Wednesday, June 25, 2014

These Happy Golden Years

Finished These Happy Golden Years, the eighth book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's series. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 1944. Laura is fifteen now and teaching school in the Brewster settlement. She boards with the Brewsters in the tiny claim shanty. Mrs. Brewster is a bit mad. She is bitter and resentful of the family's situation and does not like having Laura in the house. She is a miserable, even dangerous person. This is all so shocking to Laura who has only ever had Ma and Pa's firm but kind example. Laura dreads the weekends in the house with this family, but is rescued from the situation by Almanzo Wilder, who travels the twelve miles each way, twice every weekend, to bring her home and then back to the settlement for her next week of teaching.

The money Laura earns from teaching goes to pay for Mary's attendance at The College for the Blind. Thankfully her teaching assignment is only two months long. Laura is surprised when Almanzo invites her for sled and buggy rides and to attend singing school with him. Laura works for a seamstress, Mrs. McKee, and lives with her and her children one summer on the McKee's claim to help out and keep her company. Mary comes home from college for a visit. She is a grown young woman now, with many accomplishments, despite her blindness.

After three years of courting, Almanzo proposes to Laura and she accepts. He builds them a house to live in and they marry in a hurry to prevent his mother and sister descending upon them to insist on a big church wedding. Ma helps Laura make clothes and linens for her new home. Almanzo and Laura are quietly married and drive away to their own little house on the prairie.

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