America at the turn of the century. Townspeople and their problems come alive. Places she visited are described so vividly that if you close your eyes, you are standing there with her.
She spoke her mind to awaken others with statements like: “It is a crime to wear out and ruin a farm and the farmer who does so is a thief stealing from posterity.”
Family problems, government hypocrisy, prejudice and the limitations on women’s opportunities were her rallying points. The need for education was a constant theme with statements like: “Among all the beautiful sights and sounds of Spring, there is an ugly blot on the landscape here and here, a sight that is unpleasantly out of harmony and shows as little promise for the future as a blighted tree. It is the presence of children at work in the fields when they should be in school.”
While this book is a fictional account of her exploits, it has been written with historical integrity using her columns, diary and notes, family background, personal beliefs and the general history of the times in which she lived. All Scripture is from the King James Version of the Bible.
I have tried to bring Laura Ingalls Wilder to life in such a way that she will inspire another generation as she has inspired me. The writing of this book has had a profound impact on my Spiritual life.
Though Laura Ingalls Wilder was born over a century ago, she is clearly speaking to each of us today.
T. L. Tedrow