Sunday, September 7, 2008

De-stressing Yourself With Historical Therapy

The following is my own personal therapy session. No charge for my visitors - - - -

Me on a horse at Historic Fort Wayne - Downtown Detroit

I have been to Greenfield Village at least a dozen times so far this year. I also visited the Dearborn Historical Society, which has a few historic buildings from the 19th century.

The 1840's Gardner House at Dearborn Historical Museum

I also went to the Crocker House in Mt. Clemens with their 1869 beautifully furnished Victorian home, and traveled out to Crossroads Village in Flint as well.

My wife and some very good friends at Crossroads Village
(note the wood-plank sidewalks)

This does not include my re-enacting events, which has taken me to a number of other historic villages such as Waterloo, which has a wonderful collection of historic 19th century structures, the Witches Hat Train Depot Museum, and they have a fine collection of turn-of-the-20th century buildings, Charlton Park in Hastings, another super collection of 19th century buildings, and Historic Fort Wayne - an actual fort built before the Civil War. Included in this fort are the officer's houses, a blacksmith shop, and a jail - all over a hundred years old.
And let's not forget my vacation this past April to Gettysburg.
And, to look toward the future (so to speak), within the next six weeks is a reenactment at the 19th century gristmill known as Wolcott Mill, and another living history event in Waterloo (fairly close to Jackson).

A home in the open-air historic village of Waterloo

Plus, I get to hang out at the East Detroit Historical Society 1872 Halfway Schoolhouse virtually any time I want, and, yes, I plan on visiting Greenfield Village at least a half dozen times more before the year is out (it's great to be a member!).
All of this in 2008.
And, to top it all off, my house - my 1944 bungalow - has a Victorian feel once you step through our doors. A Victorian that also includes a computer, digital TV, cell phones, etc.

Another photo shot at Crossroads Village - again, wood-plank sidewalks.
Wouldn't you love to live here?

One would think that, after all of the above that I would tire of historic places. On the contrary, I cannot seem to get enough and the continued visits just make me want to go back again and again. It's a comfort thing, I suppose. Almost therapeutic.
Well, no, it is therapeutic. It gets me away from all of the crap of today.
As I have said before, yes, I live in today's world. I am up on news and politics. I am aware of 21st century lifestyles. I accept and use modern technology.
But we all need that place we can go - real or imagined (or, in my case, a combination of the two) - to de-stress ourselves. Some folks go to bars, others to the casinos, others to a sporting event, and still others love to travel. For me, though, it has to be something historical. And, I have been lucky - nay, BLESSED - to have a family who shares my passion for history. Oh, maybe not quite to the extent that I do, but they enjoy re-enacting as well as visiting and studying historic places, and even dressing up in period clothing on the off-season here and there.
One of the questions I receive is, "Don't you get bored looking at the same thing (buildings) over and over?"
My answer to them is a resounding "NO!"
Every time I visit Greenfield Village, for example, I learn something new. ~Every time.~
Or I catch a glimpse of something I've never seen before.
But, mostly, I just enjoy the atmosphere. Even if I go for an hour just to walk among the old houses and farms, I can feel my stress leave and my muscles loosen, as if I were getting a rub-down from a massage therapist, only quicker and much cheaper.

My daughter and I at the Loranger Gristmill in Greenfield Village

I also have learned to lower my stress level through my writing, whether it's my time travel story, this particular blog, or my Greenfield Village blog (see links below). And, I started another blog for Crossroads Village as well, and hope to begin still another for other historical places in the general area.
It's like it's my own personal therapy session, only my psychiatrist is myself and my medicine is history.
Works for me!
By the way, here are a list of websites of the above-mentioned museums. Just in case you want to check them out.

Greenfield Village
Dearborn Historical Society
Crocker House Museum
Crossroads Village
Witches Hat Train Depot Museum
Charlton Park in Hastings
Historic Fort Wayne
Wolcott Mill
East Detroit Historical Society 1872 Halfway Schoolhouse



Ro the Elder said...

"Another photo shot at Crossroads Village - again, wood-plank sidewalks. Wouldn't you love to live here?"
LMAO, bro... I *DO* live there! You have to agree the house in your photo bears a strong resemblance to my circa 1850 domicile even though I'm a several hours' drive away from Crossroads Village (several days if you travel by stagecoach). I'm sure that house retains at least some of its historical integrity inside, a quality long gone from my house

I wish I'd seen my house before it was 'moderized' in the early 1900s, and 'updated' in mid-century, and 'trashed' in the 1970s and '80s. I'm sure I would still have modern plumbing and high-speed internet, but really, how many homes back then had 20x20 front rooms? I do wonder how it was originally set up.

Historical Ken said...

It absolutely DOES bear a very strong resemblance, dear sis! Like a mirror image, wouldn't you say?
At least on the outside.
I forgot that you own a 150 year old house, probably because the inside is so modern looking, like you said.
We gotta work on that...
You should put an ad in the local paper to see if any photos exist from long ago.

It's probably a week ride from Crossroads Village to your place by stage.

Historical Ken said...

Ro the Elder?
Are you going to start blogging?