Book – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

(Some Spoilers) Now this is about the fourth time I’ve read this first book in Montgomery’s series about a wonderful orphan named “Anne with an e, if you won’t call me Cordelia.” I remembered it was good, but I had forgotten just how good it was. The description, as with the Wilder books, takes you right to that place and time with real living people, a skill many others writers strive for without achieving. The only thing that marred it for me was that I remembered Matthew died, but I didn’t remember exactly how close to the end it was so the whole second half of the book I was expecting him to die any minute which was a horrible strain. To avoid that yourself, it’s two days after Anne comes home from Queens Normal School having graduated. That aside I would highly recommend this as the best of Montgomery’s writing. When I first heard of it, it was pitched as a cross between “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and the “Little House” books. I was intrigued and it really is a fairly good description of this book and the entire series. Anyone who likes either of those will like Anne. Second best by Montgomery, I love “The Blue Castle” and except for the big coincidence at the end, it’s a great read. I’ve read it almost as many times as Anne. I should also mention that “Rilla of Ingleside” the last book in the Anne series is also the best depiction of the World War I homefront I’ve ever read and one of the best homefront books of any war. If you read and stopped with Anne, you owe it to yourself to at the very least jump to the end and read Rilla.

There’s a whole Montgomery World now with the original movie from the 1930s (filmed at a historic house, but not in Canada) out on DVD which starred Anne Shirley (the actress legally changed her name and kept it, see her also in the tear jerker “Stella Dallas”), the Sullivan productions (the first movie was near perfect, the second two weren’t, and the Avonlea series (one live action and one cartoon). On top of that there is a regular newsletter (“Kindred Spirits”), a yearly conference, and many publications both scholarly and not about Montgomery and her work. Come and take a look inside Montgomery’s world.

Sarah Uthoff

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Get Fuzzy Comic

As Laura read one chapter of the serial at a time to make it last, I read all the comics on the newspaper page whether I like them or not. Usually Get Fuzzy is in the not column, but once in awhile there’s a great one.

A recent strip explored the fact that rennet is in cheese. It came as quite a shock, so I guess he never read Little House in the Big Woods.

http://www.gocomics.com/getfuzzy/2005/06/03

My favorite all time strip from them was when Satchel, the dog, sets up an information center about his favorite author and Bucky, the cat, tells him that this is what it’s come down to he’s making shrines to people now. I have to remember that, “It’s NOT a shrine, it’s a media information center.” 😉 Because that doesn’t sound familiar at all.

UPDATED August 12 2017: I still love this comic to death. In fact when the link was dead I spent quite a bit digging for a current link. I did a couple of edits, turned the paraphrase into a quote and added my current 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 is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+,   LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

A Friend Has Passed Away

Bob Brimacomb, husband of Ferneva Brimacomb, the former director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa, passed away very suddenly recently. He was often around the museum giving a hand, keeping the Laura Days running smoothly, and building several things for the museum. Bob was in short, a great guy and a fellow Laura person. He was supposed to come on the museum trip to Malone next month and he will surely be missed then and ever after. Leave your consoldences here:

www.fjelstul.com

Read his obituary here:

http://www.austindailyherald.com/articles/2007/08/10/obituaries/156obits.txt

The obituary doesn’t indicate where the memorial money should be sent, but I sent a donation to the Burr Oak Museum in memory of Bob, and I urge you do the same.

 Sarah Uthoff

Change for Dates for Walnut Grove Pageant in 2008

Nicole Elzenga of the Walnut Grove museum just made the following announcement.

“The Wilder Pageant the Pageant Committee decided last night to drop the Sundays of the pageant dates. This will give the actors a day off break before returning the work week. This may encourage more actors to try-out.

The 2008 Wilder Pageant Dates
Fridays & Saturdays only
July 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26

Be sure to write the dates down to start planning your 2008 trips.”

Sarah

Hoover Library – Mysteries of History

I finally made it over to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday night. Now through August every Wednesday night admission is free from 5-8 and you can view on their big screen an episode of the best Dick Tracy serial.

I had been really looking forward to seeing this exhibit and I’m glad that I finally made it over. I will definitely be back before it ends. The Hoover Museum exhibits are original and if you don’t see them there you won’t see them anywhere else. Among the many, many things to see were Amelia Earhart’s jacket, casts of big foot prints, a piece of a flag sewn by Betsy Ross, and a gun identical to the one that Oswald used. There was also stuff melted by the Great Chicago Fire and items from the Dallas doctor that should have preformed the autopsy on JFK. Not to mention that Marilyn Monroe’s swimsuit is making a return appearence. I was surprised that whether Rose Wilder Lane really wrote the Little House books or not wasn’t included (she didn’t, but it would have been a great excuse to show some of the papers that Hoover houses), but other than that I really enjoyed it. It was also a chance to remember the Oklahoma City bombing victims and see on TV all over again the Twin Towers fall. As I said, I’m going back before it ends and I think you should too. 😉

I’d also like to mention that this fall will see the return of a long time staple the two day Hoover symposium. It had been sorely missing in recent years, one of the last being the highly successful 1998 conference on Laura Ingalls Wilder. However, this fall it will return again with the topic of Iowa baseball. I can’t clear my schedule for the dates in August, but if you can you should go and tell them what topic you would like to see next year!

Sarah Uthoff

Live from Prairie Lights – Letters to a Young Iowan

I recently got an essay published in a collection called Letters to a Young Iowan. Mine was one that was addressed to a famous person who once lived in Iowa (Laura Ingalls Wilder) and I was asked to do a reading with several other people on a local NPR radio show called “Live from Prairie Lights” (a local, high quality, independent book store). The real audio link is now up at
http://wsui.uiowa.edu/prairie_lights.htm

for the show from May 25th. Take a listen. ;-)Sarah Uthoff

Ferry Ride

The MIchigan shore
View from High Speed Express Ferry Coming into Michigan

I have wanted to try the Express Ferry across Lake Michigan for a long time. I hate to drive through Chicago and this is a way around that.  Today I finally got to. It was the high speed ferry, Express Ferry, between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Muskegeon, Michigan. It took about two hours and was very well organized. It didn’t really save any time, but it was very enjoyable. It was kind of a choppy day and a couple of people felt sick, but I felt fine. Get there early. It was fairly easy to find the terminal to get on. It was more expensive than I was hoping, but I enjoyed it.

http://www.lake-express.com

UPDATED May 9 2018: I added my current signature block and the photo which is from the time of the original post.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.