What would you say if I told you of a stamp collector that purchased a stamp for $950? Would you say that he takes his hobby seriously?
What would you say if I told you of a coin collector who just purchased a coin for $1195? Would you say that she takes her hobby seriously?
How about the person who spends thousands of dollars restoring their classic 1941 Ford Coup to take to the car shows at the local bowling alley parking lot every Wednesday night during the summer months? Let's not forget the sign he has placed upon it that says "Do not even BREATHE on this car"? Would you say he takes his hobby seriously?
Would you say that the above hobbies are "just a hobby"?
I believe that the above hobbyists would take offense to the 'just a hobby' statement.
So, why is reenacting any different?
To explain...my sack coat cost $240, my pants (2 pair) $120, my shirts (2 pair) nearly $60, my waistcoat/vest $80, my shoes $110, socks $6 a pair (multiple pairs), my hat $40, my ties (2 of them) $40, and my underdrawers (2 pair) $40. Oh yes, and my period winter wool coat $150 (made by a friend).
Total that up and you'll find nine hundred bucks spent just on my period clothing.
Do you think I take my hobby of reenacting seriously?
I haven't even told you about my wife's clothing and accessories. Nor have I mentioned my two oldest son's Union uniforms, leathers, accouterments, brogans, or the two muskets. And what about my youngest son and my daughter's clothing?
Heck! I haven't even included our tent and fly, my postmaster supplies, our period dishes and glasses, children's toys, gas to get to the events...
One would definitely say that I take my re-enacting hobby seriously, I would think.
Now, I did not list the prices of my garments to brag or to be thought a fool of. And, yes, I am aware that their are seamstresses that can save one quite a bit of cash...sometimes. But, no, I write it out because I am sick and tired of folks - other reenactors, mind you - telling me that reenacting is "just a hobby!"
No, it's not.
It is a passion.
It's my solace.
It's a part of my everyday life.
It's what keeps me sane in an insane world.
It is what I look forward to doing on my weekends.
Would I (and so many others in both the civilian and military camps) spend so much of our waking hours studying every aspect of this hobby if it was "just a hobby" ?
Do I expect everyone to take it as seriously as I do? One could hope, but, no, in all reality, I do not expect it. Especially from those who say it's just a hobby.
By the way, I have also been told to "get a life" because I do take it so seriously; because I do spend so much time not only reenacting, but researching my hobby as well (see my previous blog on books to get a glimpse of how I do some of my research).
"It's just a hobby." "You need a life!"
Say that to the guy who spent his life savings purchasing, meticulously restoring, and showing his 1933 Model A at a parking lot car show.
I dare you.