Laura Ingalls Wilder
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|The Parlor Heating Stove
--Photo courtesy of the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association, P.O. Box 283, Malone, NY 12953-0283
In their red farmhouse, the Wilder family had a parlor that they used when they had company. When Mother and Father took a weeklong trip to visit Uncle Andrew, Mother instructed the children to mind Eliza Jane and not to eat all of the sugar. When Eliza Jane instructed Almanzo to polish the stove, he got upset with her and threw the blacking brush at her. It missed her and sailed right into the parlor, making a big black smear on the white-and-gold wallpaper. Almanzo was horrified because Mother was so proud of her clean parlor. Mother didn't find out about it when she got home, but Almanzo was sure that she would the next time they had company. When visitors were taken into the parlor two days later, Almanzo was afraid to go in. When he finally did he saw that the wallpaper had been patched to look just the same. You couldn't even tell there had been a black spot. Later Almanzo found out that Eliza Jane had patched it so well that Mother never found out.