Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Long Winter

Finished The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 1941. There is no telling how many times I have read this book, or the whole series for that matter, but it's been about 17 years since I last read it, aloud, to my then four year old daughter. I chose to revisit the book since we ourselves were having a long, hard winter here in Michigan and it just seemed like the right thing to do.

I remembered many details of the book, set in the winter of 1880-81: the twisting of hay to burn as fuel, the hole in the wall that hid Almanzo's secret seed wheat, the scarcity of food, and the relentless blizzards. What I did not remember are the now terrifying side effects of it all, the emaciation of the whole family and the resulting brain fog. I think as a child it didn't really register. You knew it was a hard time, but the direness of it was what really stood out with this reading. What a relief when it finally ended with the spring thaw in May 1881.

Meanwhile it's April 15th, 2014. We broke the 1880 snowfall record last night, totaling 97" for this year. Enough already...