Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Springfield 2015

I had the wonderful opportunity to sell my wares at the Springfield Funeral Event. As of now I'm still recovering from the exhaustion. 7 hours in the car each way. Hours and hours of research, creation, and packing all rolled into a few short days. Exhaustion, for sure. But also awesomeness.
Also, I met Lincoln's mold double?

I'm not going to lie, I was slightly nervous about the whole trip. After a solid month of preparations (and a wedding, and a returned fiance), I knew the setup/lecture would take so much out of me. My talk, "Fond of Hardware: 19th Century Materials and Motifs" was was scheduled for 2pm, so I didn't expect many people. Imagine my astonishment when 70+ eager learners arrived! I talked about everything from acorns to coral, and enjoyed their enthusiasm. I only have two pictures, but I plan to track a few more down if possible (for posterity of course).
Photo by Kathy Berger

I felt honored to be in the company of other reenactors that I admire so greatly! Mr. and Mrs. Lynch, Kay Gnagey, Nick Sekela and Smantha McLoughlin, Vernon DePauw and others all attended as merchants. It was my first time meeting most of them! And of course my Michigan people came to support me, babies and all!
Photos and baby by Larissa

Most of my weekend was spent behind my tables, talking/selling away. Yet I did find a few moments to sneak into Springfield, with a special focus on Lincoln's home! To see the chairs he once used, the fireplace he curled in front of, the writing desk that he worked at...even Mary's chamber pot. It was odd to see the mundane objects of a not-so-mundane family
A whole city block still in the 19th century!
Upon closer inspection I realize...
...that I need a selfie with the Lincoln home!
The parlor: the only room the Lincoln boys couldn't play in!
And the lovely horsehair furniture.
This is Mary's actual sewing desk!
Here Lincoln stretched out to read in front of the fire
Check out that wild wallpaper!
Lincoln actually kept his clothes here!
Lincoln actually wrote letters here!
Mary actually went to the bathroom here!

I also had the opportunity to check out the Lincoln museum. Before this trip, my knowledge of the family was basic at best. By the end I found myself fascinated by their tragic stories.
Hanging with the fam
A selfie with Mary
Another selfie with Mary!
Her actual sewing box
And the dresses of her social rivals!
Lincoln was portrayed negatively in the media...
The death of their son Willie in the White House
And Mary mourned deeply
And a sad reenactment of his assasination

Since I spent most of my time at my shop, I didn't have much a chance to run around Springfield during the day. I did however, jump at the chance for a ghost tour! Luckily the weather was warm, the reenactor company good, and the ghosts silent! I seriously didn't see or hear a thing, but it was pretty creepy walking past Lincoln's home at night...

By the time of the funeral, I was completely exhausted! My shop was closed, but we decided to check out Lincoln's final resting place. The tomb stood out against the landscape of the cemetery, the final resting place of the Lincoln family. It was peaceful.

We also had time to see the funeral procession. Hundreds of people lined the streets, anticipating his arrival. By this point I was a spectator, out of my reenactor clothing. It was amazing to see non-reenactors so excited for the event!

When the carriage came by...complete silence. Only the sounds of hooves and tears.

I found myself beaming with pride-such an accurately assembled, appropriate group of reenactors in the procession! Tears glistened the cheeks of more than a few, and that's when I realized that this moment was more than just a reenacting event. I witnessed a mark in history, a page in a book that my descendants will one day open. This funeral will not soon be forgotten.

The return home was tiring, and it took me a week to recover from the trip. Not too much time-I have to finish preparing for Greenfield Village as a vendor! Busy, busy, busy...


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