On Wednesday morning we all got up around 7:30 for breakfast. At 8 we left Javans and headed for Mansfield, Missouri. Around 10:30 we arrived at Laura's last home, Rocky Ridge Farm! We went in the museum and bought tickets. While we waited for the tour of the house to start, we looked around and watched a video about Laura that had recordings of her voice on it.
Before too long we went on the house tour. Daddy stayed outside with Charles because he usually got fussy and didn't like to be inside! (He took a tour later with another group.) We had a little old lady for our tour guide. Mom described her as a recording. She said, "It's like she has a recording in her mind." She saidd t hat because a time or two the guide got distracted, so she'd rewind about 5 sentences and start there and repeat exactly what she'd said before! :)
We walked into the house and found ourselves standing in Laura's kitchen looking at the very things she used to cook with and serve meals on! The tour guide told us that everything in the house was just like it was when Laura lived there except the flooring and wallpaper were replicas. She went on to tell us what the slot made in the wall between the kitchen and dining room was used for - Laura would fix a meal and put the food on the "window sil", then she'd go around and put the food on the table. Afterward she would out all her dirty dishes on the "window sil" and then go around and wash them in the sink that was right by the slot. She said she saved time that way!
The guide also told us that the newest thing we saw in there was the refrigerator. Rose bought it for them, but Laura didn't want to give up any of her precious floor space. She saw the broom closet and decided that it was the place for the fridge, so out came the brooms and in went the fridge! They had to add a little bit on outside the house to make it fit.
As we went through the house the guide told us interesting things, like - they used an old radio for storage (Almanzo took the inside parts out! They didn't throw anything away!) She also told us when Laura had parties, she served apples from her orchard and popcorn from her garden instead of ice cream and cake. Another interesting thing was that Almanzo hooked rugs. She said one time he needed something to do, so he took up hooking rugs! One room in the house still had the original linoleum on the floor! The guide said they've toured literally thousands of people through there and it still looks good. All she can say is "they don't make things like they used to"!! :)
Another story the guide told us was about the huge rocks that made the fire place in the living room. She said Laura found these big rocks she wanted to use for the fire place, so she showed them to Almanzo. He didn't like the idea of all that work so he brought home a load of bricks to try to persuade her differently! Laura wasn't one to give up easily and she wanted those rocks, so she shed a few tears and guess what? She got her rocks! :) Too soon it was all over and we went outside thinking about all that we had seen that day. The museum was also full of interesting things to look at! All kinds of things that belonged to the Ingalls family and to Rose - Pa's fiddle is there and gets taken out and played once a year, clothes they wore, quilts they pieced, lots of items that Laura mentioned in her books and much more. It was a lot of fun!
After the homestead tour and museum, we went to the Rock House that Rose had built for her parents. She sold a story for $10,000 and used it to build them a house for their retirement. Rose directed all the building of the house and the guide said she's heard Rose made them re-build the chimney from 1 to 5 times! She finally said she would accept it but insisted it was still crooked! The guide said she guesses Rose was right because it still leaks sometimes when it rains.
Rose bought all the furniture for the house and everything was very expensive. She ended up spending $11,000 on the house. It was a 6 room house with a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, dining roomm parlor and another room where Laura wrote a lot of the Little House books.
Rose also bought them a car! The guide told a story about how Rose taught Almanzo to drive the car he didn't know how to stop the thing, so he pushed the break and gas as hard as he could and pulled on the steering wheel and yelled "Whoooaaa"!!! The car ended up in the ditch with quite a bit of damage to the bottom of it! :)
Almanzo and Laura lived in the Rock House about 8 years and Rose lived in the Farm House. But after Rose moved away, Almanzo and Laura immediately packed up and moved back to the Farm House!
After that tour we looked around in the gift shop and used up the rest of our money we'd saved for the trip and then it was time to load up and head for Arkansas!