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Loving Melissa Sue Anderson - By TJ Radwell III

The first time I saw Melissa Sue Anderson was not on "Little House On The Prairie," but on another of my favorite shows, "The Brady Bunch." She was the girl who gave Bobby Brady his first kiss in the episode "Never Too Young." I didn't even know her name, and I didn't even know it was the same girl who played on "Little House On The Prairie" until years later, but I thought she was cute.

I first heard the name Melissa Sue Anderson the same way most of the rest of the world did, when she first appeared on "Little House On The Prairie" in the role of Mary Ingalls, the oldest of the 4 girls in the family. She could take care of her younger sisters, Laura and Carrie and Grace, and still be a kid. I thought it was a great show, and Melissa Sue Anderson played Mary well. It wasn't until later in the series that I saw how great an actress she really was.

The character of Mary Ingalls had become blind, not because a writer thought it would be a good plot twist, but because this was how the life of the real Mary Ingalls developed, as the TV series was based upon the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The episode of "Little House On The Prairie" where Mary became blind for the first time was one of Melissa Sue Anderson's best. When you saw it, you BELIEVED she couldn't see, and you could FEEL how upset she was. She became the first actress to play a blind regular in a TV series.

Then, thankfully, they separated the television series and the books. In the books, Mary left the Ingalls family, but in the TV series they followed Mary as she got married and started a school for blind children. They even let her develop her acting skills even more when Mary's husband regained his sight, and she began to wonder if he could live with taking care of a blind wife. Of course, he could, but it was a standout episode for Melissa.

These are just a few of my memories of Melissa Sue Anderson, and her triumphs as an actress. She made the character of Mary Ingalls stand out, and I'll never forget her.