Here's the first chapter of the Little House sequel to the TV show..link for complete story down below
Author's Note: This is based on Laura and Almanzo's trip back to DeSmet, SD in the late 1930's. It takes place in the year 1902, 12 years after Walnut Grove was razed.
Remembering the Past – A Little House Look Back
Based on the TV Series
Rose Wilder had found her mother’s Remembrance books, crammed with newspaper articles and stories about her life growing up on the prairie. She dug one out and started leafing through the pages.
“Hey, Rosey Posey,” she heard her father call out his childhood nickname for her. She looked up and smiled.
“Hello, Papa,” she said, kissing him on the cheek as Almanzo hugged her. “What you got there? Looks like Mama’s Remembrance Books.” He took the chair closest to the fireplace where Rose had the book open and spread out. She was sitting cross legged on the floor, turning page after page.
“Did you ever tell Mama to do have these written out in story form?”
Almanzo placed his arm around her. “When you were a baby, she won a story contest and traveled all the way to Minneapolis to accept the prize only to have them change around every word. She was furious and refused first place. It wasn’t her stories anymore, Rose.” He shook his head. “It was my idea, I found the newspaper clipping.”
“There’s some really good stuff in here,” Rose said, turning the pages. “Like how you and Mama Beth first met and how she got her name.”
Almanzo smiled. His wavy blond hair was turning white now, but his face hadn’t aged at all. His bright blue eyes sparkled at the mention of Laura’s pet name, Beth. “That’s a story in itself.”
“I met your mother the first day of school. Your Aunt Eliza was teaching in Walnut Grove then and she was one of the students. She was fifteen years old, a year younger than you are now. I still remember her walking up to us in my buckboard that first day when I introduced myself.
‘“Pleasure to meet you, Manly,”’ was what she called me instead of Eliza’s nickname of Mannie.” His eyes twinkled as he looked up and a crooked smile appeared on his face, remembering. “I loved her even then and I didn’t realize it.”
“When she realized her mistake, she apologized, but I just smiled. It was a change from the ordinary, but that’s what Laura is, a change from the ordinary. I told her that if she called me Manly, I would need a nickname for her. I wasn’t crazy about the name Laura, so I asked for her full given name and she told me it was Laura Elizabeth Ingalls. So I told her I’d call her Beth from then on and to continue to call me Manly.
Rose smiled. “I wish I could’ve been there, Papa. A girl of fifteen braids flying in the wind.”
Almanzo frowned and shook his head. “Lots of trouble that got me into. She was always a woman with fire and spirit, still is. She was the only woman that wanted to share my dream. She never ceased to amaze me, even to this day. That’s what I love the most about her. She could do anything and was always successful at it.”
“But you were ten years older, Papa.”
“Yes I know, but she always acted so much older that I hardly ever thought of her as a kid. When my feelings got the better of me, I used to talk myself out of them, saying that she was a little girl, but it wasn’t true and I should’ve realized it. First time that I gave into those feelings was the time your Uncle Perley Day bet Barnum in a race on Founder’s Day. Almost crippled him before I put a stop to it. We brought the Morgan back to the Ingalls’ place and Laura’s Pa and I put cold packs on Barnum’s leg to reduce the swelling.”
“Did it work?” she asked eagerly.
Almanzo nodded. “Sure did. Laura and her Ma stayed up with us all night and kept the coffee coming. Then she made a special breakfast for her Pa and me. Juice, coffee, bacon and pancakes, all you could eat, too. I was so stuffed; I couldn’t eat for the rest of the day.”
“She’s still a great cook,” Rose agreed. “She told me the story about that dinner with Nellie Oleson; how she used cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon for the chicken.”
Manly laughed and nodded his head. “Well, Nellie got back at her, if I remember right. She had to take her teaching exam all over again because Nellie tricked her into believing that there was no history when it was all history. She got into a catfight with Nellie and I pulled her out of it.”
“But you didn’t love her then, did you?”
“There was always some sort of spark there, Rose. Every time I’d hear her voice or watch her smile, something always got the better of me. Barnum and I took Mama Beth on a buggy ride thirty miles away to her new teaching assignment in Currie, Minnesota . I think it was not seeing her that entire week that made me first realize that I loved her all along. I invited her to a church social, but she never confirmed if I was taking her or not.
“Did she ever answer you?”
“Didn’t find out until that night. I punched an older student of hers the day before because I thought he was making advances to her. I didn’t know if she’d forgive me and when she did, I was the happiest man in all of Walnut Grove. I was so nervous that night, but she seemed so calm and collected. It was the day after the social that I went to the Ingalls’ place and asked her father if I could court Laura. To my surprise, he agreed.”
Rose frowned. “Why were you surprised? Seemed like he liked you well enough. He did put Barnum up in his barn until the horse regained his strength.”
“Horses are one thing, Rose, daughters are another. There’s a special bond between a father and a daughter, Rose,” he said, turning his face towards her, looked in her brown eyes and touched her hair.
Rose hugged him back, but pushed him away. “You’re not getting off as easy as that, Papa.
Almanzo flashed his crooked smile at her. He shook his head. “Your grandfather was always concerned about our ten year age difference, but he agreed to it. It came to a point where courtin’ wasn’t enough. I wanted to be with her always and I proposed so quickly that it startled even me. I was told to wait two years and that just seemed too long, so I just left and lived in Sleepy Eye for a time. I caught pneumonia workin’ two jobs so I could make up the difference in rent for the new Blind School. No sleep, just went from one job to another. So Laura’s Pa dropped her off to take care of me.
“We were married a year later, with your grandparent’s permission, in Sleepy Eye by the Reverend Hardwick. It was too late to go back to Walnut Grove, so we all bunked up in the extra rooms at the Blind School until dawn the next day.”
“Want to tell me about your wedding night?” Rose asked, with a little shy smile.
“What are you two up to now?” Laura called out as she came in from the kitchen. She had just finished preparing for tonight’s supper.
“Rose is looking through your Remembrance Books again, Beth,” Almanzo said, smiling up at his wife of 17 years. “She can’t get enough. She’s always askin’ a ton of questions about our life before we moved out here, to the Land of the Big Red Apple.”
“Do you think that we could all visit there again? I would like to see my grandparents and the rest of your family, Mama. I don’t remember too much.”
Laura smiled. You were a tiny baby, Rose. How would you even begin to remember Walnut Grove?” She shook her head. “It was a very sad time. A greedy land baron, Mr. Lassiter, bought the town and wanted to make all of us his employees. It was 12 years ago, 1890. You were four years old when all the residents blew up the entire town so that Mr. Lassiter couldn’t have it.”
“As I recall,” Almanzo said, putting his arm around his wife’s shoulders as she sat down next to him on the arm of the chair, “the church and the little house on Plum Creek were still intact.”
“What happened to Mr. Lassiter?” Rose asked. “Did he keep the land after you blew it up?”
“No one really knew, Rose,” Manly continued, “not for a long time. We did read that Mr. Lassiter couldn’t make a go of it and abandoned the property, letting it grow wild for a long time.”
“Then a few people started moving back,” Laura said. She looked at Almanzo. “Ma and Pa were the first ones. When Albert recovered, he moved back and became the town doctor after Doc Baker died. Willie and Rachel are there with their two sons and daughter. Jenny and Jeb are married now and expecting their first child. I don’t know if anyone replaced Reverend Alden and the school teacher….”
“Can we go back, please, Mama Beth? Just the three of us?”
Almanzo looked at Laura. “Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea at that. Take a look and see what they’ve done with the town, how much progress they’ve made. We have some extra money from the apple orchard and the warm weather’s comin’. It’s the end of April, Beth and we’re doing well. It wouldn’t be that much trouble to take some time away.”
Laura nodded. “And it would be good to see Ma and Pa again.”
“Well, then it’s settled. We’ll pack up tomorrow and leave first thing Friday. And it will be our last time with Rosey here. She’ll be leavin’ with Eliza Jane when school starts in September. Goin’ to Louisiana.”
Rose hugged her father and mother. “Thank you, Mama, Papa.” She turned and ran out of the room.
“Where are you headed?” Almanzo called up to her as she reached the staircase.
“Gonna start packing early,” she called down.
Laura stood up first as Almanzo stared after their daughter with a smile. “She grew up quick, Beth.”
Laura laughed as she started putting away the Remembrance books. “She did at that, Manly. I’m going to miss her while she’s down South.”
“Well, Eliza promised me that she’d take real good care of her. Put her in all the best schools and what’s more is that she’s anxious and eager to go.” He took the book from her hands and set it back down on the bench, closed this time.
“Yes, she is.” Laura said. “Seems like she wasn’t made to be a farmer.”
Almanzo put his arms around his wife. “Time’s are changing, Beth. It’s a whole new century and we have to change with it. We’re still getting plenty of use out of this new farm of ours. Took us a long time, but we’ve finally made it.”
Laura smiled up at him. “It’s not finished yet, Manly. You know there’s more to add on here.”
“And we’ll do it, Beth. I’m glad you took such a violent fancy to this land.”
He gave her a long, passionate kiss. “I love you, Laura,” he whispered as the two kissed again. “Come on, maybe we should start packin’ early.”
Next day, Almanzo made arrangements for the train and stage to drop them off in Walnut Grove. He telephoned Ma and Pa and they said that they would gladly meet them at the stage once they arrived in town. They were anxious to see all three of them. He had spoken to the man who lived with them on their farm to look after the animals while they were gone and he had agreed.
Now that everything was taken care of, they were free to go
And so the last warm day in April, 1902, Almanzo, Laura and Rose left for the Land of Used to Be.