And when that screenplay is produced, please let us know. I’m as much of a fanatic over the LIW series as you are, and I despised the tv show. There was enough adventure and excitement in those books to provide years’ worth of good scripts, yet Landon deviated from them so quickly, the story line became almost unrecognisable right from the start.
And The Long Winter is just about my favourite of the entire series–you’re absolutely right, it’s an American classic, it can stand alone, away from the other books in the series, it’s that good! – so I’d be especially interested in seeing it brought to television.
Did you ever notice how well kempt the girls hair was? Where did they find a hairdresser out in the middle of nowhere? And I guess Charles farmed all by himself while the girls all sat around and looked pretty. Course them four Cartwrights ran the hugh Ponderosa all by themselves too.
The worst inaccuracy of them all, (unthinkable even more in today’s PC world) was the kids walking to school.
In those days one of those older kids (probably a teen boy) would be packing a gun for protection. Very common on the frontier.
I’ll tell you what–I’ll work on it this winter, along with several other writing projects, and post it for all to read. That way, even if the screenplay is never optioned, you and other fans of Mrs. Wilder’s books can have the fun of doing a “play-reading” with your family and friends!
Yes, I know, someone will probably steal my screenplay and they’ll make the half-million dollars when a producer picks up the option. But lately, I’m pretty discouraged about selling my writing projects, and I’m beginning to think I should just throw all my stuff out on a blog somewhere and let people pick through it and enjoy whatever they like, sort of like a giant literary yard sale or smorgasboard! There’s a lot of variety, believe me. (e.g., I’ve written a screenplay about sex offenders).
I’ll play it safe and register it with Writer’s Guild before posting it, so I’ll at least have a little protection.
Here’s a challenge for those of you who are homeschooling your kids–assign them the project of writing a screenplay version of The Long Winter. You can check out or purchase good books that teach the specifics of writing a screenplay, and you can also find free software that automatically formats your writing into a screenplay. (Well worth it!) It’s a fun writing project and I think a lot of kids (teenagers) would enjoy it. Let’s see if any of the kidlets of the CAF members can write the next box office hit with Mrs. Wilder’s classic book! I personally don’t mind if someone else writes it first and gets it optioned, as long as they are faithful to her story.
That’s fascinating. I never read the books, although, like the Narnia series, keep “meaning” to (the road to hell and all, you know), but used to like the show a lot as a kid (now Cat’s ruined it for me, thanks a lot! :p). I never knew any boys who watched it or read the books. Seemed a “girly” thing, where I came from (midwest, late 70s early 80s).
Back to Andy Griffith, my Vinyard Sister-in-law (Charismatic/Evangelical, not Fundamentalist) also loves Andy Griffith. She was raised by Southern Baptists, though, so that might explain that, although my in-laws don’t really fall into the Fundamentalist category, either they’re more Evangelical (the aforementioned IFBaptist I debated actually left the Southern Baptists b/c she thought they were “too liberal” :eek: Of course, this woman was raised Lutheran, converted to Catholicism for 2 weeks because her fiance was Catholic, then “got saved” over the internet, so nothing really surprised me about her after learning that. But I digress…). Oh, my SIL also loves MASH, which can be rather irreverant, with sleeping around and drunkeness and all. So go figure :shrug:
Read Farmer Boy, which is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s story about her husband Almanzo’s growing-up. It’s ALL boy, all about horses and chores and eating watermelon and teasing sisters and snowball fights and walking to school and struggling to learn the arithmetic–it’s a wonderful story, an amazing record of country life in New York in the mid 1800s.
Keep in mind as you read Farmer Boy that it’s Laura’ “food fantasy!” The lush descriptions of lavish family meals in this book are almost decadent! Of course, the Wilder family had at least eight children and they were prosperous New York farmers, so there was a lot of food.
If you read between the lines of Mrs. Wilder’s other novels, you’ll realize that she and her family usually had very little to eat. There were Ma and Pa, and four girls to feed. (They also had a little brother who lived for only a few years, but he’s never mentioned in the children’s novels.)
Imagine eating corn meal mush every morning, month after month, and bean soup, potatoes, and sour-dough biscuits for lunch and dinner day after day after day. No vegetables (maybe a few in the summer). No fruit. No sweets.
It wasn’t a very exciting diet, nor was it was very plentiful. The Ingalls were quite poor, even though Mrs. Wilder’s books make them sound quite rich.
Laura talks about her mother’s cooking talents, but in reality, there was very little to cook. When you look at pictures of Laura and her family during their days in De Smet, North Dakota, you can see that the family is thin, too thin.
The central conflict in *The Long Winter * is the hazardous 40-mile trip that Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland (who was just a teenager!) took in blizzard season to bring back wheat for the starving people in the prairie town of De Smet. To this day, North Dakota in the winter is forbidding and terrifying. My supervisor’s family is from North Dakota, and she tells me that during blizzards, the highways are gated shut, and anyone foolish enough to drive through the gates is left on their own; no cops or rescue crews will go after them if they get lost.
I can’t even imagine what it was like before the days of roads, cars, and cellphones. I personally think that every boy should read this story and learn what it means to be a real man. I think it influenced my choice of husband–one of the reasons I married my husband is that I knew he would go through a blizzard for me.
It never dawned on me when I was a child how little Laura and her family had to eat, even in the relatively good times. It took reading the books from an adult perspective for me to catch that.
Cat, a question for you: have you ever visited any of the sites mentioned in Laura’s books? Have you been to De Smet, or to the site of the log cabin in the Big Woods, or even to Laura and Almanzo’s home in the Ozarks? I’ve always wanted to visit those places; I especially want to see Pa’s fiddle, which I believe is on display in the Ozarks homestead. I’ve told my husband that when he retires, we’re going on a road trip!
And I"m going to have to re-read them yet again, it’s been awhile. I’ve just pulled By The Shores of Silver Lake off my bookshelf (it’s the one that comes right before The Long Winter), to look something up, and now I’m dying to re-read the whole series, even though I know I’ve read it at least thirty or forty times in my life already. :rolleyes:
Mansfield Missouri–well worth a trip. I was fortunate that when I went almost 30 years ago, some of Mrs. Wilder’s friends were still alive, and gave me “insider’s POV.”
DeSmet, North Dakota–again, well worth a trip. The whole town is fascinating. I would love to go back in the summer to the festival.
Pepin, Wisconsin–don’t remember much about it.
I seriously recommend the trips. I also recommend the cookbook, which was written by a mom who tried all of the recipes in the books with her own children as they were growing up. Lots of fascinating information in the cookbook.
I’ve heard of people who designed home-school curriculum around the Little House series–I think it would be great!
Many of us watched AG during our formative years and the show became part of us. I remember being home sick from Grammar school and watching it as I ate my Oyster crackers and drank my ginger ale. I summered often at my grandparents house in Pine Meadow, CT and it felt just like Mayberry. Mayberry was polite, friendly and kind. We could do worse.
I’ve watched the show from time to time. It’s not bad at all, but there’s really nothing I can say about it that hasn’t already been said.
Not to go off topic here, but oddly enough, the Baptists I know of, and I come from a Southern Baptist background, would call you a member of the Catholic Babalonyian Myster Religion (Trademarked) for saying our bodies are temples.
Well, I first encountered them when my parents and I visited the U.S. in the fall of 1980 (we moved here several months later). We were staying with some friends (in northern Indiana, not too far from where I now live, ironically) who had three daughters, so there may be something to what you say! And ironically given Cat’s post, the passage they were reading that night was from The Long Winter, early on where the Indian comes and warns them all that this is going to be a long, hard winter. Looking back, I agree with Cat that this is one of the best of the books. That one excerpt certainly hooked me on them.
Most of my friends as a child were girls, and I was very bookish and probably was seen as a “sissy” by other boys. So I’m not necessarily a good counterexample to your generalization. Still, I liked the books for very “boy” reasons, I think. I loved all the descriptions of how they built things and the fights with animals and the occasional danger from Indians. As I got older I naturally appreciated the later books more (with their descriptions of social life) than I did as a small child.
I agree that Farmer Boy is a lot of fun for boys. I certainly liked it a lot as a kid. But then I liked all of them!