Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

2009 has not been the best year, that's for sure. From the election (sorry - not an obama fan in the least) through the rest of the garbage the year offered (socialism, here we come! Kwame Kilpatrick, the economy, the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries - hey! Don't they go hand in hand?), it's not been the best year America has seen. Then again, neither has the last twenty years or just keeps getting progressively worse.
And the spiral continues...
So, being the good patriot that I am (I am proudly wearing my "Don't Tread On Me" t-shirt I received for Christmas), I make sure I keep up on the current news and follow through, whether in praise or protest, where I feel is necessary.
That being said, where 2009 has been a good year for me personally is in the living history/reenacting world.

Filming a scene at Crossroads Village

Aww, who am I's been a GREAT year in living history for me, beginning with the celebration of President Lincoln's Birthday Celebration, through our big Memorial Weekend reenactment at Greenfield Village (As Promised - Pictures from the Memorial Day Event at Greenfield Village), through our first film shoot, our period-dress visit to Crossroads Village (Our Recent Return Visit Back to Crossroads Village), to the big Jackson event (Jackson, Michigan Civil War Muster), to our Christmas reenactments of recent weeks. I'm not certain how many events I participated in this year - more than 20, that's for sure - but I can tell you each was wonderful in its own way. But, there was one in particular that stood out up and above the rest...the small event that took place in Waterloo, Michigan this past June (Self-Hypnosis + Authenticity + 1st person = Time-Travel). This was one of those rare events that literally brought me back "there"... in time...ala the movie "Somewhere In Time."

My "wife" took wonderful care of me while I was "sick" in Waterloo. We stayed in 1st person even when no patrons were about.

Yeah, I'm nuts. But, you already knew that.
I remember thinking at the beginning of 2009 that there was no way the coming living history events could ever be as good as those I participated in the previous year.
And yet, they were.
Actually, they were even better!
Part of the reason is that I truly, actively, participated in the events. No tent sitting here! I did my best to stay in a 1st person mode of conversation while visitors were mulling about my 'post office.' Or even while I had "the fever" at Waterloo. And, I also attempted to stay in that manner while it was just reenactors around as well. Unfortunately, there are many (too many) reenactors that, for some reason, cannot - will not - take part in this form of progressive reenacting. (Fortunately, the wonderful reenactors at Waterloo truly did a fine job staying in 1st person). Not only do many not take part but, worse yet, they make fun of you for staying "in character" when the patrons have gone home. Now, some very good friends of mine - military reenactors - were able to sleep over night in the McGuffey Schoolhouse in Greenfield Village ( after the Holiday Nights presentation had ended. Not only did the men stay in 1st person mode the entire evening - remember, this is after the public had gone home - they played period correct games, read from Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol," read from the holy bible, and spoke of nothing in their contemporary lives.

Soldiers playing a period correct game at the McGuffey Schoolhouse

How cool is that? They did it for themselves.
This is what I would like to see happen more often.
My resolution for 2010 is to just ignore those 9 to 5 reenactors (please see my blog from last spring Are You a 9 to 5 Reenactor?) and make even greater strides in my living history impression.
If these guys in the military can do it, than so can I / we in the civilian contingent.
This is what makes me happy and I will not let any 9 to 5-er ruin my time.
Speaking of happy, a very good friend of mine, who also reenacts, likes to call the Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village her "happy place." This farm is a historic structure where she can visit nearly anytime she'd like to because of its proximatey to her home (about a half hour drive). Like me, she will dress in her period clothing to visit the Village and enter the farm to just sit...enjoying the fire, the kitchen conversations from the presenters as they cook food in the way it was cooked in the 19th century, and, really, just to get the over-all feeling of, well, being back there. She has also mentioned to me that sometimes she'll close her eyes and repeat over and over "it's's 1863..."

"it's's's's 1863..."

Need I add that this woman does a remarkable 1st person as soon as the period clothing is on?
All of the reenactments I do help me to reach my own personal nirvana much in the same way that the Firestone Farm helps my friend reach hers. I guess we all need our happy place to go to, whether to get away or to just plain relax. I thank God that I have living history to take me and my family away to such a place.
I can't wait for the 2010 season to begin. But, it couldn't be anywhere as good as the 2009 season...or could it?

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