Little House on the PraireSo have you seen the article about research concluding that Mary from the Little House books probably didn’t lose her eyesight to scarlet fever?
I LOVED the Little House books when I was young. I completely wore out the full set of paperbacks. I mean, they were tattered. I wanted to be Laura (and with my hair and freckles, it wasn’t a stretch). Mom even made me a sleeping cap like the girls wore on the television program.
So now researchers have concluded that scarlet fever was unlikely to have caused Laura’s older sister Mary to go blind. She probably had another fever-related illness that caused her to lose her eyesight when she was 15.
I’ve seen quite a few links to articles about this lately and while I’ve read a few of those (being such a huge fan!) all I can conclude is–who cares? At the time Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the books the consensus was that her sister went blind as a result of scarlet fever. And it was the family’s reaction to the blindness and all that resulted from it that are interesting. Laura began teaching to earn money so Mary could go to the school for the blind. Mary met her husband. Laura began writing. Lives were changed, relationships were forged, the future was set in motion.
And the future included a series of wonderful books that helped shape me when I was a child. Was it scarlet fever, brain fever or a spinal disorder that changed Laura and Mary’s lives? I really don’t care. I’m just grateful the Ingalls family allowed a painful circumstance to influence readers for generations after.