Friday, July 6, 2012

The Glorious Fourth

America. A country I love and cherish. A We the People country. Yes, even during the political turmoil of our modern day, I am a patriotic person and believe in my country.
It's my opinion that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world and I am proud to be a born and bred native!
And what better time to be an American than on the 4th of July - Independence Day!
That being said, a few of us celebrated the birth of this great nation the way we've done for a number of years: by going to Greenfield Village while wearing period clothing. Visiting a historic open-air museum while wearing clothing to fit the period just makes the past come more alive.
There were only seven of us from the civilians of the 21st Michigan reenacting unit I belong to that participated in our own little non-event event, but did we have a wonderful and patriotic time!

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well then, this posting should fill a book, for there are many photos here taken on our time-travel excursion - each one with a caption to tell the story of our transport into the past.
I hope you enjoy it.

After much research and studying, a few of us discovered the worm hole to transfer us through time...a portal to the past...

And before we knew it - Zap! we found ourselves back in 1862, riding in a railroad car pulled by a steam locomotive.
It was a pleasurable ride...though there was some uncertainty about what lay
It was fascinating to see the engine blow off steam

It wasn't too long before we exited at the train depot. We had a day to enjoy town before heading to the farm, so we strolled around to see the sights
There were plenty of picturesque areas for us to take photographs
The ladies enjoyed a spin on the carousel near the village green
Girls! Be nice!

Relaxing....and fun!

Lucky for us the train station was not too far from a tavern where we spent the night. Unfortunately, their rules had my son, Miles, and I sleeping in separate rooms from my wife and daughter. There were three other men sharing the room with us. We're definitely not used to that! Since there were no bathrooms (remember, we were now in 1862), our rooms were provided with a washstand, pitcher of water, a drinking cup, a towel, a chamber pot, and a looking glass. It cost us seventy five cents a person to stay overnight and to have a day's worth of meals.

When the dinner bell was rung, there was a general rush to the dining room, as if the patrons had not tasted food for several days. Very little conversation took place, each individual seemed to hurry on as fast as possible, and the moment one finished he or she rose and went away with others waiting to take their spot. There was no change of plates, knives, or forks, everything being eaten off the same plate, excepting pudding, which was taken in saucers. The foods that the tavern keeper offered came from local farms and grew wild in the countryside. There were three kinds of meat, side dishes of vegetables and salad - red cabbage was a favorite for salad for my wife because of its decorative appearance - and there were pickles and crackers and cheese.

It was a very popular place, this tavern, and supported the finest ‘orchestry’ music in that part of the country, especially the guitar player, who was a pattern of the old Beau Brummell of ancient times. He played the guitar that charmed all his hearers, and the lady singer sounded like an angel from heaven with songs such as "Some Folks Do" and "Shady Grove." This certainly helped to make that old tavern popular. The evening passed by quickly.

While we sat in the sitting room the following day waiting for our ride to pick us up, the proprietor, a rather opinionated man, informed us of the latest news, though he toned it down a bit with ladies present.
We didn't have to wait too long before our host family, the Firestones, arrived to pick us up on their cart. It was a pleasant but bumpy ride out of town and onto the country roads.

Just a few hours later we found ourselves on the lane heading toward the farm...

And what a beautiful and festive farm house, all decorated for the 4th of July holiday!

On our way to the house we passed some of the Firestone men harvesting the summer grain

And inside, the ladies of the house were preparing the afternoon dinner meal. It was the 4th of July and the excitement was mounting.
Patty helped by going to the cellar to get some jam

All of this cooking became quite messy!

Larissa made some festive homemade twirly things as part of the 4th of July celebration
My wife, Patty, also spent time crocheting gifts for the Firestone ladies

As it was a very hot day, standing near the barn proved to be a cool spot to take a break from crocheting
Once everything seemed to be going smoothly, a game of croquet was a fun way to pass time waiting for the dinner bell.

However, we decided not to eat with the family, since there were so many of us and the Firestone provisions were to last as long as possible. Instead, we chose to have a picnic 'neath a weeping willow tree near a covered bridge. We had brought cold cuts, egg salad, and lemonade.

It was picture perfect! There was a raspberry bush nearby and the kids picked a bowlful. My wife certainly enjoyed the fruit!

Back at the Firestones, my daughter took to farm life quickly... did my son.

The real treat took place in the late afternoon when the Firestones surprised us by pulling out their ice cream maker!

They had borrowed ice from a neighbor who happened to have an ice shed on their property to help make it ice cream. Miles was fascinated, only seeing this type of dessert coming from the store or Dairy Queen in our future time.

Is it ready yet? There sure was a lot of cranking going on to make it!

Yes! It was finally ready! Who needs DQ? This stuff was excellent!

Everyone enjoyed the cool taste of homemade ice cream on such a balmy day!

And then another surprise...a patriotic cake to help celebrate the 4th of July! Mmm mmm good!

The cake makers and bakers (with a little help from other family members)

Larissa and my daughter made something that when thrown out a window it should float down to the ground gently.

The attic window was certainly high enough. Whoa! That's a long way down!

Becky could not get her window open and tried to see what Larissa was doing

Whoops! Off the little festivity went, though it didn't float gently down as we had hoped.

Becky's didn't do much better!

The two ladies gave it their best! It was still fun!

As the afternoon wore on and the heat of the day was at its peak, sitting on the porch was the order of the day.

There is nothing like relaxing on a farm porch with family and friends

A tintype photographer happened by and offered to take our image. We obliged!
In fact, he took two images of us! In this one, Mrs. Firestone and two of her sons posed with us.

After the Firestones went into the house, I snuck my digital tintype and had one taken as well. He was quite confused at how the thing worked but didn't do too bad.
They showed Patty and I, along with our two youngest, the room in which we were going to bed for the night...

...and it wasn't long before the sun began to set - no daylight savings time in 1862 you know - and all went to bed. We were not used to going to bed so early. But life on the farm in 1862 is not like our life in the 21st century. With no TV, radio, computers, or even a bright light to read by, we, too, went to bed.

But before we knew it, the sun had risen. It was a new day on the farm. Unfortunately, we had to leave. The Firestones offered us a ride in their cart back to town, but we soundly turned them down. Where we needed to go they could not take us...
...and they would not understand...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Back in 2012, we enjoyed the neighborhood fireworks celebrating the modern July 4th.

Here's another modern way that many celebrate the 4th... case you think we only do things in a historical way...on the Saturday before the Glorious Fourth we had a great time with family at Cedar Beach in Lake Huron!

Just so you all know the kind of sturdy stock we are made of, it was 101 degrees in the Detroit area on the 4th of July - the day we visited Eagle Tavern and Firestone Farm in Greenfield Village. We felt not unlike our ancestors must've felt on such a day back in 1862.
We persevered. And there was very little whining.
Happy 4th of July (a little late).

(PS - No, we did not stay over night at the Eagle Tavern. No, we did not actually get a ride on the Firestone cart. No, we did not get to eat anything the presenters at Firestone Farm made. And no, we did not sleep at Firestone Farm. 
We did, however, eat at the Eagle Tavern!
Oh, and notice the more gray-toned photograph taken of the Firestone farm with the caption "in fact he took two images of us" This is an original photo of the Firestones taken back in the 1870's. But if you look closely, you will see that we are also in the picture.
Yep, proof that we were there and time-travel is possible!



GinaBVictorian said...

Oh how fun! I just love reading your posts, they really do take me back in time. Thanks so much! Gina

Lenette Alfirov said...

Great job and I love the 2nd photo the photographer took of all of you! LOL

Lenette Alfirov said...

I enjoyed taking the journey with you and I think the 2nd photo is fantastic!

An Historical Lady said...

What a perfect holiday!!