Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Little House Memory

In Honor My Mother-In-Law
Elida Espinosa

I haven't had a chance to write for a week due to a family emergency. Last weekend my husband and I learned his mother was in the CCU unit at the Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Texas. We left Kentucky soon after we heard the news. I drove 11 hours to Oklahoma where we stayed the night then drove another 7 hours the next day until we reached Odessa. Mom died four days later in the Hospice House. My mother-in-law's death was not a natural occurrence and there is a criminal investigation going on concerning her suspicious death. My husband and I couldn't mourn for his mother's passing because we knew it wasn't her time to die and that her death had been caused at the hand of another. I used to hear family members of murder victims say that they are progressing in life but are so tired. I never understood what that meant until this happened to my husband and I.  Life must go on and my mother-in-law would want her son and I to have a good life.

My mother-in-law was a sweet, very loving woman who wanted only the best for her four children. She had been raised by her grandparents. Her husband, Socorro, had passed five years earlier. He had been a ranch hand and migrant worker. Mom had worked as a migrant worker before she had children. After her eldest daughter was born she settled down in her husband's aunt's house and he went to work as a ranch hand. Her little family grew from her aunt, husband and Lupe to a family of six with the addition of my husband and his older brother, Roberto. Mom's father bought her a house next door and her family left her husband's aunt's house to live in their new home. Except her eldest daughter, Lupe, stayed behind to live with Aunt Manuela. Manuela had lost a child and her husband long ago. Mom felt sad for her husband aunt and said she could raise her eldest daughter. But dad didn't like the arrangement. Nevertheless, dad's aunt raised Lupe but Lupe never forgot her parents. A few years later mom had a daughter and named her Carmen.

Mom loved to watch the Little House on the Prairie series when it showed during the 70's. My husband and I decided the best way to honor mom was to visit the Little House on the Prairie site outside of Independence, Kansas. My husband and I arrived at the site in time to enjoy a picnic lunch in the same prairie where the real Laura Ingalls Wilder had ran and played with her sister, Mary. It was sereal to think that the character in the books and on the TV show was a real person. A little girl who could have well stood in the same place where we ate our lunch. I always knew that Laura was a real person. She had been one of my favorite authors who influenced my writing career when I was a child.

Charles Philip (Pa)  and Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls (Ma) arrived in Kansas with five year old Mary Amelia Ingalls and three year old Laura Elizabeth Ingalls in 1869. They had arrived on the Kansas plains with other settlers who thought the land was open for settlement. The small family lived in their one room cabin for little over a year. It was during this time that the family had contracted an ailment that would have killed them had not Dr. Tann stumbled upon the family. Dr. Tann was a black doctor that Laura mentions in her book. It is also at this Little House where the family meets Mr. Edwards. Mr. Edwards is actually Edmund Mason. Both Dr. Tann and Edmund Mason are buried in Independence, Kansas but in different cemetaries. Another major event for the Little House family occurred on this site as well. It was here that Caroline Celestia Ingalls (Carrie) was born.

Allison sitting outside the Little House on the Prarie.
Laura described the prairie in her Little House on the Prairie book "as far as they could see, to the east and to the south and to the west, nothing was moving on all the vastness of the High Prairie. Only the green grass was rippling in the wind, and white clouds drifted in the high, clear sky." The land was paradise for the little family. But it would not remain so for long.

Little did Pa know but the land he had chosen to settle on was part of the Osage Diminished Reserve. The Osage Diminished Reserve had been land the United States Government had set aside for the Osage Nation to use. The Osage Nation had migrated into the Kansas area during the 17th century. The Osage had been one of their hunting trips when the settlers, along with the Ingalls, had decided to settle on their lands. The Osage Nation was  constantly at war with the settlers. Laura was accustomed to seeing the Native Americans. In 1870, the United States Government bought the Osage Diminished Reserve from the Osage Nation but since Pa and other settlers had not filed a claim for their lands they were told they would have to leave or the US Army would force them to leave. Pa packed up his little family and headed back to Pepin, Wisconsin. It was easy for Pa to find a place to live in Wisconsin.  He had sold his farm three years earlier but the gentlemen who had bought it had never paid Pa for the transaction. Pa reclaimed his farm and cabin where he lived with his little family until 1874.


  1. Great Blog post Allison...such an heartfelt dedication y tribute, sonrisa...lo siento for this great loss in sus familia...BendiciĆ³n Dios/God Bless <3