September 9, 2012

« September 2012

Below are the diary entries for September 9, 2012, with the newest entries added at the bottom. Also, check out today’s photos.

Nicoline Little House in Mansfield, MO
Nicoline (September 9, 2012)

Last modified: September 9, 2012 at 20:50:24

Another itch scratched. This time it was the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, MO. I think I’m done with the Little House-stuff now. In 1998, thinking we might be going back to Holland fairly soon, we took a trip to De Smet, SD, to visit the Ingalls homestead and museum. I still credit that trip with deciding us in favor of staying in the U.S. because of the friendliness of the people and the spaciousness of the country we saw. There is nothing quite like the wide open spaces of the west. It’s a cliché, I know, but clichés tend to contain more than a grain of truth.

Nowadays when I see people traveling with their kids, I wonder how we did stuff way back when. Mark turned five on the trip to South Dakota - we had a party at the indoor adventure park at Mall of America, where they also had a great Lego thingamajig, with Lego constructions big enough for a little guy to sit on. Even before that, we traveled with them not only from Holland to the U.S. by way of Heathrow Airport and by car from Short Hills, NJ, to Charleston, SC because I not only had a Little House itch but also a Civil War itch.

I do remember that we brought breakfast cereal with us, buying milk at a gas station early in the morning and fixing coffee in the room, to save both money and time. Motels usually didn’t offer breakfast, or if they did it would be just doughnuts and danishes, unsuitable for kids who will need to sit still in the car for a couple of hours. For lunch and dinner we mostly ate out, even if it was only at McDonald’s, and even there we had rules. The kids could not have soda, and they had to finish their meal before they were allowed to get up off the table.

We used to tell them that “the Romans [as in the ancients] lay down at the table with their heads propped up on their arms and they ate like pigs” to avoid charging any one nationality with having atrocious table manners. You know how it is with kids. Tell them the Moldovians have terrible table manners and they’re bound to make the acquaintance of a bunch of Moldovan kids in the pool at the next motel and mortally offend the parents by proclaiming loudly that their table manners are deplorable. Anyway. They would have to sit up straight and eat with appropriate utensils. No getting up and running around. I’m pretty sure whining was also a no-no, but it was probably unavoidable sometimes after long hours in the car. But they’d be in bed at approximately their regular bed time, tucked into one of the queen beds after a story from “Jip and Janneke” while Eric and I shared the other one.

People don’t seem to have figured out a way how to keep their kids under control or even how to get them to eat without getting food all over themselves or the table. No one ever seems to tell their kid “Don’t put your shoes on the seat; other people have to sit there, you know!” and yesterday in Rolla, the three-year-old blithely ran up and down the pool area without his mother even attempting to say “Don’t run!” on account of slick floor tiles. Of course it isn’t my business to say anything, so I just bite my tongue and hope he doesn’t fall flat on his face and howl. I’m just glad we don’t have to travel with little kids anymore. We just get the room with the king bed and enjoy the peace and quiet! Tonight's rest will be particularly blessed, I'm sure, since the motel is housed in what certainly looks like a former church to me.

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Eric Mansfield, Missouri
Eric (September 9, 2012)

Last modified: September 9, 2012 at 21:23:45

Fourteen years ago we visited De Smet, South Dakota, with the house where Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up. I made a copy of the August 10, 1998 diary entry describing our visit there. Today, we visited Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived from 1894 until here death in 1957.

But since the museum doesn't open until 12:30, we first follow the signs we saw on the highway for "Bakersville Pioneer Village". Not having any idea what to expect, we weren't disappointed, but I have to say it looked more like a pioneer ghost town; everything was open, but the parking lot was entirely empty when we arrived and we didn't see a single person (other than two other visitors who arrived shortly after us) until the very last building. There were signs in all of the buildings "please pay in seed store" (which is where we eventually saw people). However, it was neat to see the buildings outside and inside...

After Bakersfield, we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder home. The museum was nice, and the house was neat to see, but the tour (and the obligatory video before the tour) had the air of people who are too convinced of their own importance. I'm sure the ladies meant well, but I'm afraid I was a bit put-off by their presentations. Unfortunately, they didn't allow any photography inside the house, so all I have to show is the ourside, including a little salamander I noticed on the steps.

The detour to Mansfield has brought us 200 miles south of the I-70 so the rest of the afternoon was spend driving up Missouri state routes 5 and 52 and US-65 back to our I-70. We got a hotel early in Concordia, MO, and went out to dinner at a barbeque place.

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