Some may speculate that I ended my St. Maarten vacation simply to attend the reenactment at Port Sanilac. That notion is wildly inaccurate; I missed my dog too! In any case, I flew home just in time to pack my car for the event. Michigan instantly felt better than the sweltering humidity of the Caribbean, and I adjusted quite nicely to the weather change!
I even brought along my sunglasses!
Since last year's Port Sanilac event went so swimmingly, we once more portrayed the citizens of Gettysburg. Again I was Nellie Augenbaugh, complete with my worried Mother Caroline and mourning Aunt Elizabeth (who I called Auntie Lizzie, much to Mother's annoyance). Mostly I just had a grand time catching up with everyone I had not seen for several months.
By Ken Giorlando
Our impression was terrifically heartfelt, from the rebel soldiers picking through our homes to the wounded laying in the shade of the trees, waiting for the doctor, death, or sometimes both. My dear Mother cried at the sight of my wounded cousin Anthony, with his brother Scott cradling his head and weeping. That moment touched me deeply, as I felt a part of a grief-stricken family. While I did not become physically ill, it was unsettling to feel death so closely, mourned so openly. I was transported in time, trapped in a nightmare of pain and suffering. I was a civilian at Gettysburg.
By Lynn Anderson
Ginnie Wade, the only civilian casualty
It's rather interesting how this visit to the past can intersect with our modern lives! On a less serious note, I'll relate an actual situation. I had to retire to my tent to answer a "telegraph" from my fiance. In the midst of our very normal conversation I heard the familiar rebel shriek, along with the cries of the women in my neighborhood.
Me: *gasp* I have to go!
Fiance: Why? What's wrong? Is everything okay?
Me: Oh no the rebels are next door!
Fiance: What's happening!
Me: I can hear them going through my things!
*rustling of drawers*
Fiance: Do you need help?
Me: My JEWELRY!
Fiance: You need to tell me-
(At that point I hung up the phone)
He was confused until I shared the details of my circumstances later, ensuring that my property had not been stolen! Such moments are hilariously precious. It was not my only bit of fun either. At every Port Sanilac event, the reenactors attempt some scandalous event. For two years in a row I was an adulteress, marrying several different men in uniform. Since my reputation is already horribly tattered, we thought this year I could be a jewelry thief. Hilarity ensued, including April nearly beating me in the head with a rolling pin...I only ended up with 60 days at the women's work farm, a sentence I circumvented by stealing the key from a drunk washerwoman. Let's just say that everyone kept their precious gems locked away from me too during the rest of the weekend! The following photos are by Lynn Anderson.
Caught and in irons! By Elizabeth Kerstens
Not pictured: April with her rolling pin
Begging for leniency sure didn't work!
The weekend also had an educational side too. Glenna Jo gave a very descriptive talk about the art of maternity matters during the Civil War, complete with original examples (of clothing, not women). Larissa, who portrayed Gettysburg citizen Eliza Thorne, just so happened to be pregnant too. In the next few years I'd like to see more seminars/workshops at this event, a plan I can enact now that I'm finished with graduate school!
Altogether I'd say it was another fantastic weekend, filled with history, friends, and laughter. It's quite possible that I did fly back just for Port Sanilac. Can you blame me?