Except for paying my monthly bills, money means nothing to me. If I did not have kids, I would live in my car and catch my breath for a while. I am not making light of this. I know living in a car is a big deal and some people don’t have a choice but to do it. In some ways, I don’t have a choice but to have an apartment.
Sometime in the last year, I found a WikiHow page on living in a car. It is actually quite a comprehensive list of how one goes about creating a somewhat sustainable, hopefully temporary life, of living in a car. There are guidelines, there are safety features. You shouldn’t just go living in a car, I could see, without learning more about it.
This is the link to the WikiHow page, should you care to read this detailed list of suggestions:
I am not going to go back and read it, it is really just a part of this blog I wanted to mention. I think sometimes all the things that are expected of us as modern Americans are not always reasonable. I have to have a car, an apartment, a computer, internet, of course, food, fuel, clothes. I remember reading the Laura Ingalls books and people had like three changes of clothes and they got a peppermint stick at Christmas and maybe a potato. It was a simpler life in some ways but really not in others. I love the series. I will tell you more about it, sometime.
But why not now? This is what I remember. I remember reading about Laura Ingalls as a child in Wisconsin. I remember learning what rennet is and, for a time, deciding to transition to rennet-free cheese. I remember driving across South Dakota and thinking about her life, I remember seeing the capitol building in Nebraska and thinking about her description of how she could see its tower from a great distance.
I remember reading about the gatherings that were commonplace in one of the little towns her family lived in. The townspeople came together in the evenings to learn of literature and create performances to enjoy. The bonds that were created in these experiences were significant. I remember questioning tv at the time in my life I was reading every book I could find on the subject of Laura Ingalls’ life. What bonds are we creating by watching tv with another person?
Laura Ingalls endured the cold, sometimes waking with her sister Mary to blankets covered in snow that had blown in through the gaps in the wood of the attic overnight. They were warm inside under the wool blankets. Laura Ingalls taught me many things in her writing. Her writing affected me and the way I write and the way I think. I learned to write simpler. I learned to write more concisely, by reading her books. I learned to write more descriptively from her example. She was to be the eyes for her sister Mary, who had lost her sight.
I learned from Laura things that changed my life, things that changed my perspective. She spelled it out loud and clear that things can change in a day. Her life did. Her life as a child and much of the warmth that was created changed in a day when she needed to find employment, suddenly. There was much moving in her life. Ma eventually said, “No more.” Ma was not going to Montana. Part of me wanted to see Ma go to Montana but I can understand Ma and how she finally said no.
I encourage you to read the Laura Ingalls series, Little House on the Prairie. Read the books alone, read them aloud, read them perhaps to a child. But read them if you can at all find the time in your life. It is a window into a simpler and yet more complicated time in our history. .. and, really into our history that is nearly within sight. It wasn’t that long ago.
Laura had a lot of problems, you can learn by reading additional books on her life. She doesn’t share them all in the children’s series she devoted the last decade of her life to writing. Laura had a house that burned down. She was heavily in debt and mourned the thought of that stress. There was a night in her childhood she feared for the life of her family because they were unwelcome in Indian Territory and she could hear sounds of attack outside in the darkness. It was an adventurous life and a purposeful and connected one. Reading this series caused me to consider many things, my own life included and what I am choosing to make of it.
I will reread the series, now to my youngest child. All I have written is by memory. Reading of her and also, specifically, the way she wrote, became a turning point in my life. I will catch my breath, as she did so many times. And, if you are struggling, you will too.