Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Civil War Comes to Greenmead 2015

I really enjoy when a new reenactment comes along, if for no other reason than fresh scenery.  Only in its 3rd year, this one at Greenmead Historic Village in Livonia, Michigan is still considered a "new" event, and, yes, the scenery that surrounds it is beautiful, especially during the autumn time of year.
That's not to say I don't enjoy those events that are established, for I absolutely do. But having a change in venues with new ideas is always a good thing.
Greenmead is very relaxed. Oh, the quality is high, but there's very little pressure to be "on" all the time.
Yeah, I know----this is an unusual statement coming from me - the guy who does immersion and comes up with all sorts of ideas to bring the past back to life - but every-so-often I do enjoy time spent with my other reenacting friends not worrying about what time does this presentation or that activity take place. It also gives us more of an opportunity to speak with the visitors in a casual manner.
You need both types of reenactments for balance.
And that's the best part: we have enough of a variety of events here in Michigan that no matter what style one prefers, they will find something suitable to their wants.
That being said...let's take a pictorial journey to early autumn 1865 and see what is occurring in this little town called Greenmead:
Here is military camp. No battles but it was a great opportunity to speak with patrons about army life.

It was also a good time for newer recruits to fall in and march & drill with the more seasoned veterans.

One of the very best things about any reenactment is the FOOD! Yeah...we eat pretty well at our events, and many times there will be a potluck meal, so one gets to enjoy a little of everything. And a potluck took place here at Greenmead. 

No, this is not an 1860s Pippi Longstocking. It is Mrs. Folcarelli, the baker, and the ribbons in her hair just happened to get caught in an updraft of wind just as I snapped the picture. We laughed pretty good when we saw it and decided it was a keeper.

Have you ever wondered if people from the past ever acted as goofy as we sometimes do today? I've often thought about this and have come to the conclusion (with no basis in factual research, mind you) that they most certainly did! Why? Because as enlightened and as open as we like to believe we in the 21st century are today, we don't have the corner on fun. And since photos 150 years ago were not as common as they are in our modern life, people more than likely wouldn't have wasted their money on looking goofy for a tin type (though a few actually did). But while the old tintype cameras were busy taking the serious photo, however, who knows what may have occurred just out of reach of the lens...

Michigan Senator Jacob Howard as portrayed by Dave Tennies. Senator Howard worked closely with President Lincoln in drafting the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery.

My son, Rob, loves to spread out all of his accessories and accouterments and speak to the public about life in the infantry.

Meet Miss Adams (if you haven't yet already). I was visiting with her and a few others and noticed that the way she was sitting would make a perfect tintype, so I took her photo and "aged" it a bit.

And here she is again! As well as two other lovely ladies and one ugly long-haired mug in the middle!

On the left is someone you should know pretty well. If you don't then you are either new to my blog or you haven't been paying attention. 
(hint: her name is Kristen)~
On the right is someone who was not only a well-respected mainstay in the Michigan reenacting world, but a long-time employee at historic Greenfield Village: Miss Susie Lewis. After a ten year hiatus, Miss Lewis has returned to time-travelling, and we are so glad to have her "come back to us" again!

For those of you who may not know, Kristen, in her 21st century life, is a school teacher. Naturally, she sometimes will take on the same occupation in her 1860s life and always enjoys the opportunity to teach in a one-room school house.
Miss Mrozek calls the children to school.
It's late September and it's harvest time - since most of the children live on farms, they are needed at home to help with the harvesting of crops and all it entails, so it will be a few more weeks before Miss Mrozek's class fills up. 
But before the kids enter, a class photograph of the teacher and her scholars.
This is how it looked for us in 1865...

...and this is what the future sees.

Oh! What's this? A couple of the boys got into a scuffle! Miss Mrozek threatened them with a thrashing if they didn't stop the foolishness!

The scuffle escalated into a full-blown fight! Miss Mrozek tried to gain control of the situation, to little avail.

She picked up the youngest child and grabbed another while the other three continued their battle.

The young girl was quite distraught with the shenanigans caused by the ruffians.

But Miss Mrozek didn't give up and, after much huffing & puffing and vim & verve, she was able to overtake the spirited young lads, and settled them down enough to have them quietly enter the school.

This being such a cool fall day, coal was needed for the stove to warm up the classroom. It was the oldest student's job to take care of the heat.

The following is a video clip of Miss Mrozek teaching the children a few lessons:

See the children gaily shout,
"It's half-past four and school is out!"

No fear here in the 1860s. Children could climb trees and even play tag without the worry of adults afraid they might get hurt.
They had the freedom to be kids.
And no cell phones or video games.
Yep---truly another time and place.
We are always looking for new/old ways to bring the past to life, and Greenmead allowed a few of us to do just that. Relaxed event or not, sometimes some of us simply cannot help but bring bits of the everyday past to life in ways little seen elsewhere, such as the school scenario presented here. That's just the way we are, you know?
But I hope you enjoyed spending some time at Historic Greenmead Village.
And if you hear of a new event in your area, please do your best to support it. With the 150th Civil War anniversaries and remembrances pretty much over, there has been concern on whether or not this hobby will fall to the wayside. Well, as long as we can keep the interest of not only the visitor but of reenactors as well, we can continue to have a healthy, growing hobby.


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