By Emily Senger - Monday, February 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
Mary Ingalls, older sister to Little House on the Prairie author and heroine Laura…
Mary Ingalls, older sister to Little House on the Prairie author and heroine Laura Ingalls Wilder, likely didn’t go blind from scarlet fever, say a team of American researchers.
A more likely cause is meningoencephalitis, writes senior author Dr. Beth A. Tarini in findings published in the journal Pediatrics on Feb. 4.
The team made the discovery by piecing together newspaper reports, school registries and unpublished writings from Ingalls Wilder, which included memoirs and letters.
In these documents, Tarini and her team found evidence that suggested that Mary Ingalls likely had some kind of a stroke, with a newspaper report saying that she was confined to bed with “spinal sickness” and paralysis on one side of her face.
“Meningoencephalitis could explain Mary’s symptoms, including the inflammation of the facial nerve that left the side of her face temporarily paralyzed,” Tarini says in a release, “and it could also lead to inflammation of the optic nerve that would result in a slow and progressive loss of sight.”
So, why would Ingalls Wilder make up scarlet fever as the cause of her sister’s blindness? Scarlet fever was a very real, and often deadly, childhood disease at the time Ingalls Wilder was writing, and one of the paper’s authors thinks that maybe Ingalls Wilder and her editor chose scarlet fever because young readers would be able to relate to it more easily.
By Joanne Latimer - Friday, November 9, 2012 at 9:20 AM - 0 Comments
Imagine if Wendy Mesley had played a supporting role on the television show Anne of Green Gables, under the tyrannical rule of a stage mother, and that she had kept her abusive childhood a secret until now, revealing it in a memoir. That’s how explosive this book is to American television audiences.
At eight years of age, Francis was already a seasoned actress in TV ads when she landed the role of a lifetime on Little House on the Prairie. She played the orphan Cassandra, sister to Jason Bateman’s character, both adopted by Ma and Pa Ingalls. (Michael Landon, Francis writes, had “the magnetism of God and Santa Claus rolled into one.”)
Francis paints a damning portrait of her mother’s narcissism. Prone to violent mood swings and irrationality, she began a downward spiral of bad behaviour and fiscal mismanagement—not to mention the complete neglect of Francis’s older sister, Tiffany. The examples of emotional and physical abuse are shocking. Francis’s dad gets off easy, although his passivity is inexplicable. Francis gets through Harvard and forges a successful career and marriage. Tiffany isn’t so lucky.
Anyone reading this book for Hollywood gossip will be disappointed. There’s only one tidbit: Francis acted in a short-lived NBC television series called Morning Star Evening Star with a young Joaquin “Leaf” Phoenix, memorable for being a home-schooled vegan who’d never had a birthday party. There’s no dirt on Melissa Gilbert or Landon’s alleged womanizing. No matter. The antics of Francis’s mother are more than enough. While Francis’s fortune is squandered and her sister faces death, this Mommy Dearest provides a jaw-dropping conclusion that will make this book a bestseller.
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