These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Screen shot 2013-02-05 at 9.42.19 AM To celebrate Valentines Day, we are going to have ‘Fictional Boyfriend’ Month here at Land of Lost Books. Originally we’d planned on only doing it for a week, but realized we had enough fictional boyfriend material to cover a full year and then some, so we compromised with a month. To kick it off, I’m going to dig deep into the archives and pull out an old favorite from the Little House series based on the real life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved both the books and the television show, so I’m going ask your indulgence as I cheat a little on the whole boyfriend angle.

How many of you used to watch Little House on the Prairie? I see a few hands ouScreen shot 2013-02-05 at 8.54.39 AMt there. Come on, it’s okay to admit it. Now, how many of you crushed on Almanzo “Manly” Wilder? Because I tooootally did. Big time. Remember the love triangle with Nellie Oleson? How about the time Almanzo punched out that kid Laura was teaching because he thought some hanky panky was going on? Or, oh be still my little pre-teen heart, the kiss they shared on Laura’s Sweet 16th birthday? Wee! Loved it all!

And the book those episodes are based on, These Happy Golden Years, is just as fun. Fifteen year old Laura Ingalls has to take a job teaching to help keep her sister Mary enrolled at a school for the blind. Let’s all pause for a moment and let the reality of that sink in. Fifteen years old!! Anyhoo – Laura hates it. She’s away from her family for the first time, some of her students are older than she is and she has to stay with a woman who clearly resents her presence. The only bright spot is the fact that local hunk du jour Almanzo Wilder drives the twelve miles there andScreen shot 2013-02-05 at 8.55.31 AM back to bring her home. Their relationship blossoms between wild horse races, pesky Nellie Oleson sightings and even an incident with a knife wielding crazy. Throughout it all, Laura’s confidence as a teacher and a woman grows. And I don’t think I’m spoiling it for anyone when I divulge that Almanzo and Laura end up tying the knot, living (mostly, given the hardships of the time) happily ever after. Yay! I’ll tell you what else: the real Almanzo Wilder was pretty darn hot in his own right!

Do you have a favorite ‘fictional boyfriend’ from the series? Any Albert fans out there? Or Adam? How about Pa? Willie? It’s okay, we won’t judge.

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Interested in reading These Happy Golden Years? Add it to your Goodreads, find it at your local library or one of the retailers below. And be sure to check out the different links to the author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, a.k.a. Half-Pint. She was a fascinating woman who in many ways was ahead of her time.

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Not available in E-book format.


19 Responses

  1. Oh, I always had a thing for Almanzo and, dang, he was hot in real life! I haven’t read the books in ages, but I still vividly remember the scene where Laura and Almanzo get married. It’s not even very romantic, but it still makes me swoony. 🙂

  2. Pa is dreamy, although I really didn’t appreciate him until I was older. I’ll have to go back and pay more attention to Mr. Edwards though! Who knew? (-:

  3. Ohh, I did for sure have a crush on Almanzo–but NOT the TV one, the book one. When he comes back on Christmas Eve to surprise Laura and she kisses him…well, that was just as flutter-inducing as any graphic sex scene written today.

  4. I will totally judge you if you say Willie was your fictional boyfriend.
    I always liked Cap Garland in the books. It’s still sad to read about the real life version.

  5. Great article. So excited for Laura Ingall Wilder’s birthday today. I have learned so much from all the posts on facebook today.

  6. Yes, Happy Birthday Laura Ingalls Wilder! She would have been 146 years old today. She and Almanzo both lived to a very ripe old age though, especially given the era and all the hardships they experienced.

  7. I’m so glad you all kept your paws off my Albert! However, Lynne seems to have watched a different Little House than I did, as he DID NOT DIE. He was, however, briefly involved with Jan from “The Office” so I can see Lynne’s mistake.

    Also, am I the only one that remembers Mr. Edwards singing the “I’m a lumberjack” song?

  8. Must admit–when Laura returns home after their first kiss and Pa spies the engagement ring…my heart flutters. Ma’s comment, “Sometimes I think it is the horses you care for, more than their master.” Laura answers shakily, “I couldn’t have one without the other.” and Laura knew they understood what she was too shy to say. THGY–Barnum Walks. What a lovely literary moment for me!

  9. I totally had a crush on Cap Garland from the books. They way Laura described him he really must have been a looker. There is the Garth Williams drawing of him catching the baseball that goes a long with the description. Plus, he went with Almanzo during the Long Winter and saved the town getting grain for food. Too bad he never did get married and actually died from a threshing machine accident at the young age of 26. He also dared Almanzo to go after Laura from the Brewster school by saying, “God hates a coward”. I think this is how he lived his life as a young man caring for his Mom and sisters in DeSmet after his Dad died. He had a true pioneers heart.

  10. Lots of Cap Garland love and a Jonathan Garvey vote! Nice. I sometimes wonder about Laura’s relationship with Cap – she admits she has feelings for him, then later decides it’s Manly she really wants. But was he her second choice? And Patty, I just finished re-reading THGY and that moment really stood out for me as well. Simple but so heartfelt.

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