Before I got into reenacting/living history, I recall seeing pictures of folks and artifacts from the Civil War era - bearded men in their sack coats and hats and hoop-skirted women in bonnets looking flat and ancient in the sepia photographs. I absolutely used to love going to the Greenfield Village outdoor museum in Dearborn (still do!), checking out the old homes from the 18th and 19th centuries, entering them to peer at a spinning wheel, an old-time looking dresser, candle and gas lighting, wood stoves, a corner what-not-shelf…the every day items of life long ago.
Now, have you noticed that, after being a living historian/reenactor for a number of years, things that you once considered antiquated, items such as those listed above, or even something as simple as a rosetta – have become commonplace in your life? Do you find that you are more interested in getting a new period vest with three pockets rather than a new pair of jeans? Or, if you are a female, do you get excited about the annual ball so you can show off that new bonnet you either made or purchased?
A number of years ago we added a large back room addition to our home – what modern folk refer to as a great room – and we have it decorated in a very Victorian style. Yes, because of modern laws, we had to install electricity, gas heat, and electric lighting, but it does give one the impression that they have stepped into the past. And now, upon returning from Greenfield Village, I don't get depressed like I used to. I sit in my "gathering room" and continue to keep that old time feeling.
So, one might think that my family and I ‘live in the past,’ wouldn’t you say? It would seem like it. But, if that were the case, I would not be writing in this blog, or watch my DVD’s, listen to my CD’s, or make calls on my cell phone.
I enjoy – no, absolutely LOVE - the past, but I live in the present. My mindset is somewhere in between, so I can incorporate the best of all eras into my life. From where I sit, I can take the best from the 1860’s and the best of the 21st century and apply it to my life today. Unfortunately, I am stuck with all of the CRAP of today’s leftist, socialist society without a choice.
And that’s why I reenact and decorate the way I do.