Monday, January 12, 2009

Living History Preparations for 2009

Well, here it is, the end of another Christmas season. The tree came down Sunday, as did the rest of the decorations, and I am a little down. It always brings me down when we un-decorate. Plus, I had to put my wonderful period Christmas music away - well...I didn't have to. I suppose I could go on listening to those glorious sounds of Christmas past throughout the year, but then they wouldn't be as special. Plus, my friends would think me even stranger!
But there is some light shining brighter and brighter at the end of the tunnel - - - - - -
My thoughts and motivations are gearing up for the 2009 Civil War era re-enacting season! It's living history that will carry me through the doldrums of the bleak winter months ahead. In fact, this Saturday (the 17th) is the Michigan Roundtable in our capital city of Lansing and it's almost like Christmas to me. Of course, I know most of the events that will be brought up, but it's the surprises that get me excited. For instance, last year they brought back the Charlton Park event in Hastings after a four year hiatus. Having never been, I found it to be a great living history event despite an all-day rain. We were able to use a house built in the 1850's as our own for a mourning presentation, and that right there is a dream come true for any living historian - using an actual period home for a presentation.
I have hundreds of pictures from the 2008 season (thank God for digital tintypes) and have enjoyed re-living some of the events by looking at those photos. But, it's the coming year that I am looking forward to. More memories to make. More pictures to take. And even more friends to make as well. Both of the units I belong to seem to be growing at a good pace with new members joining all the time - with the country heading in the direction it is, no wonder we have more and more folks looking toward the past! And I really enjoy working with the 'fresh fish' - the newbies - I like guiding them in the right direction in doing living history. Mind! I am by no means an expert. There is a certain Mrs. Root and a Mrs. Christen who I look to and consult with many times for my own impression. They are the experts! And, it's through their willingness to share their wealth of social historical knowledge that gives me that want to study the era even more - I want to someday be where they are at for social history.
Watch. Practice. Read.
So far since the the new year has begun I have purchased six (or is it seven?) books on social history. One is a guide on oil lamps. Something good to know when teaching the patrons of everyday life of an era long gone. Another is a period fashion book for men, women, and children covering the years 1860 to 1880. No explanation needed for this book, is there? And still another is a facsimile of the 1824 Blue Back Speller by Noah Webster. Why this particular book? Well, if I actually were in 1863, this is more than likely the schoolbook I would have learned from as a youth in the 1820's/'30's. My children, being of school age in the 1850's and 1860's, would have studied from the McGuffey Reader. These are the things that complete one's Victorian counterpart's picture.
Like a very good friend of mine once said, I take my fun seriously. And I cannot wait to have some serious fun in 2009!
Or maybe it's 1863...


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