Friday, September 25, 2009


"Socks?" I was thinking, an hour before showtime as I whizzed down Menomonies main st, "Socks?, I'm buying socks? Where the hell am I gonna find socks?"
Walgreens it turns out.
We arrived in Menomonie on Friday, in phone contact with T's collaborator Susan. Susan is the granddaughter of Carol Ryrie Brink and hence the great granddaughter of the real-life Caddie Woodhouse, whose name was changed to Woodlawn for the book. Susan was giving us directions to the Pin Cherry where we were all staying, but we Sheltanos were cruising the highways of Wisconsin, grooving on seeing what there was to see.
Our first stop was the Historic Mabel Tainter Theatre, where Caddie was being produced. Now, Menomonie is Caddies hometown, there is a Caddie Woodlawn park, her original real-life house is there, the book won a NEWBERRY award for crissakes! So why, when we pull in front of the theatre, is there a Laura Ingalls Wilder historical landmark sign?!? That damn Little House was on the PRAIRIE damn it, not in the Wisconsin woods! Shows the power of television, and it made THIS general manager and publicity agent DETERMINED to rectify the error.
The theatre is a gem, a jewel box, unbelievable. In the 1800's every small town in America had theatres and opera houses, and in keeping with the style of the period, they were high baroque. The Mabel Tainter is a particularly fine example of delightful, over-the-top ostentation.(And I use that word with love) The whole place is covered in gold-leaf, the seats are gold velvet, the curtain is gold with tassels. Exquisite.
We give ourselves a walking tour, then try to find the Pin Cherry. Silly me, I figure if it is on 650th st, that the numbers have to be consecutive. Hah! We gave ourselves a serious round and round until we found the place. No more mocking GPS'. But hey WI how about an explanation as to why 670 comes before 650 and after 540?
We do make it to the inn, eventually, and it is very pretty. The owner had a baby the night before we arrived, so she isn't there, but the best cream (FRESH) I have ever tasted is.
We meet our director, over drinks, and then toddle off for fish fry and cheese curds. If there is a heaven the clouds are made of cheese curds. Screw the diet, feed me fried cheese and let me fatten like a dairy cow!

1 comment:

yatsu said...

As a former Laura Ingalls Wilder geek (oh, the shame of misspent youth), I had to chime in and note that the "Little House" series starts with "Little House in the Big Woods," about the family's time living in a cabin in the woods of Wisconsin ... before all that damn prairie business (as filmed in the hills outside Simi Valley).

Yours geekily,