Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sharing Little House on the Praire with a daughter

Marie Howe writes in Oprah's O. magazine about the pleasures of sharing Little House on the Prairie with her adopted Chinese daughter during their own hard economic times.

Marie Howe will be inaugurated as State Poet tonight in Page Hall.

The Hard-Times Companion

Inspired by the trials and triumphs of a resilient pioneer family, Marie Howe and her daughter find the joyful rhythm in a pared-down life.
Last summer my 8-year-old daughter and I returned to New York City after I didn't get the very lucrative job I'd hoped for in another city. Let's go home, honey, I said, and downsize into simplicity. And so we came back to our tiny fifth-floor walk-up apartment in the West Village, gave away or stored a lot of our stuff, and resettled into a space the size of a very small houseboat. Within two months the economy began to wobble and then falter.

It seemed a good time to read the series I'd known as the Little House on the Prairie books, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'd never read them as a child, had only glimpsed the TV series, and autumn was upon us. We sat on the couch under the lamplight, the book in my lap, my daughter leaning against me, warm and fresh from a shower. Through our two front windows: the worn red bricks of the 19th-century buildings across the street, and beyond them, the gleaming Empire State Building shining over the darkened city.