Thanks to MACHMABEL on the SMK Forum. She started a thread asking us to name our favorite SMK moments. Here are my favorites:
Ed and I are talking about traveling to Europe again. Last time, we visited the village Wimmelbach, Germany, where the Seubert side of the family is from. This time we are thinking of visiting the village Mosonszolnok, Hungary, also known as Zanegg (in German) where the Rieners are from, before they immigrated to the United States in 1885. Zanegg was a German Catholic town until it was ethnically cleansed in 1946.
I'm having problems researching the Riener side of the family tree. First, the family Bible does not go any further back then Ed's great grandfather. Second, the Rieners are from an area around the Hungarian/Austrian border (near but not in Burgenland), and although I can read a little German, I cannot speak or read any Hungarian.
I’m looking for information on the village. What might we find there? Are there still Rieners in the area? Also need to know how travel is through Hungary, and if like most places in Germany and Austria, do they speak English, or is there going to be a language barrier problem?
A couple of days ago, one of my college buddies posted a video clip from 42nd Street on Facebook. A production I had the privilege to being apart of during my college days at Western Oregon State College (now Western Oregon University). It sure was a blast from the past. I'm amazed at how young we all look and I remember how much fun we had doing that musical. It brought back many fond memories.
Like most young girls, I dreamed of being a ‘Superstar.’ I had always been a ham, but also very shy. I know, an oxymoron. To me, acting was being able to break from my shell, be anyone I wanted to be, and thanks to the script, I always knew what to say. Although, I had a few small bit roles in some church productions, I didn’t start being serious about drama until I was in high school, where I immersed myself in all aspects of the theatre.
I had an incredible drama teacher in high school. I am grateful we had such a large drama department and a great Thespian troupe. My oldest son attends a small, rural high school where they only perform only two shows a year—so sad. He has become involved in theatre and I wish there was more opportunities for him.
Karen, my drama teacher, encouraged me to be a writer. She thought I was very creative and had a vivid imagination, but I wanted nothing to do with writing back then. No, I wanted to act. My first acting experience was a children’s theatre production of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, which I also one of the co-directors. For the most part, I was a behind the scenes gal, building sets, hanging lights, assistant directing, and stage-managing.
When I started college at WOSC, I was cast in my very first play production, A Christmas Carol, which was adapted and directed by the multi-talented Patrick Page. I was very active in the drama department and continued to perform, stage-manage, build sets, work on the stage crew, and was assistant shop supervisor. Two of my biggest achievements were being nominated for an Irene Ryan and attending ACTF in Anchorage, Alaska. I was also recognized in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. My favorite role, and the one most people recognize me from was the yellow high-top tennis shoe wearing fairy godmother in Sleeping Beauty. I really hammed up the role, and had a great time performing for the kids.
I finished my years at WOSC, graduating with a degree in Secondary Education. Then soon after I graduated I moved to Seattle, where I became a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees, stage managed countless productions, had an internship at Seattle’s Group Theatre, and worked great community theatres, like Burien Little Theatre, Mt. Baker Theatre, and Renton Civic Theatre. Later, I went back to school to earn a Masters degree in Theatre, with an emphasis in directing, from Western Washington University. I've directed Medea, Baby, From Five to Five-Thirty, A Christmas Carol, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Being a full-time mother and wife has limited the about of time I can devote to the theatre and I miss it, although I would not trade being a mom for anything. I would love to direct another play, and hope I have the opportunity soon. I miss the stage, the limelight, the applause, and the friendships. But for now I concentrate on writing, it keeps the creative juices flowing, and keeps me out of trouble.
“Old Dan Tucker wuz a fine old man,
Washed his face in a fryin' pan;
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel
Died with a toothache in his heel.”
My husband was singing this tune the other day as he went about his chores. Our oldest son looked at him, and asked, “What on Earth are you singing, Dad?” I shook my head, and thought how sad my boys did not grow up with Little House on the Prairie. (By the way, the song was what Mr. Edwards used to hum, and was played as a leitmotif for the character on the show).
Growing up, I was a huge Little House on the Prairie (LHOTP) fan, and every Monday night my family gathered around the television set to watch the Ingalls family. I enjoyed watching with my parents, yet knew they felt secure in letting me and my sisters watch it, with or without their supervision.
LHOTP was a great family show, and one of the longest running family series in television history. The show conveyed many themes and episodes were filled with values, love, friendship, honesty, sorrow, humor, hard work, and faith, as well as, laughter, tears, and even corniness. Laura, Mary, Carrie, and baby Grace loved and honored their parents and loved each other, even though they bickered like all siblings. Ma and Pa loved each other, stayed together, and disciplined their children with love.
Like most girls, I dreamed of being Laura. I was born and raised in the Bay area of California, very different from the wind-swept prairies of Walnut Grove; however, I could relate to Laura. I grew up in a family of all girls, was a Tomboy, and was stubborn like my ‘pa.’ I could be sweet one moment and vindictive the next, but only to those who did me wrong. I could see the humor in things and, of course, I would much rather be outside chasing my dog Bandit, or going fishing or swimming then working in the kitchen. In addition, while Laura grew up, so did I right beside her, I felt the same growing pains and trails, fell in and out of love, and had desire to become a school teacher.
The television series Little House on the Prairie was a loose adaptation of the classic "Little House" books. My love of the television series inspired me to read the books, and although the show loosely followed them, it did preserve the heart and spirit of the novels. I read all nine of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s "Little House" books, as well as, West from Home, On the Way Home, and several autobiographies. I also read all Roger MacBride’s "Rocky Ridge Years" books (aka the Rose years). And I still have the "Little House" books from my childhood. They are worn, with torn jackets, and missing pages, stained yellow with age, but every once and a while I go back and read them again and still cherish them. Perhaps "Little House" is one of the reasons I've always loved stories and storytelling.
Laura was an all-American girl, from a time honored, yet almost forgotten era. She was an early pioneer, and later farmer’s wife, out to tame the new frontier. The "Little House" years were a simpler time, where neighbors helped neighbors, and when people had to go without or starve. Today we have televisions, telephones, microwaves, automobiles, grocery stores and shopping malls, while pioneers lived off the land, made their own clothes, baked from scratch, rode horses or walked, and worked from dawn to dusk. Prairie life was not a fairy-tale.
I read that Laura Ingalls Wilder once said the reason she wrote her books was to preserve the stories of her childhood for today's children, to help them to understand how much America had changed during her lifetime. America and technology has changed a great deal in my lifetime, too. Society continues to change and evolve, and perhaps we need these stories more than ever. Perhaps we can stop and examine the present along with the past and maybe, just maybe, the past can teach us something.
"Hey. . . it's me."
I live in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains, in the State of Washington and I love camping, boating, hiking, and hanging out with my husband, our three boys, and two Bernese Mountain dogs.