Melissa Wiley

Were you there at the Boston Commons?

Sarah's Notebook

I always love stories about Laura events even those I didn’t get to go to.

A recent find in the Lexis-Nexis database is an article in the Boston Globe from May 26, 1999.  It spells out what happened on “Little House By Boston Bay Appreciation Day” on Boston Commons.

It also has an interesting description of “Little House” spin-off book author Melissa Wiley. “In a gingham dress and sunbonnet, with braids hanging down her back, she began each morning hauling pails of water a half mile down a dusty path from the museum office to the little sod house where she gave talks for school groups. She churned butter, gathered buffalo chips for the fire and baked bread in an iron cookstove.”

Isn’t that a great description? Were you there?

UPDATED March 24 2017: I added my signature block, added a couple of sentences, and italicized the quote.

Sarah S…

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This American Life Radio Show

Revisiting DeSmet in 1999.

Sarah's Notebook


While searching for an image a few weeks ago, I accidentally pulled up the archive of This American Life out of WBEZ Chicago and their description of their August 20, 1999 episode (#137). The show has a theme each week and then presents four profile-type news stories that relate to the theme. The theme for this particular episode was “The Book That Changed Your Life.” In Act 4 “Little Sod Houses for You and Me,” Writer Meghan Daum goes to De Smet, South Dakota and finds it to be remarkably similar to what Meghan had pictured before she went: the people seem like they are genuinely trying to hold on to the values Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about in her books. (15 minutes)

This time capsule from 1999 features interviews with Tim and Joan Sullivan and Marian Cramer among others. While some things have changed, (in 1999 the pageant was still…

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Sharing a list of birthdays again.

Sarah's Notebook

Mary Pa At a recent program I was asked about birthdays of the Ingalls and Wilder Families. Here’s a list in chronological order below.

1813 – James Mason Wilder [Father Wilder] born near Milton, Vermont [January 26].

1821 – Angeline Day [Mother Wilder] born in Chateaugay, New York.

1836 – Charles Ingalls [Pa] born in Cuba, New York [Jan.11].

1839 – Caroline Quiner [Ma] born in Brookfield, Wisconsin [Dec. 12].

1844 – Laura Wilder born [June 15].

1847 – Royal Wilder born [February 20].

1850 –  Eliza Jane Wilder is born [January 1].

1853 – Alice Wilder born [September 3].

1857 – Almanzo James Wilder born in New York [Feb. 13].

1865 – Mary Amelia Ingalls born at Pepin, Wisconsin [Jan. 10].

1867 – Laura Elizabeth Ingalls born in Pepin, Wisconsin [Feb. 7]. Laura Birthday

 1869 – The final child of the James Wilder Family, Perley Day Wilder was born after Farmer Boy was…

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Arthur C. Clarke Dead at Age 90

Looking back to when we lost Arthur C. Clarke.

Sarah's Notebook

Arthur C. Clarke was a futurist and science fiction writer extraordinaire. Many of the future scientific developments he predicted came true. Read more about his accomplishments at this link:

However, I’ll remember him most for one of the best for the Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World TV show. Normally these types of shows have a fairly kumbaya feeling. He dug deep and found cases for what he was exploring that couldn’t easily be explained while doing his best to debunk them. The episode about ghosts was particularly good. None of this I felt a presence and was at peace stuff for him. Who can forget the classic line, “I forgot all about my little boy and ran down the stairs and wouldn’t go back for him until my neighbor went with me.” Now that sounds like someone who’s seen a ghost. 😉

So long Arthur C. Clarke and thanks!

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Laura and the Half-Pints

This is a huge update and rewrite to remind people that I’m onit like a bonnet. Are you?

Sarah's Notebook

I missed the debut of TV Land’s mockumentary “Laura and the Half-Pints.” I hadn’t seen it on their schedule when I found a reference to it being available on their website. I finally got it to see it. It’s funnier in concept than delievery, but I think “I’m on it like a bonnet” deserves to be a Laura fan catch phrase.

UPDATED March 4 2017

Laura and the Half Pints Screen Capture Laura and the Half Pints Screen Capture

“Laura and the Half-Pints” features a “band” in the style of “Spinal Tap” who feature prairie dresses and beards. All of them are named Laura. It’s a heavy metal band – with no fiddle. Their goal is “to bring the prairie to the people.” It’s strictly based on the TV show. Sadly the mockumentary quickly disappeared after its original roll out.

I was disappointed when it first came out because we didn’t have cable in 2006 when it came…

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Audubon County, Iowa

I couldn’t believe I finally got to see Albert the Bull.

Sarah's Notebook

The first half of my experiment worked, so I’ll be including photos a little bit more often from now on. The second half didn’t, but that will have to wait for another day.

Anyway, I was giving a program recently over in Audubon, Iowa and I wanted to let everyone know who much I enjoyed the trip. First, I should explain that we raise Hereford cattle (they are beef cattle, red with a white face, blaze down the back, belly, and stockings). So it’s long been a lifelong dream to see Albert the Bull, the largest Hereford in the world. This gigantic statue sits outside of Audubon in it’s own park. I thought I had seen some large cement Hereford bulls before (there is a lovely one in Minnesota on the way to Pepin), but I was wrong. They wouldn’t even look like calves next to Albert. He’s HUGE! The informational display…

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Conference Tweets on Twitter

Attend conferences via Twitter.

Sarah's Notebook

twitter I am quite taken with Twitter. I love the conversations I have there and I think they really add a lot to both conferences you attend and those you only wish you could. While I really think you should join, you DO NOT have to read the tweets that come out of a conference or any other event with a hashtag, I take you through step by step in my new video.

Find my Twitter feed here:

And as a bonus, check out this History of Hashtags (You Have to Sign in With Facebook):

UPDATED February 25 2017: I added a note, the Twitter logo, and updated my signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff…

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