When I entered the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I was ready for a swell of patriotism. My husband and I have been watching a HBO mini-series called "John Adams" and I felt fluent in the names, philosophies and effort that went into drafting our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. My middle/high school did not have a class trip to our nation's capital (as my nieces & nephews do) so this was my first chance to see the documents in person. I got a kick out of seeing John Hancock's John Hancock (supposedly written big enough for the King of England to see it) and finding John Adams' signature among his peers. It took a while to get through the queue, but it was worth it.
What I didn't expect to see, were paper artifacts related to favorite books from my childhood. I glanced in one glass case and saw a homestead document for Charles Ingalls' purchase of land in 1886. Charles Ingalls (father of author, Laura Ingalls Wilder) was the inspiration for the character we know as "Pa" in the beloved Little House on the Prairie series. Isn't that neat? A piece of paper that showed that there really was a "Little House in the Big Woods." Love it!