Monday, July 22, 2013

Kristen: Charlton Park Reenactment

Whew! It has been a very very busy month! I've gotten engaged, made 18th century stays, finished a dress, and even found time for a weekend reenactment. My lack of writing is the result of the many activities I sign up for!
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!

 We settled down to 2 meals in the house, both incredibly fresh and delicious. I purchased brie, sausage, and sea salted bread for the event, and the others brought a variety of tasty foods. My healthy potato salad was also a hit!

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).



  1. Congratulations on your engagement!

    1. Thanks! Do you like my nonchalant "I'm engaged?" Perhaps the funniest thing about being engaged is that it feels NO different from before...except this darn ring snags on everything!

  2. Lovely post! It was so nice to finally meet you and have a chat about reenacting. Thanks for all the advice! :)




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