There’s not a whole lot written about Ma, the mother of famed Little House on the Prairie author, Laura Ingalls Wilder. And I always wondered why. So I set about looking for her. . .in family letters, bits of biography, and through the words she spoke throughout the Little House series.
The Ma I thought I’d find wasn’t the one I discovered.
Would you like to meet her? I think you’ll be happy that you did.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, when I was a very little girl, I chose my first chapter book from the school library: Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Before I had even opened to the first page, I was already hooked. The cover showed a darling brown haired girl, about my age, sweetly hugging a rag doll while, in the background, a loving family looked on. The snug log cabin scene seemed inviting, warm and, well, idyllic.
With every word I read, I became more and more enthralled with the Ingalls family and their adventures. I felt like I knew them all, intimately. Except, that is, for one person: Ma. Though lovingly portrayed, she always seemed quietly in the background. And most of the dialogue Laura developed for her was based around proverbs, adages, and Scriptures rather than normal conversation. While this emphasized her wise and gentle nature, it didn’t reveal as much about Ma’s personal character. And that’s a pity. Maybe she wasn’t as lively as Pa with his bear hugs and fiddle playing, or as endearing as feisty tomboy, Laura, but she certainly is worth knowing. So I went looking for her.
From the Mouth of Ma is my search for this lovely pioneer woman.