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Extra info for A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories
At first the Ingallses lived in the sod house he had left, but in spring 1875, with the prospect of a good wheat crop, Charles bought materials on credit, allowing him to build, with the help of one of his neighbors, a frame house. That was to be their last period of unguarded optimism in Minnesota. Massive grasshopper infestations occurred over the next two years, destroying all crops. The Ingallses’ five-and-a-half-year stay (1874–1879) in and near Walnut Grove was divided into three periods: their initial wheat-farming venture (1874–1876); a year away from the area (1876–1877), spent helping to run a hotel in Burr Grove, Iowa (where Grace Ingalls was born in 1877); and a return to Walnut Grove, living and working in town (1877–1879).
By stopping with Laura’s marriage in 1885, they do not need to mention that Charles and Caroline gave up their efforts to make a go of it on their homestead in late 1887, moving permanently to town, where Caroline sometimes kept boarders and Charles worked at a series of jobs, including carpentry and insurance sales. 31 Elizabeth Hampsten, studying the memoirs of settlers’ children brought up on the Great Plains, urges us not to ignore the damage done to families by years of hardship, poverty, and separation from loved ones.
Nothing was made easy for us. We did not like work, and we were not supposed to like it; we were supposed to work and we did. We did not like discipline, so we suffered until we disciplined ourselves. . And we did not like that way of life. ” Lane’s generation was more likely to rebel overtly than her mother’s, but that did not mean that Wilder did not have deep wells of resentment for her hard childhood that would come out later in more covert ways. “Strange how the old timers would all like to go back to those old, hard times,” Wilder marveled to Lane in 1937, adding ironically, “They had something that seems to be lost.