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 Diva Convention 2008

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LIWnut
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PostSubject: Diva Convention 2008   Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:25 pm

As promised, here are the details of our trip to Independence and Mansfield. I took notes as we went along, hope they don't bore you. Beth, Lorrie and I traveled to MO and met up with a diva in Ozark. Andrea was the one who planned what we did and when. It was an amazing time.


Tuesday July 22
Left Beaver Dam at 4:43 am. Stopped for breakfast at Country Kitchen in Sparta, WI. Andrea sent a text to make sure that we were on the way. Our first detour (before breakfast) took us through Pardeeville.
We arrived in Burr Oak at approx 10 am. We went into the Bank which is the headquarters of the LIW Society. After introducing ourselves the tour guide showed us the area. From the steps of the bank you can see where the church, school, house where Grace was born and the cemetery in the distance all were located. We went across the street to the hotel. The building has been restored to what it would have been like when the Ingalls lived there. It was interesting to hear about the resident boarders, Mr. Bisbee and Mr. Reed. Mr. Bisbee was a millionaire who would pay extra to have his own bed when the hotel was full. In those days men who traveled would pay rent for the bed space, not a room. So there may be any number of men in the same room and up to 3 in one bed. Mr. Bisbee could afford to pay for the 2 extra people and then have the bed to himself. His room was on the first floor outside the parlor.
Mr. Reed was the school teacher who taught Laura and Mary speaking skills from the Reader. He was known as an elocutionist. His room was on the second floor and he had a desk in his room to do his schoolwork on.
The hotel displays some of Mr. Reed’s clothing on his bed. His granddaughter donated them to the hotel as no family members wanted them. He would often bring this granddaughter to the hotel to show her his room.
The Steadman family, owners of the hotel, lived in the room next to Mr. Bisbee on the first floor and the Ingalls family lived in the basement next to the kitchen and dining room. There were 12 permanent residents of the hotel and there were beds for 12 or so more. Caroline and the girls had to feed all of these people. Also, people of the surrounding area would stop by the hotel to visit a guest or for a meal and so this would add to the number of people to feed.
Burr Oak was a stagecoach stop for north and south Iowa railroads. Travellers would also come through with covered wagons and Burr Oak may have been quite the busy spot.
We learned a lot from the ladies at the Bank. There were interested in Beth’s family so we found the genealogy on the website for them, as well as Lennon’s interview with her on PT.
We each spent some $$ at the giftstore and headed on the road again. We went to the graveyard where Laura enjoyed walking with her friend Alice Ward. Lorrie was thrilled to pay her last respects to a Mr. and Mrs. Butler. In the middle of the cemetery was a beautiful burr oak tree. Pictures of the cemetery in the mid 1800’s show this tree as a small sapling so we know that it was there as Laura walked through these grounds.
Burr Oak was wonderful!!!



We left Burr Oak at 12:15 and arrived in Cresco, IA for lunch. We had HUGE salads at Teluwut Restaurant, very yummy.
We drove all afternoon and entered MO at approx 6 pm. We considered stopping in Cameron but we were crusin so we kept going and got through Kansas City tonight before tomorrow morning’s rush hour. Got through KC by 8:15 and looked for a hotel in Harrisonville but nothing looked good so we kept on going. We stopped in Clinton at a Parkfield Hotel at approx 9pm. Checked in and then went to a Country Kitchen for supper. We were the last customers there and they were cleaning up as we ate. Lorrie called Andrea and we are only have about an hour and a half left to drive to get to our destination hotel so we were all glad to have made it so far.
Traveled 698.7 miles.

Wednesday July 23
Left Clinton hotel at 8:50 and arrived in Ozark at 10 am. We had some time to kill while Andrea finished working so we toured Ozark to see what was in town. We thought we needed to tour Nixa too so we headed out there to check out Andrea’s hometown. We found the Walmart and spent about 45 minutes in there.
We met Andrea for lunch in Ozark at Rossa Jo’s Café. We went back to the hotel to check in but the room wasn’t ready. So we all hopped into Andrea’s car and headed to Branson.
First place we headed to in Branson was the LIW traveling exhibit at the Presidential Museum. Andrea had contacted the curator/owner who was very excited to meet Beth. The traveling exhibit was 16 boards of info telling the story of the Ingalls. To this they had gathered artifacts to enhance the boards. We got pictures taken and sat in the president’s oval office to chat with Stormy and her husband. We had a great time hearing stories of the kids who came to see the exhibit. Stormy was very interested in hearing old family stories from Beth. We took a look at their collection. It was really interesting to see artifacts from the years, many of them looked familiar to us from our mother’s kitchens etc. Stormy told of how the children would come in and have no idea what a record player or other item were and she would explain to them.
We enjoyed our stay at the museum. Stormy invited Beth to return to give her presentation. Details will have to be worked out for this to happen but the Divas encouraged Beth to consider this and we would come and help her out as needed. We said our goodbyes to a new friend and got email addresses etc.



After leaving the museum we went to a five and dime store. It had everything under the sun in it, very cool! But it was very crowded so we didn’t stay too long. We toured the Branson strip, stopped at a few shops. We all bought something here or there and then went to dinner at McFarlain’s.
Went back to the hotel. We were all too tired to do much of anything so we just went to bed.

Thursday July 24
We went out for breakfast at Shoney’s for the breakfast buffet. We decided to have a larger breakfast and just maybe a snack at lunch to save on costs. Breakfast was great, Beth loved the grits, with syrup.
We got back into the car at about 9:45 and drove through Nixa on the way to Springfield and then headed to Independence, KS. Entered Kansas at about 11:05.
We arrived at the little house at approx 12:50. It was sooo cool to see a replica of the house that Pa made on the prairie. Everyone except me had to duck their heads to go through the door. We wondered why Pa may have built the doorframe so low. No one knows how tall he may have been. (Then again, this was just a replica) The house wasn’t on the actual site that Pa’s house was. A house that now serves as the giftshop sits where the original Ingalls house would have been. The well that Pa and Mr. Edwards dug sits behind the giftshop. It was awesome to see this well and remember the stories from Laura’s books about their time on this very spot.




We headed into the store and we all added to our collections. Andrea was the smart one of the bunch and had a list with her. The ladies at the store were interested to meet Beth and hear how she is related to Laura. Beth also met a 4th grade teacher from Arkansas who asked if Beth could come and give her presentation to her class. She called her sister, a principal, and they both want Beth to come and visit 4 schools in their area. So, along with Stormy at the museum, Beth has been invited to present her gig 5 times. Let’s hope that they can be scheduled together so things all work out.
It took 2.5 hrs to drive to Independence to a Wayside, but it’s the BEST wayside in the country!!



We arrived back in Ozark for dinner at Lambert’s Café at 5pm. Lambert’s is the home of the “throwed roll”. The baker comes out with trays of fresh hot rolls and he throws them across the dining room to whoever wants one. Boy, were they good!!! The food was good and the atmosphere was fun. Our waiter took our pic and then posed as we took his, he was a great guy.
We left at about 7pm and headed to Branson for a night on the town. We drove down the strip and shopped for a few hours. It was too late to go to any show so we just shopped at the little shops. Lorrie was looking for a sweatshirt so she and I went in to look for one. She came out empty handed, I bought a t shirt. Remind me not to go shopping with her again, I’m the one that spends the $$.
Got shopped out and went back to the hotel at about 10pm.




Last edited by LIWnut on Tue May 19, 2015 5:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:26 pm

Friday July 25
We left the hotel at about 9 am and traveled on a really pretty road to Mansfield.  It was hilly and windy and we had fun going up and down the hills.  There was a whoop or yehaw coming from someone in the car as we rode that roller coaster raod.  We arrived in Mansfield at 9:50 and noted the population sign of 1349.
We entered the museum and bought our tickets.  The house was full of children who were there on a bus so while we waited, we toured the museum.  Beth commented that she would have loved to go and talk to those children.  After they came out of the house, they sat on benches just outside the front door and Beth really wanted to go and sit in with them, lol.
The museum collection was wonderful.  It was so awesome to see some of the things that we have read about in Laura’s books, Pa’s fiddle, the oval bread plate, stitching by all of the Ingalls ladies.  The manuscript to Silver Lake was on display at the horse thieves chapter.  Lorrie read the manuscript and I followed along in the published copy.  It was interesting to see what parts were edited out.  She mentioned in the manuscript that Big Jerry would come to town on payday, check out the horses and then come back at night and take all of the good horses.  The townspeople wanted to shoot him but they never managed to.  The published book of course did not include this as it was meant for children.  But it was neat to read this story in the manuscript.
Before entering the house we watched a 10 min video about Laura and the guide explained some things, all of which we as Laura’s fans already knew.  But the video was a nice way to get into the spirit of Laura and excited as to what we would see in her home.
We entered the house through the back door that led into the kitchen.  This room was part of the log cabin that the Wilders first lived in when they arrived in Mansfield.  It was detached and rolled on skids to it’s present location and added to another room that first served as the living and sleeping area.  Rooms were added on as finances became available.  The kitchen was very modern for it’s day.  Almanzo had the stream piped into the reservoir in the stove so Laura would always  have hot water for dishes.  The cupboards and counters were low so that Laura could have everything at arm’s reach.  
Next we entered the dining room where Laura loved to sit and read her mail.  Birthday cards are still there from fans who wished her a happy 90th.  The clock that the Wilders bought for their second Christmas together sits in the corner.  It survived the SD fire and is wound daily by the staff.
Next came the bedroom and bathroom, parlor, music room and library.  The fireplace was made from 3 large rocks from the farm.  Almanzo had bricks all ready to make the fireplace mantle but Laura wanted the rocks.  Our guide told us that this was the only disagreement that Laura won by using tears.  
Also in the parlor were Almanzo’s collection of canes that he had made from wood on the farm.  In the middle of that sitting area was a table that he had also made from a tree root.  Almanzo enjoyed showing this table off to guests at Rocky Ridge Farm.  It was beautiful.
We exited the house via the front door and onto Laura’s porch and had pics taken.  The other members of our little tour group were happy to have met Beth and hear how she is related to Laura.  



We headed to the bookstore and gift shop where we spent more $$ on books and souvenirs.  Our ticket price included a tour of the Rock House so we got into the car and traveled ¼ mile up the road.  The Rock House was a gift to Laura and Almanzo on Christmas Day 1928.  It was meant for them to retire in and give up the farm.  But after 9 years of living there, they got homesick and returned to the farmhouse.  They sold the house in the 1940’s and rebought by the Wilder Assn in the 1990’s.  The grounds of this home are beautifully kept.  The rocks used in the banks as well as outside the front door were laid by a 70’s age Almanzo.  Amazing.  



We drove to the cemetery to pay our respects to Almanzo, Laura and Rose.  Near Rose’s headstone is a stone marker in the ground marked B.  It may be her infant son.  Lorrie wanted to find Frank Cooley’s grave.  Frank and his family traveled with the Wilders from DeSmet.  We couldn’t find his grave.
We had lots of time to kill before our pageant so we cruised the town.  We went to the LIW Library and saw the dolls that were given to Laura for her birthday from the librarians in CA.  These are the dolls that she talked of in the recording that was made of her voice.  Laura donated these dolls to the library and they are still there to this day.  I had to get my pic taken in front of the library because on this forum I'm the LH librarian, lol



We had lunch at The Little House Inn.  Our waitress was interesting to watch.  She may have had too much to drink last night and was a wee bit forgetful as to what she was doing or supposed to be doing.  She forgot the silverware and so Lorrie had to go and get it for us and for those at the table beside us.  The poor lady looked like she was having a hard time standing up.  Ah, memories.
After lunch we went to the town square.  A few of us had never seen a town square before and was interested to see what one really looked like.  Many of the businesses are lined up on 4 street and a park is in the middle.  This is where the town events are held.  A gazebo sits in Mansfield’s town square and to one side is a memorial bust of Laura.  Around the bottom of the monument are the names of her books and the years of their publications.  One of the shops along the square is the Mansfield Historical Society.  We asked about Frank Cooley’s grave and the volunteer there went and found a booklet about it that lists the graves of those buried.  The man there also showed us some old pics of what the town looked like through the years and pointed to those same spots across the square.  
We returned to the cemetery to find Frank’s grave.  It was easy to find this time.  Beside the gravestone was a sign that said that Frank had traveled to Mansfield with the Wilders.  We laughed and said that we should have just looked for a sign when we were there earlier, lol.
In Iowa and at the Rock House we heard that the Wilder Assn had purchased the house that James Wilder bought for the family in the town of Mansfield.  We talked to a few locals and we located a house that fit the description to the one mentioned in the Rose years.  
We  still had a few hours to waste away before the pageant and so we crisscrossed the town a few times.
We didn’t think we wanted to go to the Little House Inn again for another meal so we decided to have a snack instead.  We had some ice cream and then headed to the park to get ready for the pageant.  As we sat there it began to rain.  We didn’t give up hope that it would quit.
Thankfully, it didn’t rain long, just enough to get the outdoor seating wet.  We paid our money and Beth talked to some of the cast.  They invited her to go to meet the whole cast before the sow as they were having a meeting and prayer time.  We took pictures with Beth and all of the Lauras.  Everyone was thrilled to have Beth there.  Before the show started the lady welcomed everyone and then mentioned that Beth was there and made Beth stand up for all to see her.  It’s really fun to see how people react when Beth is introduced.  Everyone is so shocked, kinda funny!




The show was excellent!!  It began with an older Laura talking with the librarian and remembering the stories from her book.  The cast did an amazing job.
After the show some of the cast wanted Beth’s autograph and pictures taken.  One young girl told Beth that her grandfather is related to Laura somehow and that they have pics of Laura in their family history.  Beth is going to keep in touch with her to see if they can figure out the relations.
We left the show and drove back to the hotel.  Our convention is coming to an end.
We drove a total of 550 miles in Andrea’s car.

Saturday July 26
Our Diva Convention in MO ended with breakfast at Shoney’s in Ozark.  We all had such a great time it was sad to say goodbye to Andrea.  Thanks buddy for planning such a wonderful time, it was awesome!!
We left Ozark at 8:40 am and headed towards St. Louis.  We passed through it between 11:30-11:45.  We saw the arch and took pics through the window.
We stopped for lunch in Litchfield, IL at Denny’s at 12:30.  Lorrie and I waved to Diva Susie as we passed through Litchfield.  Susie’s town is directly east and so we were thinking of her as we traveled on through.  We drove in WI at about 5:30 and could have made it back to Beth’s house but there is “no room in the inn” so we decided to have one more girls night out on the road.  We stopped in Madison, at about 6:30, and found a hotel.  We will only have about 35 minutes to travel tomorrow morning.  After checking in we went out for dinner at Perkins.  After eating we got back in the car and went round and round the roads trying to get back to the hotel.  We laughed so much because we had gone all the way to MO and back and got lost in Beth’s own backyard.  TOO FUNNY!!!  We laughed our supper off.
We finally got back to the hotel and checked out the pool.  They had an adult swim hour later in the evening but we were all too tired and full to swim and so we watched some tv and went to bed.

Sunday July 27
Our last morning together, how sad!  
We left Madison at 7:50 and arrived in Beaver Dam at 8:25.  After getting Beth’s gas tank topped off we arrived home at 8:35.  Beth’s granddaughter, daughter and hubby were very happy to see us home again.  Lorrie was anxious to see her hubby so she headed out at about 8:55.

Mileage
To and from-1473
In MO            550
Total           2023

Memories. What a joy our memories may be or what a sorrow!  But glad or sad they are with us forever.  Let us make them carefully of all good things, rejoicing in the wonderful truth that while we are laying up for ourselves the very sweetest and best of happy memories, we are the same time giving them to others.
Laura Ingalls Wilder




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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:41 pm

Great report, Marilyn! I love all the details. Thanks for posting this! Thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:26 pm

Wow!! Marilyn, thank you for this great detailed journal, I felt like I was there with you guys. Thanks for posting all the pictures. You guys look absolutely great!!! :woohooo:



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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:22 am

thank you for sharing that .....what a great trip you all had...your details were fabulous and piccies excellent

indi xxx
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:44 am

That sounds like so much fun! What loaded of the photos looks pretty awesome. My awesome internet can't handle more than one mid-size photo on a page, but if I load them one at a time, they'll load just fine.

Reading that really makes me want to go visit some of the sites! Well, all of the sites. ~laughs~

It sounds as though you and Beth weren't too far from my home!


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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:01 pm

That is so neat!! I'm glad you had a good time, but I envy you!!! I would love to go there.





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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:51 pm

I'm so glad that you all had such a nice time!
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:58 pm

What a wonderful trip you all had.....wish I could've met you in Manfield, but time and money prevented that from happening........All the pictures and description brought back great memories of when I went with my Aunt! Thumbsup



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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:56 pm

PD, where are you from?


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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:08 pm

You kept a awesome journal Marilyn. It seemes like I was there too. You guys was really close to my house too. Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:14 pm

Thank you for sharing your journal and pictures with us all, Marilyn. You certainly had an awesome time.





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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:41 pm

That was great, Marilyn! I enjoyed reading it all (you gave GREAT detail!) and the pictures. That really, really makes me want to go see it all someday. I just have to be amazed at what a great craftsman that Almanzo was. I cannot believe the wonderful job he did on that rock house....and in his 70's! Amazing! Applause



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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:52 am

Marilyn, I'm jealous now! Wink I'm so happy you had such a nice time. Thanks for the journal entries and the pictures, it really makes me want to visit those sites someday....
I just love the Rock House... very pretty. Thumbsup


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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:16 pm

LIWnut wrote:
PD, where are you from?

I'm from Northwest Illinois. I live in between Rockford and Galena. :) I live about six minutes away from the Illinois/Wisconsin state line... I'm about an hour away from Madison.

I can sympathize with you when you couldn't get back to the hotel! A similar thing happened to me when I was in Madison a few weeks ago. :b I was trying to get to the Ponderosa, but I couldn't figure out how get it in! I think I had to turn around twice! Laughing I didn't end up eating there either because I wasn't impressed. I told my mother that I wasn't going to eat there since I didn't see Ben Cartwright or Little Jo. grinsmiley


I love the photos! I've never seen a photo before of the Rock House.


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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:53 pm

thank you for sharing that. it looks like you all had a fun time.



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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:55 pm

Thank you so much for keeping (and sharing) such a detailed journal, Marilyn! It was really cool to read all about your trip, and the pictures are wonderful. I'm glad you had such a great time! {{hugs}}




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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:12 pm

Sounds like that was such a fun trip for you girls! I love the pics! Thanks for sharing that. I so want to do a trip like that one day.
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:43 pm

That sounds soooo wonderful! I can only hope I can do that 1 day.
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PostSubject: Re: Diva Convention 2008   Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:25 pm

You described your trip so well, Marilyn, that I almost felt like I went along with you! It sounds like all of you had an amazing time!! Thank you for sharing the details about your trip, as well as the pictures.


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