Post 1:
The Artifact in Question.

Post 1: The Artifact in Question.

From Tracy —

Welcome dear readers. The idea for Girls Gone Wilder began in the summer of 2010 as my friend Anne Laker and I descended into an extinct volcano. Technically it’s a caldera, but it’s called Crater Lake and if you haven’t been, you should really go.

Anyway, we were hiking down this steep trail to the lake’s edge and somehow the subject of our favorite 70s-80s television show “Little House on the Prairie” came up. Maybe it was because we were outdoors and suffering a bit.

And so we started to bring up our favorite and most hated episodes. “God I hated Albert, didn’t you?” was one comment. “Why didn’t Albert just shut up and die?” was another. “Do you remember the raping clown?” “What about the episode where the blind school burns down and Mary’s baby gets smashed against the window?” “Oh wait, didn’t Albert cause that fire?” And so on.

Anyone passing us on the trail probably thought we were insane.

And then my friend since freshman year of high school dropped her bombshell:

“Did I ever tell you about the journal I kept about the shows?” asked Anne.

“Noooooo! Do you still have it?” I asked in fear.

Her answer was yes. My mind reeled.

Once Anne returned back to Indiana she dutifully sent me her precious journal and Little House Newsletters (!) After showing some photocopies to a few of my friends here in Portland and hearing their delighted squeals I knew they had to be shared.

Soon after the idea for a blog based on these amazing artifacts began.

So every other week, we’ll post a new entry from Anne’s journal. As well as some photos of the journal itself and any YouTube videos related to the episode in question.

Anne will comment on her entry. And I will heckle her and be my usual snarky self.

One more thing — while we make fun of Little House on the Prairie, please don’t be mistaken. WE LOVED THIS SHOW. (And of course the books.) The fact that a simple entry like “Nellie throws a town party,” can bring back a flood of memories watching the show and play acting the show all these years later is proof of that.

Both Anne and myself would have gladly removed ourselves from our 1980s childhood world of Atari and mall food courts to have lived in a log cabin and been “country girls.”

Note: I can’t speak for Anne but I think I probably would have lasted about a month.

I am definitely a “town” girl to her “country” girl and hate camping. Just ask her.

— Tracy Ball, Portland, Oregon

PS: About the notebook itself: Not sure what I was expecting but this wasn’t it. I think I imagined a calico covered diary with a lock. But oh the wonders within this little unassuming spiral notebook!

____________________________________________________

From Anne —

Honestly, I think Tracy did fine on our Crater Lake camping trip.  It wasn’t primitive; there was running water, unlike on the Prairie.  But Tracy is right about “suffering” as a keystone of the Little House shows, and of the Ingalls’ lived experience.  Even as a ‘tween, I knew that this mix of suffering (Pa stuck in a blizzard) and splendor (oranges for Christmas) is the pattern of life, then and now.  A pattern highly masochistic, in the hands of Michael Landon.

So while other girls in my sixth grade class were getting their first hickies, I was documenting the high drama of the entire cycle of Little House episodes, over 150 of them in all.  Laying the groundwork for my future stint as a freelance film and food critic, I delivered a concise, usually dispassionate paragraph relaying the action of each episode.  Then I gave each show a rating of Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor.

I also “published” a missive called The Little House Newsletter, hand-copied in variously colored markers and mailed to my cousins Tera and Amber, who still share my prairie fanaticism and, at the time, play-acted Little House dramas with me in the woods across from our house in rural Clayton, Indiana.  More on this later.

Meanwhile, Tracy and I hope the simple concept of this blog will induce in you giggles, guffaws, incredulity, shock, and ultimately, a respect for the profound cultural impact of 1970’s television, conflated with the romantic mythology of U.S. history, as seen through the eyes of a 1980s pubescent.

I salute my great friend Tracy for “curating” my 30-year-old orange notebook and for setting up the backend of our shared “blog cabin.”*  I thank my mom, a librarian, for not throwing my notebook away.  And I thank Blanche Hanalis, who developed the Little House books for television, according to the show’s credits, which rolled before us a thousand and one times.

— Anne Laker, Indianapolis, Indiana

*Oh crap. Maybe we should have named this blog “Little Blog Cabin”. Damn. Even the URL is available.

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6 Comments

  1. Anthony
    Feb 28, 2012

    Really looking forward to this site!

  2. Veronica
    Mar 1, 2012

    Wow. I can’t wait to read more. My cousin posted the link to the blog for me on facebook. Wish I had kept my journals (not about Little House). 🙂

  3. Genevieve
    Apr 14, 2012

    I love your blog. I can’t wait to read more!

  4. Amber
    Jul 3, 2013

    Hi! So, excited about this blog! Looks like I have a lot of reading ahead of me!!

  5. Jen Mullen
    Mar 3, 2017

    My brother and I loved watching this show together. We lived in rural Arkansas and could barely get reception on our antenna to watch it. We still talk about “stupid Carrie “. He just sent me this link and told me to read it. I have only read the first post, and I am hooked! I totally could had been BFFs with Anne!

    • Tracy
      Mar 3, 2017

      Hi Jen –
      We’ve got 51 posts of (mostly) good TV memories for you right here. I will add that Anne and I loved this show. If we make fun of it a little too much from time to time it’s all in good fun. Enjoy.

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