Brian Allen Reports on Pioneer Girl

June 22, 2015

 Brian Allen is a reporter for KSFY in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Allen had previously been surprised when an assignment on genealogy revealed he was distantly related to Laura Ingalls Wilder. He followed the trail to both Walnut Grove, Minnesota and De Smet, South Dakota.

Family Research:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/family-tree-hunt

Allen’s story focuses on the unprecedented success of the annotated version of Pioneer Girl. He interviews Nancy Tystad Koupal of the South Dakota State Historical Society Press. Next stop is the Ingalls Homestead where he interviews Ann Lesch. See the video and the transcript at the link below.

http://www.ksfy.com/home/headlines/The-enduring-success–of-Pioneer-Girl-304469001.html

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Wedding Reception Aprons

June 20, 2015

trundlebedtales:

Still looking for more dated apron photos. Do you have any?

Originally posted on Sarah's Notebook:

Shower Aprons 1969

One of my continuing interests is in aprons. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do too much on them although I’ve gotten some articles, books, and images from women’s magazines. I’m still looking for dated photos of people wearing aprons. Here’s another dated find. This is from my parents’s wedding reception.

This photo shows another class of aprons. This example is matching aprons for a special occasion like a wedding shower or reception. Usually these were frothy, decorative creations that were never meant to really protect clothes or last long. Note the aprons on about half the women at this wedding reception from 1969. Please share any dated apron photos you have.

UPDATE April 18, 2015: I added my signature block and did a little editing for clarification.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination…

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Underground Railroad Summit

June 18, 2015
Passing along word about an Iowa history event. Iowa has a proud tradition about the Underground Railroad. Learn more about it here at Trundlebed Tales:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/iowa-and-the-ugrr
And then learn even more at the summit. -SSU

Attend Underground Railroad workshop at Preserve Iowa Summit 

Winterset – June 27 
Discover the history of the Underground Railroad in Iowa and explore the Hitchcock House in Lewis during the third annual Preserve Iowa Summit in Winterset June 25-27.The UGRR workshop will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, June 27, and is part of the summit registration package. Individuals may also register for the workshop separately. The keynote speaker is Matthew Pinsker, the Pohanka Chair of  Civil War History at Dickinson College, who will also lead a presentation about online teaching and research resources. A second presentation will focus specifically on the history of the UGRR in Madison County.The “2015 Preserve Iowa Summit: The Power of Presentation” is the premier statewide annual conference for historic preservation in Iowa and is coordinated by DCA’s State Historic Preservation Office and the Madison County Historic Preservation Commission. Register on-line for the entire summit or the UGRR workshop through June 19.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Building Update

June 14, 2015

trundlebedtales:

An update to my Laura Ingalls Wilder Building Update. There have been some changes, for instance I had to move the Jacks to a larger display case, but this gives you a good idea of what my building is like.

Originally posted on Sarah's Notebook:

IMG_0040 Jacks

The number one question I’ve been getting lately is when am I going to show photos of the Laura Ingalls Wilder building that I keep talking about. The number two question is what is my Laura Ingalls Wilder building?

Find a more complete answer  about “What is my Laura Ingalls Wilder buiding” here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/laura-building-part-1

But basically it’s a building with the dual purpose of holding my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection and providing workspace for my Laura related projects. A few other things, like my mother’s cookbook collection, have snuck in as well.

Mix of Laura Dolls Mix of Laura Dolls

Still Under Construction

So I have been hesitant to put up photos because it’s not finished and it changes every day. Plus it has a lot of construction debris still around. (I mean that literally – lumber, left over insulation, every tool my brother ever touched, etc., etc.) So I’ve been trying to…

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In the Kitchen With Laura Wringer Washer

June 12, 2015

In the Kitchen With Laura, both the program and the blog post series, continue to be very popular. I really enjoy them too, so watch for more.

Throwback Photo - Washing Demonstration at Ushers Ferry Historic Village

Sarah and Derek Throwback Photo – Washing Demonstration at Ushers Ferry Historic Village

In today’s post we remember that has Laura said the kitchen is where the barnyard and house meet in pitched battle. In other words, there is generally a lot more going on in a kitchen than just preparing food. One of those things that was either done in the kitchen in bad weather or on a porch or other area just outside the kitchen in good weather is washing. I’m also helping people that Laura didn’t stop living just where she left her books. She kept learning new things and getting new products as they came out. The one on the back porch of Rocky Ridge is older than the model I’m demonstrating here; mostly like a separate small engine would have powered hers, but this will give you an idea how washing was done.

The video above demonstrates how to use a mid-20th century wringer washer with an internal motor. The demonstration includes:

  • how to load the machine
  • how to start the agitator
  • how to work the wringer
  • what to do if something pulls you into the wringer
  • how to drain the washer

Previous models like the one displayed on Laura’s back porch were worked either by hand action on a lever or by a small engine that was used to drive a flywheel.

So watch the video and get ready to wash the clothes In the Kitchen With Laura.

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Have a Coke With Me Caroline

June 10, 2015

If you are unfamiliar with it, last summer Coke kicked off an extremely simple, but incredibly effective marketing campaign. On individual serving bottles they started printing labels with names. The idea is to support conversations between users to get Coke on social media, plus straight out get people to buy more with friends and families names. Last year when I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota I saw they had collected the named bottles for our favorite sisters Mary, Laura, and Carrie.

Caroline Coke Bottle

Caroline Coke Bottle

I saw this as a thrown down gantlet. This summer my goal is to get the whole Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura, Carrie, Grace, Jack, and heck let’s throw Manly on the list. My first success was Caroline. Please take photos of your bottles and tag me in on Facebook and Twitter @TrundlebedTales.

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Patch Podcast

June 7, 2015

trundlebedtales:

This post needed some updating. They really haven’t changed the meat of the program, but they change the details every couple of years. They also change their links regularly so for now anyway in June 2015 we’re up to date and I’m sure I’ll come back to update it again in future.

Originally posted on Sarah's Notebook:

Quilt Square Session at Ushers Ferry

Learn about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Patch offered by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, Inc. (formerly the Mississippi Valley Girl Scout Council) in the latest Trundlebed Tales Podcast.

Episode 31 – Laura Ingalls Wilder Patch
Originally aired April 28, 2012
Join host Sarah Uthoff as she talks about her experience with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Girl Scout Patch. This program will be aimed at Laura fans who want to know more, Girl Scouts and their families who are considering earning the patch, and for people who may wish to set a workshop in their area.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2012/04/28/ep-31-laura-ingalls-wilder-patch

Episode 9 – Take a Bite Out of History: Biscuits
Follow along with the basic food history information given to the Girl Scouts for the “prairie meal” part of their patch workshop at Ushers Ferry.
Laura Ingalls Wilder meets historic foodways when host Sarah…

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Pageant Travel Advice

June 5, 2015

It’s pageant travel time, the time of year when you can visit all three of the current Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageants and the new Mary Ingalls Pageant in Vinton, Iowa. I’ve certainly come a long way since my very first time when my mother surprised me for my birthday with a trip to the Walnut Grove pageant for the whole family. (I didn’t know anything about it, we were supposed to be visiting western Wisconsin and then she added another two days.) But she hadn’t done enough research. Other than the museum and the pageant itself we didn’t have a clue what to do. We still had a great time, but I wish I’d known what I know now, so here you have my best pageant travel advice.

Woman in Vest is Adult Laura Narrator

Woman in Vest is Adult Laura Narrator

Which Pageant?

Your first decision is what pageant or pageants to visit. It really isn’t a case where if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. I would recommend that any trip that you plan to include either Walnut Grove or De Smet also include the other if at all possible, but be sure to match your dates correctly. De Smet includes Sunday night performances, Walnut Grove doesn’t. To put it loosely, Walnut Grove’s pageant is more Hollywood with lots of neat special effects and a real drama, De Smet’s pageant is like eavesdropping on the Ingalls family and it rotates through telling the story of one of the books set in De Smet each year, and Mansfield’s pageant is a musical. Vinton’s Mary pageant is just getting off the ground, but gives you a nice look at what it was like for Mary to attend the College for the Blind. Check out my tips below for each specific pageant.

Fragments of a Dream aka The Walnut Grove Pageant

Check in to the night’s hotel or bed and breakfast or camp grounds before you go out to the pageant grounds because you don’t want to be hunting for your place to stay in the dark. At the Walnut Grove pageant you want a reserved ticket. You can still buy them at the gate, but reserved seats come with a folding chair and a place close to the stage. They also offer general admission tickets, but with them it’s bring your own blanket or chair and find your own spot on the hillside. I sometimes buy a second reserved seat just to be sure of a little room (the chairs are welded together), but either way the chairs are the best option. I personally like to eat at the community center in town about a block away from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (service groups arrange them as fundraisers and they call them pageant suppers), but there are two other restaurants in town if you prefer. On the pageant grounds itself you can get high school sports concession stand type food (hot dogs, popcorn, etc).

The best public restrooms in town are at the museum proper, so I’d go there before heading out. If lines are long there, you can also use the bathrooms at the community center where the pageant dinners are held. If you still find lines, try two blocks away from the museum at the gas station on Highway 14. It’s a little farther, but definitely within walking distance although you may want just to drive over while you have to move your car between the museum and the pageant grounds anyway. Even when the town is incredibly busy people tend to forget about them so even during the 40th Anniversary event when the town was bursting at the seams I didn’t find lines there. At the pageant grounds the bathrooms are behind the concession stand with the doors facing towards the seating area.

Be sure to get a program when you come in, but if you miss one they give out programs and sell other souvenirs at a small stand across from the concession stand. The show starts with the pageant singers who are a local singing group, but sometimes they have a celebrity speaker, etc. before the show. I’ve heard advice from local people to nip in right before the pageant proper starts, but I normally go early to take in the whole show. Once the pageant starts especially watch for the early scene with all the live animals and then watch for the house to flip around 180 degrees and for them to build the church.

From Highway 14 if you turn on the main road toward the museum heading south, take the first right (now heading west) and then the first paved left (now heading south again) out about a mile and half or so from town.The parking lots have named rows with signs with the Ingalls family names to find your place. Going back you can mostly follow the crowd, but watch for intersections because people peel off when you don’t want to and there are several gravel roads that feed into the paved ones so it’s easy to think the road you are on continues when actually the pavement ends and it’s gravel there on out and you should have turned instead.

I recommend pants and taking along a sweatshirt and bug spray, but the last year I went it fooled me it was so hot and I had to take the sweatshirt off again, so you don’t know. Dressing in or bringing along layers are the key. Weather can also be a bit unpredictable, but don’t worry the organizers keep an eye on any severe weather that might threaten and have a plan to deal with it.

Walnut Grove Pageant FAQs (from pageant organization, with some improvements from me):
http://beyondlittlehouse.com/2013/10/09/walnut-grove-pageant-faqs

Get More Information:
http://www.walnutgrove.org/pageant.htm

Purchase Tickets:
http://www.wilderpageant.org/store

Find them on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Walnut-Grove-Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-Pageant/98564780126?fref=ts

De Smet Pageant

In De Smet the pageant grounds are right outside of town on the east end of town between Highway 14 and the Ingalls Homestead. The signage is good and you should see it right away. The only reason to buy reserved seats in De Smet is if you want to pay by credit card. You can do that up at the Ingalls Homestead before gate time. Otherwise just buy tickets when you pull your car in. They have wooden benches set up, but bring a lawn chair and set it up down front. The benches are spaced to allow a row of chairs in between so you can sit your chair pretty much wherever you want, but be sure to honor any space they have blocked out down in front of the stage area.

They give you a newspaper about the pageant and do a roll call of states, so yell loud for Iowa. They have different events going on to keep you busy before the pageant. They have stand up wagon rides, a display of some kind (old farming machinery, a model of the town, twisting hay – different things on different years), and a giftshop called the What Not Shop which has some unique Laura stuff take a look. They also give you a free ticket for the wagon ride (I usually give mine to a kid, although I do admire their on and off the wagon system so watch them load and unload). The wagon has no seats and the sides hit me about mid-thigh. When you’re on the outside it can feel like you’re going to fall off, although as far as I know they haven’t had an accident. Riding once was enough for me. Since they are shorter the sides keep the kids in fine. Look out for their stick your head through photo board and stop by the concession stand and ask if they are giving out free posters. They generally have extras, but you specifically have to ask.

Audience Volunteers Participate in Pageant

Audience Volunteers Participate in Pageant

They have the same kind of concession stand food available as Walnut Grove, but again you might want to eat in town. They have a country club (good but slow service) and a Dairy Queen and a Subway (the Subway has the best iced tea in town). Plus the Oxbow which is family restaurant that has been catering to Laura fans for decades. The Oxbow also honors the PBS discount card if you have one. I must give a shout out though to the creative additions the pageant concession stand made lately. In 2013 they had Long Winter Snow Cones and in 2014 they offered These Happy Golden Years wedding cakes (they were Little Debbie type things, but A for effort!). Take along the same clothes, bug stuff etc. as Walnut Grove, but more bug stuff, it’s right by a slough. Also, don’t forget the lawn chairs and/or blanket.

De Smet Pageant FAQs:
http://www.desmetpageant.org/faq.html

Learn more:
http://www.desmetpageant.org/

Find them on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/DeSmetPageant?fref=ts

Mansfield Pageant

The Mansfield pageant is unique in several ways. It has the best seating with back support (no need for folding chairs here). It is a musical. Frankly, I think the songs are better than in the Little House on the Prairie: The Musical. I came out of the Mansfield pageant singing and can still do a bit of a song or two.I came out of Little House on the Prairie: the Musical being wowed by their staging which was great, but with not a single tune in my head. Staging is not the first thing you want to think of when you come to a musical.

Mansfield Pageant

Mansfield Pageant

Laura’s Memories tells the story of Laura’s entire life as a series of musical flashbacks. They bookend them with scenes of older Laura talking to an unidentified woman, but clearly references the only known recording of Laura’s voice. They don’t want anyone to have to learn too many pages so they swap out who plays what role a couple of times during the performance which can be a little confusing until you figure that out.  The pageant grounds are located right by the high school connected with Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary with you entering through the park. Reserved seats aren’t required here either.

Learn More:
http://www.laurasmemories.com

Their Facebook presence is a closed group that is more designed for participants than attendees.

Mary Ingalls Pageant

The pageant that is newest on the block is the Mary Ingalls Pageant which was first held last summer. It tells the familiar story with a different twist, sharing Mary’s point of view rather than Laura’s. While the beginning follows the familiar story, the middle shares what it was like to be a student at the Iowa School for the Blind. This section was constructed with help from alumni of the school to make sure it accurately reflected the experience. That was my favorite part and it ends with a reenactment of Mary’s graduation in the very place where it really happened (note that the auditorium has been expanded since then, but still). The final part picks up Mary’s life in De Smet after the school based heavily on “Grandpa’s Fiddle” by Rose Wilder Lane as published in The Little House Sampler, William T. Anderson, editor. It really gives you a better feel for this time in the Ingalls Family lives as well. I strongly recommend you visit this pageant.

The pageant is held at the Iowa School for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa. There are a couple of motels in Vinton and a much larger selection in Cedar Rapids, an easy drive away. There are plenty of restaurants in town, including a McDonalds and some nicer places as well. No food is sold at the pageant. One of the most difficult parts of the location is the lack of nearby parking. The next door parking lot is incredibly small, but several nearby businesses including the elementary school have agreed to open their lots. Volunteers are available to drive up attendees on golf carts, giving you car to door service.

Unlike the other pageants this one takes place inside so most of the things listed for take alongs don’t apply. I did however bring a pillow to sit on which I was very grateful for, but no one else in my group seemed to have any issues, so that’s totally optional. Most of the seating is unpadded auditorium style chairs and folding chairs. Be aware that there is also seating in the balcony overlooking the stage through the staircases on either side of the auditorium doors inside the door of the auditorium. Unfortunately their location close to the inside of the doors of the auditorium proper can lead to congestion at high people traffic times.

You want to get there early because most people seemed to aim for door opening and the place was full to bursting already the first night when I got there at about 6:15 pm. People also didn’t seem to move around much once they got a seat despite various activities which makes it harder for everyone to get in and out of rows even if you wanted to. Outside the doors to the auditorium is the main hallway which is abundantly large at most times, but got terribly clogged both before the play started and after it ended. Be patient and hang out in your seats or talk to other fans before trying to push through. Bathrooms are down the hall from the auditorium. If your back is to the front door entrance of the building and you are facing the doors to the auditorium, the women’s room is on the left side and the men’s room is on the right. The doors to each are around the corner were where the hall quits following the interior wall of the auditorium, makes a turn, and heads off down the wings.

Reviewing the Basics

  • Bring Bug Spray
  • Dress in Layers or Bring Jackets and Blankets or Both
  • I’ve decided to add a pillow to my bring alongs, maybe I’m just getting old, but these benches and chairs are getting HARD.
  • For Walnut Grove, make reservations for both tickets and lodging as soon as possible.
  • For De Smet, bring along a lawn chair and/or a blanket.
  • You may want to eat or go to the bathroom before you head out to the pageant grounds.
  • For Vinton, remember you’ll be inside, but you’ll probably be hot. There is air conditioning, but it really isn’t designed for that large a crowd. Come early and plan on mostly staying in your seat once you’ve gotten one.

Road Trips for Readers wrote a recent post about pageant travel and quoted me extensively. Read that here:
http://www.roadtripsforreaders.com/2015/06/pageant-time-lauras-still-on-the-prairie

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Wanted Iowa School for the Blind History

June 3, 2015

Braille School Cup 2 It’s been a lot of work but the museum for the Iowa School for the Blind is coming together. The third floor museum was first assembled for the 150th anniversary of the school. It was heavily damaged by the straight line winds and following rainstorm a few years ago. Since then the Iowa School for the Blind and Sight Saving School Mary Ingalls Society has been formed and has been working on preserving and sharing not only the story of its most famous alumnus, but also the story of the school as a whole.

Old Main, the original building on campus, is still active as it’s used as the administrative headquarters for services sent to mainstreamed K-12 blind students across the state. Part of the building is also rented out (with more room available if you are looking for a place to set up a business or nonprofit in Vinton) and part is now used as museum space. The Founders Room is right next to the front door and was traditionally used a place to display history and serve as a place for current and prospective students to connect with the school history. In recent years, it had instead been used as an office. The Mary Ingalls Society is grateful that the Founders Room has been returned as the first floor presence of the museum. It now is home to some of the books with Mary’s records and blow ups of the relevant pages for everyone to see.

The Mary Ingalls Society has been working on examining what records and history remain in the school’s collections. However, they are hoping to share more of the story of the school from the beginning to the to the present. We’re hoping that you can contribute to the exhibits.

  • Did you ever attend, teach at, or visit the Iowa School for the Blind?
  • Do you have something that would fit in the blind school collection?
  • Do you have technology or books that are obsolete or out of date?
  • Do you have photos or documents that relate to the school that you would consider donating, loaning, or making us a copy?
  • Or do you have anything related to Mary Ingalls, either real or fictional? For example, we’d love to have a collection of Mary Ingalls dolls from various places.

Consider sharing them with the school. Remember there is still time to get a commemorative 1st edition Iowa School for the Blind calendar and to block out August 1,2,3, 2015 to make sure you can attend this year’s pageant.

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

June 2015 Trundlebed Tales Presentations

June 1, 2015

PresentingOnly one program scheduled for June. I hope I see you there!

  • Oskaloosa Public Library – Oskaloosa, IA – General Laura Ingalls Wilder program –  June 23, 2015 3:00pm

But even if there isn’t a program scheduled near you, it’s not too late. If you’d like me to come present near you make sure to tell your local library, museum or civic group. I’m really excited about my “In the Kitchen With Laura” program for this summer. If you are looking for a program, check them out.  Learn more here:
http://www.trundlebedtales.com/programs.html

And check out my brochure:
Brochure2014pg1

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.


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