These Happy Golden Years
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In the eighth "Little House" book, fifteen-year-old Laura Ingalls becomes a teacher at a Dakota Territory frontier school, becomes engaged, then married to Almanzo Wilder, and moves with him to a house of their own.
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As the story begins, Pa is taking Laura 12 miles from home in the dead of winter to her first teaching assignment at Brewster settlement. Laura, only 15 and a schoolgirl herself, is apprehensive as this is both the first time she has left home and the first school she has taught. She is determined to complete her assignment and earn $40 to help her sister Mary, who is attending Vinton College for the Blind in Iowa.
This first school proves difficult for her. Laura must board with the Brewsters in their two-room claim shanty, sleeping on a narrow sofa behind a curtain in their bedroom. The Brewsters are an unhappy family and Laura is deeply uncomfortable observing the way husband and wife quarrel. In one particularly unsettling incident, she wakes in the night to see Mrs. Brewster standing over her husband with a knife. Mrs. Brewster seems to resent Laura particularly, and is rarely pleasant to her.
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golden years are passing by, these happy golden years
Kitty felt her responsibility. She thought that she should hunt for them as well as for her own kittens. She brought in more gophers than all of them could eat, and every day she piled the extra ones by the house door for Ma.
"I declare," Ma said, "I was never so embarrassed by a cat's generosity."
“It is a good idea sometimes to think of the importance and dignity of our every-day duties. It keeps them from being so tiresome; besides, others are apt take us at our own valuation. ”
“Remember well, and bear in mind, a constant friend is hard to find.”
“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ”
“Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds would make it flicker because it would not give up.”
“The only stupid thing about words is the spelling of them.”
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
“Home is the nicest word there is.”
“There's no great loss without some small gain.”
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