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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Box Car Children - 70th Anniversary

Cabin remains similar to the cabin we used as children, in
Delaware County, East of Manchester and just one mile south of
Masonville, Iowa; on old highway 20.
As a young girl living on a farm in Northeast Iowa, my sister and I would often ride our horses down to an abandoned stone pioneer cabin, at the corner of our farm to read, eat sack lunches and wile away an afternoon.  Since our mother did not know where we were -- having ridden off on the horses, we were safe for the entire afternoon.  The sun warmed us  through the open roof - and stumps provided stools for sitting - and a stone table to spread our lunch.  When it was raining or otherwise nasty weather we sometimes sneaked away to a "chicken coop" out behind the barn.   The chicken coop was not as much fun as the stone cabin but it did provide shelter, a dry refuge, and a place we could dream of being on our own.  Later I discovered a store room in our old farm house, and that room I saved all for myself.  Not even my sister knew where I retreated on cold wintery days.  But nothing could equal the thought of living like the Box Car Children in Gertrude Warner's stories about the Alden children - -Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny.  This picture (below) found by the current publishers, Albert A. Whitman and Sons, is exactly how I envisioned the Box Car used by the children.

Even today, I would love to have this space to myself -- perhaps as an office.  Wouldn't  that be so much fun?  Children who want the joy of having a space (a REAL space) for themselves still revel in reading The Box Car books  -- the series, now expanded, are still being published and Putnam, CT the home town of Gertrude Chandler Warner has established a museum in recognition of the books and their continuing appeal to readers.
Check out more information about the museum and the books by following these links.

And in the fall of 2012, readers will get a chance to find out about the life the four children lived before becoming the Box Car Children.  In a book by Patricia MacLachlan, The Boxcar Children® Beginning: The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm, readers will meet "Mama" and the family living on Fair Meadow Farm.  Read all about the prequel.

Booklist of secret places to come:  (please check back)

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