Including my limb cleaning duty
Charlton Park is perhaps my favorite event in reenacting, with Port Sanilac at a close second. Last year I visited the house during the day, and this year Mr. Giorlando planned a scenario. Let me add that this house includes "magical" cool air that rises from an ice house below. With temperatures in the mid-80s, it was greatly appreciated (I had heat exhaustion a few years back, and have never completely recovered).
I was in a mourning impression, a daughter whose beloved George died for the Confederacy in the Battle at Fredericksberg. I wore my black sheer, and even brought my veil and black gloves. As was custom, I could not leave the house or accept visitors. There I sat alone in my little room upstairs, hemming my mourning veil.
As a social person, it was at first difficult to be secluded from the family. Yet the more I sat in silence, the more I could take on the persona of the sad widow. I thought about how I would feel, alone in my room, away from the merriment of my family. These were very somber thoughts.
Suddenly I heard a pounding at the door. The quiet was broken, and as our domestic Agnes (played by the talented Carrie) tried to answer, a flood of soldiers entered! They had heard we were southern sympathizers, and turned the house upside down looking for food and weapons. I tried to take a peek, but my Father (Mr. Giorlando) ordered me back to my room for my own safety.
Eventually they clomped up the stairs and tried to badger me for hidden weapons. I gave them my coldest glare and spat "How dare you disturb my mourning!" I was very caught up in the moment. After all, how would I feel if the very army that killed my husband had barged into my home? It was with great care that I did not yell and scream at them to get out!
Apparently my Father had worried that I might say something untoward, and even mentioned that his daughter had a sharp tongue. In reality, he wasn't sure how I'd react to the intrusion. Honestly, it was most odd to experience the "raid" without actually seeing much. I could hear outrage in voices, soldiers plodding about, and furniture moving.
Eventually I joined everyone downstairs and we continued our 1st person impressions. Mrs. Schubert, our laundress, paid a visit after "dropping" the starch near a pile of dead bodes. My dear Aunt Caroline (Mrs. Paladino) reminded us of our manners, and other neighbors stopped by!
We all sat in the parlor sewing/knitting/crocheting when I had a startling thought. I was staying in my 1st person impression without thinking about it! Our conversations were about our projects and upcoming gatherings. I gushed about my engagement just as I'm sure a girl would have done. Also, I found a beautiful framed wreath that I thought was hair, that turned out to be yarn. How pretty!
I was exhausted by the end of the day, and even took a bath in my new tub! Later at the event I received a phone call from my dear fiancee, and I decided to return home a bit early to spend time with him and his family. I enjoyed another night with my fellow reenactors, including a trip to the saloon to hear singing and watch cards! I left early in the morning, before the heat of summer.
Thanks Ken for the photo
Now I am still exhausted, trying to unpack everything while staying awake. I have so many things to finish for the Port Sanilac reenactment in 2 weeks. Dear reader, if you have an opportunity to attend, please do. We have excellent plans, and I will be there looking pretty (and modest).