"And once you run away from that environment in desperate search for places where more than 40 people gathered at any given time for something other than a bean feed (yes), you do not pick up something called O Pioneers!. A few generations back we landed in Kansas because of the Homestead Act, and there were sod houses involved. Do you know how incredibly boring Kansas History class was? There was like a month of sod houses, because no one wanted to talk about pre-Civil War terrorism or massacres of the natives or any of the actual interesting, controversial stuff, so sod houses it is!"
Jessa Crispin, in a post about discovering Willa Cather late.
This made me laugh. To this day I find the history of American pioneers to be the most supremely boring topic, ever. Sod houses—she’s right. (And I didn’t even really get the full dose of Nebraska history, because we lived in Colorado the year I was in fourth grade.) I always wonder if people who grow up in the South feel the same way about the Civil War.
I also had substantial sod house history lessons.
I have found myself, the older I get, fascinated, almost obsessed, with the history of the American west from around 1800 through about 1880. I mean, like, I can’t get enough. Westward expansion, mountain men, trappers and fur traders, Lewis & Clark, the Oregon Trail, the Louisiana Purchase, the California gold rush, etc. I have enough books to last me YEARS. And I’ve never read any Willa Cather. That’ll be remedied quickly.