Saturday, July 30, 2016

American Graffiti Comes to Life: Cruisin' & Car Shows

My autographed copy of the American Graffiti 
record album poster. 
I met "Laurie" (Cindy Williams) and "John Milner" 
(Paul LeMat) at the Woodward car cruise. Both actors 
were very nice and happy to talk about their
American Graffiti adventures, including LeMat,
who told me what a pain in the butt the '32 Coupe
was to drive.
American Graffiti has always been in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. I saw it when it first hit the theaters way back in, I believe, 1973. In fact, I saw it three or four times at the show that year. Of course, this was in the era of no home video - and certainly no DVD/BlueRay - once it left the theaters, so I had to wait for it to be shown on television, all cut up and filled with commercials (though I did have the soundtrack album as well as the scripted book that I read repeatedly).
Once video cassette recorders became the rage, the movie came out on VHS, and I naturally purchased it...at an exorbitant price (again, at an age before they realized there was money to be made by folks willing to buy movies for home use), but I just had to have it, so I paid whatever they asked.
And now American Graffiti is on DVD and Blue/Ray, all cleaned up and sounding amazing in its digitized format.
Looking back on my love for that movie from today, I find it crazy to think that the story took place only 11 years previous - "where were you in '62"?
I mean, really? Had times really changed that much from 1962 to 1973 that a short 11 year span could be considered nostalgic?

But if you look at what occurred in those 11 years - Kennedy's death, The Beatles and changes in music in general (Duke of Earl to A Day in the Life to Dazed and Confused to Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys), Vietnam, protests (civil rights & anti-war), the death of Martin Luther King jr, drugs & the counter-culture (think hippies and Woodstock), fashions (long hair for men, mini-skirts for women), man on the moon - I suppose the differences from '62 to '73 was pretty drastic.
Nowadays, ten years is a blink of an eye, isn't it?
But nostalgia still reigns.
Another lifetime ago, Chuck Berry wrote (and sang) "Ridin' along in my automobile........my baby beside me at the wheel...." a teen anthem of the time.
But cruising, that great national past time once belonging to the youth of America, now belongs to middle-aged men (and women) who have the money and passion to relive their past, and they do so by searching out and painstakingly restoring either a car they fondly remember as a teenager or maybe a dream car they had always wanted to own but never could.
So, instead of traveling back in time to an era from before my birth (as I usually do), I, instead, spent Father's Day weekend closer to my own personal "nostalgia zone" of my own time - the 1950s, 60s, and 70s - and enjoyed our local Gratiot Cruise as well as the Motor Muster at Greenfield Village. 
A '57 Chevy Belair convertible - the ultimate 1950s dream car.

In fact, here is a whole slew of Chevy's from the mid-50s!

Sitting right next to the turquoise Chevy was this pink Thunderbird (not sure of the year - - 1958 maybe?)

And the T-Bird from the back end


Gratiot (pronounced grah-shit - - it's French) Avenue has a long history of cruisin' here on the east side where I live. Beginning at 8 Mile Road and heading north through around 14 or 15 Mile Road, the strip would be crawling with cars. And I do mean crawling, for, at one point there were so many cruisers that it was stop and go through most of the ride. I know this for fact, because there were plenty of steamy Saturday nights where I was part of this jam up, radio cranking out the Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith (obviously, I was a teen in the 1970s). 
But most of us didn't drive the souped up rides that we see at most cruises these days:
Pretty cool, eh?
But instead we usually drove our father's car. My dad had a '74 Torino. Brown. A.M. radio only (CKLW-the big 8). Most others had at least an F.M. radio. If they were really cool they might have had an 8-track or a cassette player.
Now, if someone had their own car, it was more than likely an old she-bang with plenty of bondo holding it together.
Okay, maybe not quite like this...
Actually, to see a car like this on Gratiot in the 1970s would have been the ultimate cool, no matter what the condition.  But we never saw anything like this while cruising in the 70s.
Nor did we see anything like these rides...
But, I suppose, those who cruised in the 50s and early 60s were the lucky ones to see these kind of rides.

However, in the mid-70s, I did see a few of these awesome cars out on Gratiot:
This collection of stock cars are all from the great year of 1961.

And we saw plenty of 60s Mustangs out on Gratiot as well.
According to the sign, this '65 Mustang is all original, including the paint job. How cool is that?

For me, as a living historian, I find that cruisin' and car culture are more than just looking at the cool rides moving up and down the avenue. It can *almost* become a reenactment, if done correctly.
I suppose anyone can sit in a parking lot, hood open on their classic auto, and speak about the restoration process or what's in the motor to anyone who happens by.
But to beef it up a bit and maybe add a little bit of cultural history to their display, well, now you have a draw that goes beyond the car itself.
Now you're telling a story...giving a social history lesson...
...such as the following photos show - - - 
Vacation's all I ever wanted...
The following few photos reminds me of vacationing with my parents back in the day. I remember stopping off at a park somewhere along our ride up to Mackinac Island and it looking very similar to what you see here:
As a kid, I thought station wagons were the greatest car. As an adult, they went out of favor and mini-vans took over.
Mini-vans aren't so cool. At least to me they aren't.
What a great display of accessories from the 1960s. This is what made this car come alive.
Sitting neath the shade of a nearby tree worked great while having a travel picnic. Unless there wasn't a tree nearby, then nestled next to the car itself worked almost as good.
A couple of sandwiches, snacks, and a bottle of Coke.
Oh! And don't forget the Kodak Duaflex twin lens camera, where the "view finder," located on top of the camera, flipped whatever the lens saw upside down. Yep - we had one of those!
This is my youth.
To add to the total atmosphere, dressing in clothing to suit the era presented can go far in giving the visitor a sort of time-travel experience. For instance, here is a couple at an old car festival who really have taken that major step to bring the era of the 'horseless carriage' to life:
Now this is the way to present your historic vehicle!
You see, bringing the past to life can be so much more fun than just sitting on your chair watching people move along. I believe dressing the part will also attract more visitors to your historic car. 
Sort of like what we do in the historic reenacting world.
These lovely young ladies, known locally as the Motor City Belles, help to bring WWII America to life by dressing in their early 1940s finest.
Of course, posing next to authentic World War Two-era military vehicles always makes for a good backdrop!
  
One of the Motor City Belles happens to be a good friend of mine:
Besides the Motor City Belles, Jillian is also a master presenter at the historic homes inside the open-air museum, Greenfield Village. And, if that isn't enough, she has also been reenacting the Civil War era as a member of the 21st Michigan reenacting group for a number of years as well. In fact, you may recognize her as one who portrays my youngest 1860s daughter at some of our living history immersion events.
That's Jillian front left in the white dress as a young lady of the 1860s.
And below in living color in the 1940s. 
 

At the Motor Muster held at Greenfield Village every Father's Day weekend, they have taken the extra step to help folks understand that car culture is more than just sitting with your hood open. They have a 'pass & review' where a large grandstand is set up, and it's here that one can hear about the many different styles of cars - not only stock, but hot rods, too:
It's hard to tell from this picture, but this car is peeling out - the tire was spinning, screeching, and laying rubber as it did so.

They also had a special military vehicle presentation. What was very cool about this was the gentleman you see in the center is a WWII vet, and he was announcing this would be his last Motor Muster. He received a standing ovation.

One of the things I have said to people over the years is that music - especially rock and roll music - burgers, and cars historically go together. What would American Graffiti be like without the awesome music to go with it? One of the best scenes in the movie (if there is a best scene - they're all great!) was during the freshman hop, watching the teens dance as Herbie & the Heartbeats (Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids) played "At The Hop."
Well, the good folks at Greenfield Village have a record hop on the Saturday evening of Motor Muster. They used to have a 1940s USO radio show, which was very cool, for there was an actual live Big Band playing the swing hits of the day.
But that ended three years ago when they decided to change it up a bit to a teen record hop. As much as I love Big Band and Swing music, I'm really enjoying the record hop!
They began this change by playing the hits of 1963. Last year it was 1964. This year? You guessed it - 1965!
Many of the young historic house presenters are asked to become a teen from the 60s and get all dressed up in period-appropriate clothing and hair styles.
Are they excited to do so?
You betcha!

Foot Fashion.
Even some of the patrons will dress up in the style of the day. In fact, last year, my daughter did a bang-up job replicating the look of Mary Weiss, lead singer of the great girl group, the Shangri-Las:
...don't you think?
She did a great job...



The Greenfield Village dancers did a fine job replicating the past, dancing to the latest hit tunes on the WKNR (Keener 13) Music Guide, including...
"The Boy From New York City"...

...doing 'the Freddie' to "I'm Telling You Now"...

...to "Shotgun."
But some my favorite pictures that I took (besides the Jillian porch photos) was of these two young ladies from very different eras in time. The colonial girl on the left is a presenter at the 1760 Daggett Farm House just getting off work, and the young lady on the right was portraying a Rosie the Riveter from the 1940s.

"My, the customs of your time have withered much from my own."


No, they're not the Supremes, though they did sing two Supremes' songs. Can you guess which one they're performing here?

Remember when I wrote above about how car shows and culture are much more than *just* cars?
Well, here you go - - - 
Not too far from where I live is a classic 'drive-in' restaurant called "Eddies,"where the waitresses are on roller skates (not roller blades) and the whole atmosphere is very retro, including the neon lights and the cool oldies from the 50s and 60s played on loud speakers. 
The food is classic as well (various types of burgers, dogs, fries, and cokes) and is delivered to your window by smiling waitresses.
Let me tell you, these girls can skate!
Now that's car culture.
That's rock and roll.
That's cruisin'!

And finally, I also enjoyed seeing the historic bicycles displayed by folks who restore them, including these two owned by my friend (and Civil War reenactor) Jacob:
These bikes have been in his family since they were made - - one from the 40s and one from the 60s.

I wish I still had the bikes I remember from when I was a kid...

WWII Wacs?

Now, this Good Humor sold-on-a-bike was before my time. It is from 1948.
The earliest Good Humor that I remember, from the late 1960s, was on a motorized truck that had jingling bells signalling "the ice cream man" was on our street.

We'll end this week's posting with a picture of this balding guy who still keeps what hair he has left long standing next to his lovely wife.
Yeah...it's not often 'modern Ken' is seen in Passion for the Past.
But I do exist...see?
Reenacting the 21st century...or maybe the 1970s with a touch of 60s thrown in.
Either way, I'm more of a farb in the 21st century than I am from past centuries!
I suppose that's a good thing.

Until next time, see you in time.




























.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Charlton Park 2016: The Return of Mr. Bagley (and Other Tales From the 1860s)

~Welcome~
Who shall I say is calling?
Finding people - the right people - is of utmost importance when trying to bring the past to life. And that can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you take the 1st person/immersion path. Like-minded reenactors who share the same passion and have enough knowledge of the era in which you depict - those who can speak comfortably, as if they actually were from another time - will make all the difference in the world. That means research, research, and more research.
This can be a difficult task. Many reenactors want nothing to do with this form of reenacting. I would venture to say most stay away from it. So finding the right people can sometimes be like searching for a hat in a haystack - not as difficult as finding a needle in that same pile of hay, but you do have to do some searching. And once you find those you connect with, who have the same mindset as you (especially if your surroundings are historically accurate) consider yourself blessed, for it can open up an entire new/old world.
History come to life.
Guess what?
I found living historians with that very same mindset! Or, rather, we found each other.
The time?
Time to begin our journey to the past!
I have been very fortunate in that I've been 'working' with most of the same people in this capacity for a number of years now, and we just all seem to fit together like pieces of a historical puzzle. We know each others personalities,  roles, and styles well enough to come off natural and be comfortable with each other, and that, too, can make all the difference.
Yes, it takes time - lots of time - but the end result is so well worth it.
This style of living history is, to me, one of the major highlights during our reenacting season. And I appreciate very much that the good folks at Charlton Park has enough trust to allow us the use of their historic home year after year. And it's because of this allowance that we continue to try to make it better and more realistic each time.
Charlton Park, in case you are unaware, is a wonderful mini-open-air museum located in rural Hastings, Michigan. "Charlton Park depicts more clearly than conventional museums the day to day life of the early inhabitants of Barry County. The variety of old objects collector Irving Charlton amassed over years during the mid-20th century enabled the creation (or recreation) of a typical mid-Michigan village of the late 1800s to early 1900s."
And now there are twenty five historic residences, businesses and community buildings that were moved from throughout Barry County to create the village.
Because of Charlton's collection, preservation for future generations of a rich heritage will ensure future generations opportunities to witness the past in ways books cannot do.
And we, as living historians, get to bring it to life!
Please understand, we are by no means 'perfect' in this venture; we do make our mistakes, sometimes burst out in laughter in ways our Victorian ancestors would have been horrified, take photographs here and there (as 'stealthily' as I can and not in front of the visiting public), and well, let's face it, we're only 21st century people emulating the past the best we can. But we make a valiant effort that, for the most part, comes off in a realistic manner.
And that's what counts - the conscious effort made by all to do it right. 
So, to give you an idea of our day at Charlton Park - -
It's July of 1861. We are a Maryland family who, since the election of Lincoln as President, have decided to align ourselves with the south - the Confederate cause.
Here is my 'immediate' reenacting family:
Once again, Larissa and I were husband and wife, but this year we had a "new" daughter. As Kristen & Jillian had previous commitments, Amanda filled in and did a fine job for this, her first time out, especially considering she was thrown into the wolves den (meaning she hadn't done anything like this to this extent before).
Bravo Amanda!

As the story goes, my sister and mother-in-law were coming in by train and then by stage from Michigan to our local stagecoach stop, the Bristol Inn. The ladies of the 24th Michigan have taken to bringing this old beautiful building to life in much the same manner as we have with the Sixberry House.
Here is the 1848 Bristol Inn
photo of Bristol Inn courtesy of the Charlton Park web site
 And...
...here is "our" home - the 1858 Sixberry House

Our day began with preparations to venture to the Bristol Inn to pick up my sister and mother-in-law.
Mother and daughter prepare to head to the Bristol Inn stagecoach stop to pick up grandmother and aunt.
But wait----what's this?
Uh oh - Larissa noticed dust on our hall tree. It looks like our servant girl will be spoken to.

As we entered town, a stop to get some sugar from the general store allowed us time to visit with the local townsfolk.
Charlton Park has done a fine job in portraying the realism of a small 19th century village.

The local sheriff had arrested the man settin' on the steps of the barber shop. Not sure what the poor man did to warrant being put in chains, but, rest assured, he will be put in a hot cell until the circuit-riding lawyer comes to town next month!
In the meantime...
As we made our way back to the house with our newly arrived relatives, the military presence throughout the area was disconcerting. My sister Jacqueline (in yellow) was quite concerned at the sight of this.
(photo courtesy of Mr. Steve Hainstock)

As a typical family of the early 1860s, we enjoy gathering together to tell stories about youthful events of long ago. Usually these narratives are quite humorous, for, since we are not actual relations in our 21st century lives, the stories are made up and can go in any believable direction the author chooses. For instance, Jacqueline told Larissa of a story about me as a very young lad and how I fell through millpond ice one winter's day because on our walk to school I pulled away from her hand and ran from her. Oh yeah, she also told of how our father tanned my hide afterward.
Another time she spoke of when I was older, shortly before she married, and how I had a little bit too much 'spirits' one evening while at a local tavern. As I stumbled out of the bar I jumped on my horse, then galloped through town shouting "To arms! The British Regulars are on the march!" as if I were Paul Revere.
Oh yes, we all had a good laugh at her stories.
But I responded with a story of my own:
It was when Jacqueline was of courting age that a Mr. Bagley showed an interest in her. But our father would have nothing to do with this young man and forbid my sister from seeing him. Well, late one evening, Mr. Bagley showed up at our home and threw tiny pebbles at Jacqueline's bedroom window in hopes of getting her attention without a-waking anyone. Only it wasn't my sister's window he was hitting with those pebbles...it our father's!
Why, father came bursting out of the door, gun in hand, aiming and firing that old flint lock in the direction of Mr. Bagley, who was a-flyin' out of there like he had wings on his feet!
And that was the last we heard of ol' Pete Bagley.
Well, that was my tale from two years ago, and ever since Jacqueline has come up with numerous other youthful anecdotes about me, though I have not been able to find in my mind to think of another for her.
So this year I tried a different route: I came up with the idea to have, without Jacqueline's knowledge, Mr. Bagley show up at our door!  And, yes, I did find someone willing to play the role in such a way that would be realistic and, more importantly, kept it a total surprise - Mr. Dan Conklin.
Imagine the surprise on Jacqueline's face when our servant announced, "There is a Mr. Bagley here to see Miss Jacqueline."
Jacqueline was, in every sense of the word, dumbfounded that Mr. Bagley had showed up at our door!
She was seriously speechless.
She became as flushed as a red rose, exclaiming, "I feel I have the vapors!"
Larissa and I were the only two 'originals' from when the story was first told, so we could not stop laughing for crying!
And neither could Jacqueline, by the way.
Through all of this, Mr. Bagley continued to speak and re-tell the pebble story as it happened from his point of view, all in a serious tone.
Folks, I can't recall laughing so hard in quite a while. We could not contain ourselves. This is one for the books, that's for certain!
Ahhh...victory was mine that day...!

Would you like to meet Mr. Bagley?
Well, here he is!
After father chased Mr. Bagley off the property, he ran out of town and eventually became a surveyor.
Hearing his stories of far off places as a surveyor allowed our imaginations to wander. I must admit, I have not been more than a few miles from this home so hearing of lands and people in the north and west stirred quite an interest.
As Mr. Bagley regaled us with his own tales of life as a surveyor, we found he made it up to Michigan, within twenty miles of my dear sister's home! 
This day will be spoken of for years to come.
But Mr. Bagley wasn't our only visitor that day.
Our domestic servant announced that there was a Mr. Ira Kaufmann, a taylor, who would like to speak to us on matters that was of great concern.
Folks, one of the greatest parts about living history is learning from other historians - learning about historical details rarely mentioned in most other places and pretty much never brought up in school history classes.
On this day, my reenacting family found out quite a bit about the plight of the Jews who lived in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
We learned of General Order No. 11, which was the title of an order issued by Major-General Ulysses S. Grant on December 17, 1862 to order the "expulsion of all Jews in his military district, comprising areas of the aforementioned Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky." It was issued as part of a Union campaign against a black market in Southern cotton, which Grant thought was being run "mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders."
Mr. Kaufmann, the gentleman on the right, told us of the extremity of the situation he and his fellow Jewish citizens were experiencing.
Union military commanders in the South were responsible for administering the trade licenses and trying to control the black market in Southern cotton, as well as for conducting the war. Grant issued the order in an effort to reduce corruption.
Following protests from Jewish community leaders and an outcry by members of Congress and the press, at President Abraham Lincoln’s insistence, Grant revoked the General Order on January 17, 1863.
During his campaign for the presidency in 1868, Grant claimed that he had issued the order without prejudice against Jews, but simply as a way to address a problem that certain Jews had caused.
~(Yes, I realize we were portraying 1861, but we included this situation for historical purposes as well as for a teaching moment for all who were within earshot)~
The stories we heard confirmed for us that our alignment with the southern cause was a just one.

Later in the afternoon, upon looking out our back window, we were surprised to find a regiment of Union soldiers camped out in our back yard!
The sea of growing blue directly outside our back door
As I was just one man, I chose not to stir the pot so I let them be. Fortunately, they did not stay long and left shortly after.

Yankee soldiers continued to swarm throughout our area, however, and had set up tents and guard posts across the road from our side fence.
After Mr. Kaufmann had left, we decided to take a stroll into town. We found our local citizens doing their best to not allow the soldier's presence to conflict with enjoying their activities.
Here you can see a few of the ladies who run the Bristol Inn enjoying a game of croquet:
Miss Jones tries her hand...and did very well.

Miss Mansfield seems to be enjoying herself immensely!

Why...look who it is! It's Mr. Kaufmann! He certainly is enjoying a much needed respite!

The weather on this day, though normally in an extreme heat, was very pleasant at 75 degrees and sunny.
That is the Bristol Inn in the background.

But the sounds of the fife and drums with marching feet broke the pleasantry of the game - -
Through our little "Maryland" town, the Yankees marched on.

Do you see the young lady marching with the infantry in the picture below?
Why, that's Michigan's own Annie Etheridge (portrayed by the 21st Michigan's own Jillian)!
Lorinda Anna "Annie" Blair was born into a wealthy family on May 3, 1844, in Detroit, Michigan. She was an only child, and her mother died when she was quite young. Soon thereafter, Annie moved with her father to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The greater part of her childhood was spent there.

Mrs. Etheridge acted as what today would be called a combat 
medic, providing immediate medical care to wounded soldiers, 
often under fire during battle. In addition to nursing, 
she served the regiment as cook and laundress.


At the age of sixteen, Annie married James Etheridge. When her father lost nearly all of his wealth, he returned to Michigan. Annie remained in Wisconsin with her husband, but her marriage failed. She returned to Detroit in 1861.
Annie had already been a nurse at a Michigan hospital, and the Civil War provided her the perfect opportunity to continue in that profession. Annie enlisted as a Daughter of the Regiment in the 2nd Michigan Infantry.  Daughters of the Regiment were women who followed the army in a quasi-military capacity, did chores in camp, and usually served as nurses.






Jillian as "Gentle Annie"
She wore a long sidesaddle skirt with two pistols on her belt, and stayed just behind the lines. When she saw a man fall, she dashed into the midst of the battle to lift the wounded soldier onto her horse and get him to safety. Twice her horse was shot out from under her.
Once the fighting had ended, she would scour the area to retrieve the soldiers who had been left on the battlefield, and bound the wounds of those who had not yet been seen by a surgeon, making them as comfortable as possible.
After the Battle of Antietam, the 2nd Michigan was transferred to Tennessee, but Annie elected to stay with the Army of the Potomac and joined the 3rd Michigan Infantry Regiment, in which she had many friends. With this unit, she cared for the wounded at the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
In the summer of 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant ordered all women to leave the Union camps. Annie was forced to leave her regiment, but she did not go home. She joined the hospital service at City Point, Virginia.
For her bravery under fire, Annie was one of only two women awarded the Kearny Cross
She returned to Detroit with her regiment after the war ended, and remained with them until they were mustered out in July 1865.
Annie had received no pay for her four years of service to the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1886 she requested a pension of $50 a month. In 1887 Congress approved a pension of $25 a month.
Annie Blair Etheridge died in 1913 and received a veteran's burial in the Arlington National Cemetery.
This was Jillian's second time portraying a person in history. A couple years ago she was Ginnie Wade during our Gettysburg reenactment up in Port Sanilac. Jillian has also portrays my daughter in some of our living history excursions.
(information about Annie Etheridge came from HERE

As mentioned earlier, we had a little 'extra' added in our scenario this year: the fine ladies of the 24th Michigan, of whom you just seen playing croquet, "ran" the local tavern, and although we were not able to get it together for both of our interpretations in such a way as we would have liked, for there was so much going on, we were still able to visit the Inn for a short time.
Welcome to the Bristol Inn. Would you like a piece of pie?.
(photo courtesy of Samantha Mansfield)

While running the inn, the ladies have found various ways to amuse themselves and their visitors, including book readings and parlor games.
(photo courtesy of Samantha Mansfield)
The good ladies of the 24th Michigan and those of us in the 21st Michigan "play" well together and enjoy helping each other out to make the past come alive. We've worked with them in previous years including a fun Jackson scenario from a few years ago (click HERE). I hope this venture continues and grows ever larger in its scope.

With our afternoon dinner meal over it was time to enjoy that popular summer treat, ice cream!
Making homemade ice cream has become an annual delight for us at the Sixberry House. One of the best things my wife and I purchased for reenacting - my actual 21st century wife - was a replica 19th century ice cream maker, including all of the necessary parts of an original: the bucket, canister, dasher, and hand crank.
A taste of days gone by.
This year we added raspberries! Was it good!!

We each took a churn...er...turn at cranking the handle to mix the ingredients.
Yep, the past was actually in color, as this picture shows, and not sepia...
...but this is how the folks of the future will see us. We were lucky enough to have a circuit-riding photographer happen our way at the right time, and he took a carte de visite (cdv) of our summertime pleasantry.
~If I could churn back time...~

There was time for one more photograph, which we had expertly tinted into color - it's very realistic looking, wouldn't you say?
Our "daughter" did not return in time for our annual extended family photograph, so we had to take it without her.
And there you have an account of the occurrences of our day at the Sixberry House in Charlton Park.
It takes quite a bit of effort to breathe life into the research that comes from history books.
But bringing the past alive in such a way is as gratifying as anything a living historian can do, and I so very much appreciate the time and effort that everyone here puts forth in the changing up of our lives in such a way as to create a new family. Imagine for a time having a different spouse, a different daughter, a different sister, a different mother-in-law - - a different life. To make it all seem 'real,' it takes a unique combination of a totally different mindset, which is no easy task, and can be, at first, a little awkward. But the end result can be most pleasing in every way.
I sincerely thank everyone who continuously time-travels with me in such an immersion/1st person manner: Larissa, Jackie, Candy, Carrie, Amanda - - and, during other excursions: Carolyn, Kristen, Violet, Jillian, and Dave.
And then a few who add the extra flavor as 1st person visitors: Sandy, Guy, Brian, Dan, Vickie, and countless others over the years.
You all are the best.


And now for a few "extra" pictures that I think you might enjoy:
This photo of Mrs. Root is actually one of my favorites that I took on this day. For some reason, however, I could not think of how to fit it into my story. 
No matter, it's here now for you all to enjoy as well.


Mrs. Hansen is one of the top spinners I know of and includes antique spinning wheels in her presentations.
There is plenty enough wool to spin to keep her busy from now until 1862!

Dirty dishes done dirt cheap!
The 21st Michigan's own Mrs. St. John keeps her area bright and tidy.

I cannot even caption this photograph! Can you?

"Hey Ken!"
I was called over to the bank by photographer Mr. Hainstock.
"I'd like to photograph a bank robbery, and was hoping you would be the banker."
Well, I didn't want to be some weak-spined office man so I added a little extra to the photo-shoot by taking the robber by surprise and grabbing his gun.
Yeah...turned out pretty good, eh?

Won't you come in?
Ha! I should have replaced the picture at the very top of today's 
posting with the one here.
Hmmm...now what would you have thought had Agnes answered 
the door in this way...?
Have a nice...day...heh heh heh

Charlton Park is one of the gems in our state that very few history nerds from out of the general area visit.
"It's too far!" they cry.
Really? It's only a little more than two hours from metro-Detroit.
"It's not very big - - not like Greenfield Village! It's not worth the drive for something that would only take an hour to see," they say.
Yeah, you're right...it isn't very big. But what should that matter? As a student of history, you should visit as many local (and national) museums as possible, no matter the size. And seriously...an hour to visit 25 historic structures? If that's the way you think, then you are not a student of history! Here's your chance to visit structures mainly from the 19th century - all from rural Michigan: a barber shop, a blacksmith shop, a general store, a hardware store, two homes (including our own Sixberry House), a school, a printing shop, an inn, a saw mill, a church...and more from over a hundred years ago.
Doesn't sound very small, does it?
And they have numerous events throughout the year. Aside from our Civil War Muster they also have long-bow shooting weekends, antique car and boat motor show, and weekends celebrating the Fall Harvest, Hallowe'en, and Christmas. 
Yeah...you would do well to visit Charlton Park.
And, for out of towners, look in your own area.
I don't think you'll be disappointed.
 Click HERE to visit the Charlton Park web site

Until next time, see you in time.














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