Laura Ingalls Wilder/Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
I’m in my favorite retreat spot this week, Randolph, New Hampshire, holed up in front of a vista of Mount Madison and Mount Adams, writing a preface for the paperback edition of Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books. And drafting a keynote speech for the Laurapalooza conference next month in Springfield, Missouri. Going to Missouri, near where Laura lived for six decades, fills me with excitement and trepidation. Rose Wilder Lane is not particularly remembered in her home state, and those who do know who she was do not remember her fondly. At all.
Laura’s and her daughter Rose’s legacies have never come back together in all the years since the two women lived and worked together in Missouri. Their last years of collaboration on the Little House books went on by mail. They didn’t see each other for a decade and a half, even though they worked together on eight books in the famous children’s series. Rose’s role in the work has never been a popular topic in the state where Laura lived. It was a secret for so long, and one that Laura herself never revealed, that I am certain my presence, let alone what I say in my speech, will rankle certain people.
Meanwhile, Arcade Publishing is bringing out a paperback edition of my book in the fall. I’m thrilled about this, even as I take myself back into the world of my book in order to write that preface.
Rain clouds slowly move across the tops of the two mountains. Just below the cloud, the velvety bright green/dark green of the flanks look almost fuzzy. Another small cloud sits just below King Ravine. The mountains tell me I don’t need to worry about what I will say. I already know it.