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April 21, 2005

A little about me

Did you know that I used to be a Civil War reenactor? And not a very good one, I can tell you.

Let me clear up any misconceptions, first of all, of what reenacting actually is, at least as far as us CW people are concerned. We try to be as accurate as possible. We have this passion, intense interest, in things military, historic, perhaps we 've been a bit romanticized by "Gone With the Wind," who knows, but we love this period in history and want to be as close to the truth as we can get. We aren't called "living historians" for nothing.

With that, we go out camping. Yes, we sleep in those tents, we cook (or others do, I never did) over real fires, some women take their actual babies and children out, and yes, those guys do get hot in the wool uniforms. Stinky hot. We women are wearing corsets, although not to the extremes ladies in the 19th century did. Did you know that we ladies wear split crotch drawers? (That's underpants for you 21st century folks.) Yes, for a weekend I would put aside my nice, cotton Jockey panties for long legged culottes that looked like something out of Frederick's of Hollywood, circa 186o. Believe me they were necessary. With those long skirts and petticoats, how else would one use the lavatory? In most cases, a porta-john, disgusting in any circumstance, but after a long line of men, and it's been baking in the sun all day....ugh, an aspect I don't miss.

Anyway, yeah, that's what my husband and I used to do on summer weekends before we had kids. It can be fun, and one can meet some pretty nice people. I met Brian Pohanka, a historian seen on the History Channel. Ah, I had a crush on that one, and even got my picture taken with him. He had said to me, he said, that his unit would be at the Antietam reenactment, and I should look him up there. I giggled and said "Oh, yeah, I'd love to, but that's the weekend of my bridal shower." Which it was, and he looks at me like I was crazy or something. What? Like I was supposed to look him up to check out his tent or something? Ugh, I'm not an attractive reenactor (no makeup, hair pulled back, it's not pretty), and what, was I supposed to show him my drawers? I had a crush on him, I didn't want to bang him!

I have to say that when I met him I was looking quite fetching, with my hoop skirt and pretty hat, and my favorite day dress. But this was an event for the dedication of the Strong Vincent statue, so I was prettied up. (Yes, Strong Vincent, of Little Round Top fame, I don't care what others tout about the damn 20th Maine!)

I actually met my husband reenacting. We even got engaged in Gettysburg, as "regular people" not as reenactors. But that's where he put the ring on my finger. Yep, right in front of the cemetary. Things that make you go hmmmmm...

No, neither of us was in the movie "Gettysburg" but we were both in "Gods and Generals." I got cut from the home release however. My husband met Stephen Lang (Stonewall Jackson; he was also Pickett in G'burg.) I've seen the dude who played Hood in G'burg. My mother swears that when we were in Gettysburg in 1996 she saw Janet Reno. Hmmm....was the giantess looking to burn something down ala Waco???

When we were in Gettysburg in 1998 there was some NASCAR driver watching. I can't remember which one though...

You know, when my husband and I were at the aforementioned event in '98 we met a couple of guys from Texas. They had that accent, and looked so real. I told them they should be proud of their impression, that they looked like they'd stepped out of a history book. So many people just are so farby.

Why am I going on about this? It's spring, and I miss reenacting sometimes, especially when the weather is all nice and warm. I don't know if we'll ever get back into it, but goodness knows we have all that stuff stored up. I have dresses like you wouldn't believe. No, I'm not Scarlett O'Hara; I hate when people walk up and talk to me with some honey drip, cornpone-y, fake Southern accent. I don't get all dopey when I put my hoops on. I'm a Yankee for crying out loud! Not an abolitionist per se, but a Republican still. I have to act like Lincoln and Lee and all those big names are still alive.

Ha ha...someone once came up to my husband and started talking about going to Jackson's grave. I looked up, all shocked, and said "Stonewall Jackson is dead???" Got to keep that first person impression going.

What do I do? Nothing. Sit. Sleep. I don't sew (at least not very well) and I don't cook (not over open flame anyway). I would go shopping on sutler row. And I'd take care of my husband when he came back from battle. You know, strips of cloth soaked in cool water for him to put on the back of his neck, swab off with, that kind of stuff. Stinky man!

That's it. My hobby, or at least it used to be. I think my husband and I are burnt out on the Civil War right now. It's not the priority it used to be! Someday, maybe, but who knows.


*****Head's Up!!!***** "I don't get all dopey when I put my hoops on" does NOT mean to imply that I think Southern women are dopey. I realize, reading over that paragraph, that it may sound that way, but I don't. You see, when people would see me in full regalia they would immediately assume I was Scarlett, and most of the time mine was a Yankee impression. I don't do a Southern accent, I don't even try because I sound stupid, and I think that's disrespectful to Southerners. Everyone is so brainwashed into thinking that hoops = moonlight and magnolias...really people, the Civil War was NOT about Scarlett and Rhett.

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