Born with two older brothers and one younger brother, I was destined to be a tomboy. The “Little Girls” as we called them, the last two siblings born, were close in age and heart.
From an early age, I learned to throw like a boy, wrestle like a boy and work like a boy. OK, I wasn’t as tough as I thought I was, but I did get sent to the principal’s office once for beating up a bully on the playground.
I also threw a bully off the bus in high school for tormenting my little sisters. He coulda’ whooped my behind, but he had a momma’ who woulda’ whopped his,
so he conceded and the war was over.
I definitely related to Laura way better than Mary
as a child, and even more as an adult.
Whenever I read history about settling the west I was convinced I was born in the wrong generation. That is, until we spent one day cooking over an open fire, I kinda’ changed my mind in a hurry.
Women had it rough back then, working hard in SKIRTS. Long skirts with ridiculous undergarments. I know I would have been the rebel who wore
her brother’s clothes.
However, I still like to imagine life back then, and have loved the hands-on curriculum we’re using this year.
In Chapter 12 of Little House on the Prairie, Mr. Scott is passed out in the bottom of the well they’re digging because he didn’t test the air for poisonous gas.
It’s the first time we see Ma reacting strongly to danger. She’s usually calm and collected.
“I don’t want a well,” Ma sobbed. “It isn’t worth it. I won’t have you running such risks!”
She was willing to go without water rather than risk her husband’s life.
Pa went down to rescue the neighbor anyway and had to climb out
with the rope while holding his breath.
Our assignment: try to climb hand over hand.
See, I told ya’ the curriculum was hands-on!
We headed over to the neighbor’s swing set to test our skills. Like the Ingalls, we have good neighbors.
Beka’s climbing would be more proficient, I’m sure, if someone was dying, not dying of laughter.
Beka’s friend, Amanda, partner in pioneer adventures for the day, also was a good sport about rope climbing.
Since I won several blue ribbons for rope climbing, back in elementary school, folks, not the Olympics, I had to try.
Afterall, I’m almost 50 and always feel like I have something to prove.
Remembering how quickly I used to climb to the top of the gym, I attacked the rope with gusto.
At the top, I would sway above the mat, watching the scared kids below, their eyes sparkling in admiration and bask in my moment of glory.
I’ve definitely lost my touch.
Really lost my touch. I was swaying, and eyes were sparkling, but with hysterical laughter, not admiration. I proved that at least I have my memories.
But, if someone I loved, or someone I needed for survival, like one of my only neighbors, were dying at the bottom of a well, would I be able to save them?
The reality of what the Ingalls family lived through touches me more as an adult than it did as a child.
As a child, I was filled with dreams of fun and adventure.
As an adult, I see how their lives were constantly in danger.
Hand over hand, they clung to the rope of survival, and always managed to pull themselves to safety.