Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The First Day of School!

For some reason every year, summer ends. I'm left with the startling realization that I have a job to return to, one filled with endless lesson plans and my sincere hope that the kids learn to love to read. Today was my first day, starting my TENTH year of teaching!

And while the classroom certainly feels different on the other side of the teacher's desk, I'm reminded of the hustle and bustle of my own high school career. It feels amazing to look at young people and help them in any way that I can. For some of my students I play parent more than they see at home. It's a privilege to stand at the front of my classroom and teach. 

I found a snippet from a 19th century magazine, one that inspires me to continue my career:

Godey's Lady's Book, February, 1859
One week later, Jessie awaited, with a fast-beating heart, the arrival of her first class. It was very small. One little girl only had summoned up courage to come. Her report was so favorable that, the next day, three little girls and two boys came; and, in the course of the month, the room was filled each day. There was something in the pale, pure face and slight frame of the teacher that awed the class at first, then won their respectful love. No profane word ever fell upon the ears of the young girl. Errors to correct she found in plenty; but, with a low, sweet voice, and that indescribable holiness that encircled her, she drove away all impiety, all profanity. Rough boys went home with their minds filled with higher ambition and purer thoughts than they had ever before felt. Girls bent to her, at their departure, with their mind, blessing the sweet, gentle teacher who had won them from ignorance, perhaps from vice. And so passed her life. Trials she had among her class; but, with gentle patience, she made rough places smooth. Some ingratitude, too, came to trouble her; but she never failed in her efforts. It is now thirty years since Jessie Harris fell down the quarry; and if, in passing through Snowdonville, you ask who is the most useful and best-beloved person in the village, they will point out a little cottage, and tell you its occupant, Jessie Harris, fills the place. Mrs. Harris is dead; George is a lawyer in the South; and Jessie lives alone, excepting her maid, one of her old scholars, who almost worships her mistress. Gentle, meek, and hopeful, she lives an example that none are so unfortunate that they can be of no use in the world.

I hope for a good school year for all students and educators. Good luck, and happy learning!


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Inspiring Braidwork Patterns, 1860-64

As an incredibly busy summer comes to a closet, I find myself wondering about my upcoming projects. Sure, I have about 10 sitting on my desk/shelves, but sometimes it is hard to find the inspiration to continue working on them; an uninspired mind lacks the creativity to finish!

So there I was on an odd Tuesday, grazing and munching on 19th century magazines. I noticed the ridiculous amount of braiding patterns for literally anything. Shoes, wallets, pincushions, clothing, and even a table cover are covered in the stuff. While I'm not planning a project anytime soon, I just love the geometric designs. As I sipped my cup of tea, this blog post was born.

Please forgive the messy nature of the post. While I have given snippets of each pattern, I have not given full context. Do not cover every historic item you own in anything and everything braiding; click on the link and search through the original document to learn more. Once you train your eyeballs to look for something, you really do see if everywhere.

Otherwise, enjoy the inspirational snack! Maybe I'll spark a bit of creativity in someone. At the very least, I will get back to that pincushion I've been glaring at for six months.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Port Sanilac 2019

I love Port Sanilac! It's always my favorite event of the year. I get a chance to catch up with friends, dip my feet in some cold water, and enjoy being immersed in the historic village. Extra points if I can sit around the fire or take a peek at the museum house. This year was no different!
(Photos by Ken Giorlando and the first by Jennifer Long)

This event we put on a county fair, complete with ax throwing, races, and a pie contest. I definitely signed up to judge the delicious pies, and we went to town on them. It was like sharks feeding in a frenzy; probably not, but a lot of pie was consumed in one day. Also, Larissa brought honey from Russia, and it was too good. What do they feed the bees in Russia, anyway?
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, hat and outdoor

We also did a fashion show, and while it is small, it is certainly informative. We try to represent a range of clothing and classes; a lady wearing her wrapper, farmers, children, soldiers, and even mourning can be found on the stage. Knowing the story behind the person better represents what and how they wear clothes.

And then there's me. It was in the mid 80s all weekend, and due to my intolerance of heat, I was slightly too warm (Michigan cools down at night, but during the day! Ugh). One of my clever ideas that allows me to cool off AND be an educator: explain what ladies did to tolerate the heat! This includes a fan, water, and my foot in an aromatic bath. Of course I'm not expecting visitors that day in my home, just lounging around staying cool. The crowd always asks if reenactors are too warm, and my answer is always YES! But here's what I do to fix that.
Image may contain: Kristen Mroz, stripes, table, tree, shoes and outdoor
Image may contain: 10 people, including Jillian Drapala, Jennifer Long, Larissa Kyryluk Fleishman, Ken Giorlando, Kristen Mroz, Candy Cary, Jackie Schubert and Jean Cook, people smiling, people standing and wedding

Finally, we made a trip to the beach. One of the benefits of living in The Great Lakes State is that you're always close to some body of water, and in our case Lake Huron. People did give us funny looks when we stepped on the sand, but it was worth it to feel the waves. My petticoat was dirty and wet and totally worth the trip. I crashed pretty early on Saturday night after a full day of reenacting, eating, and chatting it up with my friends.
Image may contain: 4 people, including Jillian Drapala, Jackie Schubert and Kristen Mroz, people smiling, people standing, ocean, sky, child, beach, outdoor, nature and water
Image may contain: 3 people, including Jackie Schubert, people smiling, people standing, ocean, wedding, outdoor and water

And then...a 7 am wake up call telling me my pup was sick. I'm terribly attached to the little fellow, and here he is coughing and puking. Off to meet my fiance at the emergency vet! While I did intend to spend the second day in camp, I rushed to pack up my stuff and make the nearly two hour drive. In reality, the men in camp stepped up and had my little setup apart in minutes. This is the hobby I know and love; a group of history loving friends who help each other out. 
Image may contain: dog

He's doing swell now, but he needed his mom there to calm him down and do recovery cuddles. He's a feisty little beagle! Within 24 hours he was back to his old self, bouncing around the apartment and getting in to things. I just learned yesterday that he's been accepted to a therapy dog organization, so we'll be in training this fall. Pup will be volunteering at a school, nursing home, or hospital near you!*
*If you are in southeast Michigan LOL

Even after leaving early, I declare Port Sanilac another success. I'm taking a trip up to Traverse City soon, and school starts in a week. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about the conference; things are coming together, and registration will be open in early September!


On My Bookshelf: December

December has been a really rough month. Between what happened in Oxford (not far from where I live...) and just the general pandemic issues,...