My day-to-day life…really? “How dull!” I think, when Lori presents the idea. I mean… I like my life. I truly and deeply love my life! But other women wouldn’t be into the kind of life I lead. There’s nothing special about it. No fame or glory to be had from it. I hold no honorary status anywhere other than in my home, where the phrase, “Because I’m Mommy and I said so,” at least holds some merit. My daily life is kind of old school and traditional, and everything women have fought diligently to get away from since the Women’s Lib movement began with Rosie the Riveter as an awesome mascot. But it’s the kind of life that’s perfect for me and my family and my traditionalist’s heart.
So…here it goes!
Granted, today was already going to be an altogether different kind of Sunday. I homeschool our girls. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can make different family events count as school, such as a trip to a science museum, a deep sea fishing adventure, or in today’s case, a Civil War Reenactment. This is our first reenactment we have helped to host.
My family (including my parents, my brother and his family) all spent this past summer in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It’s a beautiful oasis of a town, nestled in the middle of rolling green hills, endless pastures, and home to one of the most famous and historically important battles of the Civil War. Last summer marked the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. We toured the National Park Service speaking docket for a week, soaking up every bit of history we could about Gettysburg. It was amazing. There were many thousands of people there all for the same purpose: to be huge history nerds! We fit right in.
Then my 9-year-old decided she wanted to spend her saved money on a period correct dress so she could look like one of the reenactors. That started it all! Since then, my husband has proven his lineage and joined a local Sons of Confederate Veterans group and my daughters and I have joined the support group, Order of the Confederate Rose. We all have the reenacting outfits, at least. Every time we attend a new event though, it seems there is more we want to have. It can be an expensive hobby, but I have other ideas about how to acquire things. Since I have a homesteader’s heart and love to learn traditional skills that have been lost with the modern life, I’ve found something new to learn at every event we’ve attended. This Sunday was no exception. Here’s how the day progressed:
7:00 – Wake up a little sore from the past two days of reenacting, but ready for Sunday on the battlefield.
9:30 – Line up at the front door in our dresses, hoop skirts, and hand-crocheted blankets and scarves for warmth. Question whether or not everyone got breakfast this morning because it was sort of a free-for-all kind of morning. (This is against the norm. Since two of us are gluten intolerant, we don’t have cereal in the house. My rule is: I make breakfast and dinner. You’re on your own for lunch.)
I look around my sad, incredibly messy house from three straight days of stop-drop-eat-crash, and pull a Gone With the Wind line, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
We strategically pile into our completely period-incorrect Excursion and diesel our way out of town with big dresses, hair pinned, a long rifle balancing on the back seat and plenty of black powder for the day’s battle.
10:00 – Arrive at battlefield. Meet some reenactors I hadn’t seen before and talk for an hour about one of the crafts I’ve always, always wanted to get into: spinning. I was freezing and could hardly get my hands to work, but this lady was taking raw wool and spinning it into thread right before my eyes! I commit in my heart to learn this skill before I die. Over the last three days, we have also learned tons about history of the time period, this specific local battle (my husband’s great-great grandfather was actually in it,) the real reasons the Civil War began, weapons of the time, old games, day-to-day life, work life, and life in battle. Sweet! All weekend counts as SCHOOL!!! Log that down…
11:00 – Battlefield church service. It is breathtaking. We are outdoors, in front of an old plantation house, under a massive live oak for which the South is famous. The replica of the H.L. Hunley is behind us and everyone is together: modern, period-correct, Yankees, Rebels. It is a beautiful service.
12:00 – Work admission table for the event. Most people are nice. The girls receive many compliments on their clothing and manners. One Ohioan asks, “Why do I have to have a Rebel flag hand stamp? I’m not from the South!” I politely reply, “Well sir, you’re in the South right now and you are attending a reenactment of a Confederate victory, therefor we’ll give you a Confederate flag stamp.” He seems annoyed.
Another sweet Yankee woman just gushes and guffaws at my daughter when she says, “Here’s your schedule of events and if y’all would, please take off your gloves so I can stamp your hands.”
“Ohhh…did you hear that Jim? She’s so polite and says, ‘Y’all’ while playing her part!”
My daughter shoots me a look like – Is she serious? This is how I always speak. Haha! Silly Yankees!
2:00 – The Battle of Pocotaligo has begun! The Rebels have already come out of the woods and advanced onto the field. Cannon-fire is deafening and wowing the crowd from both sides of the battle. The cavalry is stampeding onto the field!
2:30 – My younger girls run up to me with their reenactor friends and announce very dramatically, “Daddy just died in battle! The field surgeon called him, and covered his face with his hat!” A couple who is attending the event can’t stifle their laughter beside us. Then comes the statement from one of my girls, “I wonder how long until Daddy reanimates and becomes Zombie Daddy now.” Hmm…good question. They run off to finish watching the battle and look for the specific moment of reanimation.
3:00 – 4:00 – Help clean up, pack away, and get everyone ready to head home.
4:30 – Arrive home exhausted from the week of work and school, straight into the 3-day reenactment weekend.
I strip off my reenacting dress, put on fleece pants and a sweatshirt, and head to the kitchen. I stand there for a few minutes in kind of stupor and gaze around my wreck of a kitchen asking myself, “What the heck can I pull out of this mess for us to eat for dinner before my FF has to head to work for the back half of his shift tonight?”
Of course, the battle had to be on a shift weekend, right? You all know how that goes. Since he works 48 hour shifts, he did a buddy swap for the first 24 (Saturday) and took annual leave for the day-time 12 hours of his second day (Sunday.) This meant he was due back at the station by about 6:30 pm.
6:30 – Kiss my firefighter good bye.
7:00 – Glance at the clock and wish it could be bed time already. I drag myself through the familiar ritual of putting the food away and tidying the kitchen. I actually crash on the couch and watch a little TV with the girls. This is something I seldom do because I’m NOT a typical TV watcher, but I’m too exhausted to do anything else.
7:50 – Answer text from my FF, asking me to send him some, “Good photos of today,” so he can show the guys.
8:00 – TV off and get ready for bed.
8:30 – Call my FF and tell him I love him and good night. Jot down my notes about my day and try not to yell at the girls for still not being finished with baths. They should be in bed now…should be.
9:00 – Turn out my little bedside lamp, say sleepy prayers, and fall immediately to sleep. My oldest is in bed with me. It’s her night in the big bed. Our kids are on a schedule and she gets one night every other shift of his, since she’s too big (my size) to fit in the bed when the FF’s home too. Nevertheless, she’s still his baby girl and loves cuddling with him on the couch when he is home.
Ahh…I love my family…and my odd little life.