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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Discoveries for a Childhood Classic



“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ”
                                                                             ~  Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was a child, I loved the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, reading them over and over again. Each book has the most beautiful cover illustrations depicting life on the frontier by Garth Williams. The popular television series was also a favorite and still is today.

I just read an online article (at People of all places) and wanted to share the new topic buzzing about this classic series.

One of the most tragic storylines in this saga is when Mary Ingalls loses her eyesight to what was then attributed to her enduring scarlet fever as a child. A new study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests that the cause of Mary's blindness was likely meningoencephalitis, a disease similar to meningitis.

According the report, for more than a decade, a team of researchers have been studying letters written by Wilder, newspaper articles related to the illness, and data on blindness and infectious disease in the late 19th century. It is thought that Wilder and her editors simply believed the scarlet fever illness would be more relatable to readers, likely due to the wideswept report of cases during the time period.
You can read the article in its entirety here: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20670958,00.html

Regardless of the exact cause of the blindness, through her storytelling Wilder reveals to us Mary's strength to not only accept her new fate but to excel and create a happy and successful life for herself. Even in our present time of modern technology and medical advances, Mary sets a wonderful example for us on how our attitude will ultimately determine our future.

Happy Reading,
Rebecca

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I had no idea. Both girls are such amazing role models, but I agree that Mary's acceptance of her blindness and ability to turn her disability into an asset is something of which we all need more examples today. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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