Friday, March 18, 2011


Spencer 1995 - 2011

2011 has really been a rough year for us so far.
And it's only March!
There's been ill health - we've all take our turn at being sick, and the viruses seem to linger longer than usual.
Car problems - oh boy! have we had the car problems: an accident nearly totaled my wife's car, my van has been in the shop more than out of the shop, and a ball-joint bar snapped on my mother's car.
My job situation seems to be getting more precarious with a new Michigan governor who seems to believe laying off millions of union employees (through the fine art of privatization) will somehow strengthen the economy of our state.
The political climate in our country is more divided than I have ever witnessed.
Then there is the awful devastation of Japan and the scary situation in the middle east.
And, finally, this past Monday we had to put our dog, Spencer, to sleep. That was so very hard. We literally went into mourning for the entire day. I know some may think that odd, but we had our devoted pet for over 13 years.
Is it any wonder I am ready to escape into the world of living history?
I know what you're thinking - "Ken, you are leaving the 21st century with all of its ills to go to the mid-19th century which has many ills all of its own!"
I know that. The difference is, I can control what happens while practicing living history. For instance, when my sons get "killed" on the battlefield, they 'magically' come back to life after the battle ends. And we always have plenty of food no matter what time of year it is!
The fact of the matter is that I really enjoy it when my family and I wear the 1860's clothing, and I love being a part of a group of like-minded historians where wonderful discussions take place. It's also a great feeling knowing when I speak to visitors I am showing them history in such a way that a history book cannot.
And, self-improvement in all manners of this hobby, to me, is a necessity, and I find that with each new bit of information that I learn and am able to share, the more excited I get about it!
In the coming two months myself and a few other members of our group will be speaking to the children of numerous schools. Imagine that! Me, a lowly janitor, being sought by members of the educational system to teach history to their classrooms! And the kids respond very well to our teaching method. I love being a sort of specialist in my field.
The season is approaching...and I can't wait to get away!


Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...


I'm sorry to hear about Spencer's death. It must be very hard on you and your family. I know that those times when we have had to put a beloved pet down, it has been extremely painful. It doesn't seem fair that pets should have such short lives.

I wish you well at your full-time job. I know when you work for others, you are at their mercy as far as keeping your job, and with the times being what they are, nobody I know feels safe in their positions.

Having a historical mindframe helps put our lives in perspective. When current events make us feel insecure, the past reminds us of where we come from and what we can indeed handle. You know that, and I bet you are teaching that to the kids who will learn this lessons from you in a profoundly memorable way.

Keep well, stay strong, use the past and look forward to your bright future!


Historical Ken said...

Pam - - Thank you for such a wonderful comment. You put into words exactly what I have been feeling, especially how the historical mindframe helps put our lives in perspective.

An Historical Lady said...

Dear Ken,
Thanks so much for a wonderful post. We are long-time living history reenactors too, as well as public speakers, presenting a variety of historical programs. I can sure identify, and have sympathy and understanding for what you said, and are going through. My husband lost his job over 2 years ago. He looks for one in his field every day, but in the meantime, teaches special needs kids full time for an insulting $250. a week, and no insurance for me...In just the last year, one or the other of our elderly cars has needed major repair at least 3 times. The furnace went. The hot water heater went, and every single appliance that we have bit the dust, one after another. We lost our 15 year old dog too, a few months ago. I am so sorry for your loss of sweet Spencer... We adopted a yorkie, and then someone gave us another, so we now have 2 furry friends again to share our lives.

We are monumentally discouraged, and that is why I began writing my own blog a few months ago---I was trying to focus on and remember the joys in my life, in the midst of fear and misery. At this point, the misery is winning, but I am thankful every day that I have my wonderful husband, Adam. I can identify completely with your love of reenacting, as we feel the same way. We have not even been able to go to many of the events we did previously because of our financial situation, and that is sad too.

On a happier note, a dear friend gave us an anniversary gift of 3 nights in the Colonial Inn in Concord Ma., dinners, etc., for the 'Battle Road' and 'Patriot's Day' events this April, and is coming up from Texas to accompany us on the trip. Her generosity is making this possible for us. I wish you and your family much happiness and good fortune in the future, and I hope that we can all hang in, keep the past alive for others, and that times will improve for us all by and by~
Kindest regards,
Mary Spencer

Historical Ken said...

Mary -
I appreciate your 'story.'
It's so hard living in today's society when, in the very recent past, things were going so well.
I honestly don't know what I would do if I couldn't reenact, for that truly is my escape. I hope - I PRAY - that this year goes much better for you in all ways. It already seems to be starting off that way - what a trip you have planned!
We thought about getting another dog but feel now is not a good time. It's lucky for us most of our reenactments are within a couple hours of our home and the new dog would be spending too many weekends alone, which isn't fair.
Thanks for your comments - they are very much appreciated.