It also helped that members of both units I belong to - the 21st Michigan and the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society - all camped together in the same row...er, street. Both groups are top notch at living history but we also enjoy playing a little as well. Just like our ancestors, we like to have some fun, too!
For instance, Mrs. Root put together a puppet show for the evening lantern walk of a play that was written in the 1850's. She had the young ones in our group as the puppeteers and allowed them to provide the voices as well. The lantern walk crowd loved it, and I have to admit (maybe because one of the puppeteers was my daughter) that they were very good!
We also had our own surgeon return after a year's hiatus, and he explained - in his 1860's style live 'power point' presentation of which included period tools of the trade - what surgery was like during the 1860's. It helps that he's a doctor in his modern day profession!
I've been expanding my presentation as a postmaster. Yes, I still speak of the importance of the mail during the time of the Civil War and show folks replica 1860's stationary, but I have taken it into another level. For instance, there are times when I will look up from reading my Harper's Weekly (yes, I do read them!) and there will be a large group of visitors standing before me, gawking at my 'post office' set up.
"Oh my," I exclaim as I see the crowd, "did the stage arrive earlier than expected? How was your journey?" And then off I go speaking of stage coach traveling and tavern adventures, using real history to accent my delivery. If there are children within the group I like to speak to them about the chores they would have had if they were living "back then," such as emptying the chamber pots and trimming oil lamp wicks & adding more oil to them, as well as other chores the under ten crowd would have had.
A few of us went out for a stroll on a beautiful autumn day
And then I'll ask if anyone was expecting a letter, which will then lead into the importance of mail for the boys fighting the rebellion and for those of us on the home front to hear how that our sons are okay. This time of year, of course, I'll question the folks on how well their harvest was this season. The people tend to enjoy being included in such a way and hearing of their lives 150 years ago.
Yeah, and we can act a bit goofy sometimes, too. It's been brought up how the Wicked Witch of the East wore the same kind of socks that our Civil War ladies wear; remember when the house fell on her and her legs literally curled up and disappeared? Here's a photo (no, I didn't take this one!) to rekindle your memory, just in case:
Well, guess what we did...but only with a tent? We've talked about it for years but seemingly always forgot to actually recreate this scene.
Here, check out the photos I took shortly before tear down of the tent falling upon the Wicked Witch of the East:
Like I said, we tend to go off the deep end sometimes (and you folks thought I was such a serious bloke!).
So now the main part of the reenacting season has ended. But I still have an 1860's ball, a period dress meeting, multiple Christmas living history scenarios, the 21st Michigan period Christmas gathering, and performing with Simply Dickens to carry me through the rest of 2011.
The time-traveling continues...