Posts Tagged ‘colonics and bonnets’


Pleasure on the Prairie – The Wilder Side of Laura Ingalls Wilder

We are proud to announce our first narrative non-fiction book, Pleasure on the Prairie: The Wilder Side of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is fondly known for her Little House on the Prairie books where she told stories about growing up in the latter half of the 19th century. The last book in the series recounted the first four years of her marriage to Almanzo Wilder and was only discovered and published many years later.

Laura did not choose to write about the years when she and Almanzo ran the Rocky Ridge Health Sanitarium. But now the story can be told.

What few people know about Laura and Almanzo Wilder is that after they built their home, Rocky Ridge Farm, they also built a health sanitarium of the kind so popular around the turn of the century. early 20th century. Best described as a small private version of John Harvey Kellogg’s famous Battle Creek Sanitarium (as depicted in the book and movie, The Road to Wellville). Here, the Wilders helped people improve their health through diet, exercise and certain medical practices. Unlike Kellogg, they did not eschew meat, but taught their guests how to combine their carnivorous appetites more properly with fruits and berries rather than the typical use of heavy grains or starchy potatoes as accompaniments to animal protein.

The Rocky Ridge regimen also included twice daily colonics that were infused with herbs that included peppermint, cayenne, chamomile, and cannabis.

Rocky Ridge Health Sanitarium was a happy place, not a stern one, and guests were encouraged to fraternize in special “Felicity Rooms.” Laura and her husband felt that physical release was one of the keys to good health and to that end, they saw to it that each Felicity Room had luxurious patchwork quilts, lace curtains, and brass bedposts that could be used in a variety of ways to increase physical pleasure.  Each room included a bonnet handmade by Laura or her daughter to be hung on the doorknob to signal to housekeeping and colonic therapists that the guests within were “engaged.”

At the Rocky Ridge Health Sanitarium, they promised – and delivered – pure prairie satisfaction and now, for the first time, Wilder’s journals of these missing years have been translated into a novel-length narrative non-fiction work by the writing team of Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne. Pleasure on the Prairie will include illustrations by the late Richard Scarry, who passed away in 1994 before he was able to complete his graphic novel, Erotic Adventures at Rocky Ridge. Pleasure on the Prairie is almost completed, and with its release this fall, we will give away the original bonnets that Laura made for the Felicity Rooms.

This fall, look for Pleasure on the Prairie: The Wilder Side of Laura Ingalls Wilder at fine bookstores everywhere.