I was about seven years old when I got the books for Christmas. I read them over and over and over; they were my first real obsession. At age 10 I met a family who had been to De Smet and Mansfield. They showed me pictures and let me read “The Story of the Ingalls” while my parents were visiting with them. I found Zochert’s biography at my library, as well as Rose Wilder Lane: Her Story. I began writing letters to the homesites and even to William Anderson, asking questions about whatever was in my mind. I had a dream to someday get to read a copy of Pioneer Girl, which I finally did in the mid-90s. My senior trip was to visit all of the Little House homesites (my siblings were thrilled of course). I have been to all of the main places multiple times, and many of the smaller ones at least once. (Westville is the only one left that I feel a need to go visit.)
Laura and her family have been a big part of my life as long as I can remember. I know her genealogy as well as I know my own. I know random background facts about people mentioned in the books, as well as who was left out. It built my interest in history, clothing, and just general knowledge of how things were “back then”, that I can use in other areas of history. I’ve often wondered if I grew to love history because of Laura, or if I loved Laura because of my love of history.