Little House On The Prairie – A Fun Stop In Kansas
Many, many times I had driven passed the turn-off, on Highway 75, to go see the Little House On The Prairie museum. I always had an excuse as to why I would “stop and see it next time”. As I am getting older, I am realizing,
more every day, that putting things off for another day is not how I want to live the rest of my life. When I got up this morning, to make my drive from Oklahoma to Missouri, I knew I needed to stop and see what had been a significant part of my childhood; Little House On The Prairie. I grew up in Kansas, on a 240 acre horse boarding stable, on the prairie. While my landscape may have resembled that of the landscape depict by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in her many books, inside the walls of my childhood home were not as innocent as Laura’s. I believe that the goodness that was presented in the Little House On The Prairie tv series, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, is how I always knew, from a young age, that life was meant to be lived differently.
How different life was in the 1800-1900s! I wonder how much is even still taught in schools, related to that era,
and the pioneer’s way of life. I can’t help but think, with the growing movement to live a simpler life, if there is still so very much to learn from Little House On The Prairie. Sunny Side School house had a 35 person capacity, and sometimes had up to 50 students in the little one room school-house. Lillian Jones, the school-house teacher made $25/month!
The day that I stopped by Little House On The Prairie, it was closed. While I would have loved to have gotten a trinket, or two, from the gift shop, it was a very pleasant time, walking around with Hendrix, and imagining life as it use to be. I could almost hear the wheels of this wagon, rolling through the prairie, and the pop of the reins, as they
encouraged the horses to continue pulling the rations of flour for homemade bread. Perhaps the wagon carried a young pregnant girl, who was wearing a bonnet and a long flowing dress, of which she made herself, after her mother taught her how to sew. I could almost hear the giggles of children running along side the wagon and Laura yelling “Pa!” when she found a nest of baby rabbits. I wondered if this particular wagon had ever seen a battle with Indians, trying to keep their lands. I wondered if this wagon had ever gotten stuck in the mud of the dirt streets that use to run through the near-by town of Independence, Kansas.
This little post office has some great history! Wayside is just a mile from the Little House On The Prairie museum, in Kansas. It’s history dates back to 1887. The sign next to the post office reads,
“The original names of the Wayside citizens are still visible on the post office boxes.” This post office was closed by the United States post master in 1977. Is that really that long ago?
This beautiful red barn sits on the property. The “quilt” that you see is actually the same pattern that Laura used on her hope chest. It is called Doves In The Window. If you get a chance to visit this little gem of a place, be sure and read about the incredibly sweet gesture by Almanzo, Laura’s husband.
In my own life, I continue to try to simplify and declutter. I long for simplicity and opportunity to reconnect with the land and nature. My time wandering around Little House On The Prairie museum, and remembering all the wonderful things Laura Ingalls Wilder shared with us many years ago, fueled my fire to continue to let go of the constant pull to have “things”. I will admit, though. I don’t long to have to run out to the outhouse, in the middle of a cold frozen night, when nature calls!
While I don’t shy away from the wilderness because of no plumbing, I am glad, at home, for the modern convenience of an inside, flushing toilet. In Laura Ingalls Wilder times, there would not of even been the cement slab there. You would have been looking down at all the mud and muck on your boots, while your most private of parts were exposed to the breeze and contents of the one who went before you. Fear not. There are modern-day toilets for actual use, on the property.
Have you ever felt the muzzle of a horse or mule? If you are a “horse person”, you totally get my obsession with their muzzles. The softness to the touch, and the warmth of their exhaled breath, makes my heart happy. This photo is of one of the prettiest mules I have seen, which, at the time of my visit, was just hanging out in the barn area.
If you want to know more about Little House On The Prairie museum, you can do that here.