Walnut Grove, Minn.-Eliza Jane Wilder’s recent arrival to assist her brother Almanzo following his illness and stroke has caused Laura Wilder to briefly ponder how things ended between Eliza Jane and Mort Carstairs.
“Of course I assume they ended,” Laura tells The Prairie Review. “Eliza Jane showed up alone and never mentioned anything about Mort, so what am I supposed to think? She has never been successful with a man, but I thought maybe if she went for the right man…maybe Mort was that man, I thought.”
Mort Carstairs, frequent companion of Laura as she struggled to make it through her summer in Arizona, harbored an obvious crush on Eliza Jane, to which she seemed entirely oblivious as she put her energies into pursuing their married professor. By the end of the summer, Mort decided to accompany Eliza Jane to Minneapolis, where Eliza Jane indicated that there was a teaching job waiting for him.
“I wonder what happened?” Laura wonders aloud as she continues to wash laundry for three as if she weren’t heavily pregnant. “Maybe Mort used another baseball metaphor and Eliza Jane didn’t like it? If it’s something fun, she probably wants nothing to do with it.”
When The Prairie Review reached out to Eliza Jane for comment, she quickly changed the subject. “Excuse me,” Eliza Jane said as she turned away, “but I have to go tie Almanzo’s shoes. He needs me now more than ever.”