Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Governor Warner Mansion Cemetery Walk

With fall comes the inevitable but delightful cemetery walks. Having participated in a few over the years, I was excited when Governor Warner Mansion needed volunteers. There's something magical about spending hours at a grave and talking about dead people. At the very least, it's a nice way to observe the trees change colors.

I played the role of Patience Comstock Power, the daughter-in-law of the founder of Farmington. She and her husband were Quaker and worked tirelessly as abolitionists. They helped enslaved people escape to Canada through the underground railroad and eventually started a settlement there. I shared her story with curious visitors; we raised a good amount of money for the museum too! It's nice to have people learning more about their community history and getting involved. And of course, I get to wear one of my dresses. Noelle and Katherine were presenters as well, so we had a chance to catch up!

It's been a long time since I've had the opportunity to present to visitors. It was fun, though I pushed the limit of my lungs. I was very tired afterward and spent the next few days recovering. I don't know if I'll ever get tired of talking to people about history and dressing up while I do it. Hopefully, there are more chances for me to do this soon! Let's hope that COVID doesn't make 2022 difficult too...


Monday, September 27, 2021


Living in Michigan during the autumn season is absolutely awesome. While the weather starts to turn chilly, we all show up for our fall events. This one, called DLECTRICITY, is still pretty new. It's sponsored by a few of the big organizations here, like DTE and the DIA. Basically, it's a big outdoor light show. Projectors light ups the sides of buildings, and some of them are even interactive! There were more than 30 art installations along a three-block radius near the Wayne State campus in Detroit.

We started with some delicious Nigerian food from their outdoor eating setup and then wandered around. I'm particularly fond of the flowers, as well as the stop-motion animation of the man. Click here to see the artwork. There was also an interesting presentation about what the area looked like in the early 20th century, complete with house lantern boxes. It was really neat to see the massive marble walls of the DIA lit up with art on the outside for a change! 

I apologize if the pics aren't that great. Check out the website for better ones...

We were pretty tired after running around for hours. Hopefully, they keep this event going, as I'd like to go back again! In the meantime, I'm prepping for homecoming and slowly planning my homemade Christmas lists...


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Baby Shower, Historic House Style

Let me just start by saying no...I'm not pregnant! But my cousin Juliana is, and after missing her wedding because of COVID, I was really excited to say hi and celebrate with her and the family. Of course, it was a small gathering, masked, and required vaccination. That's a cool thing about my cousin-she believes in science!

I was even more thrilled to see she was holding her shower at a historic house in St. Claire Shores, Michigan. Ardmore Park Place is now operating as a tea house/gift shop, but it was built in the 1870s by a German farm family. Over the years it has operated as a roadhouse, blind pig, bordello, and then a furniture store. In 2012 the city declared the house an official historic building. You can read here for more information from their website.

Unfortunately, I did not get many pictures of the inside, as I was busy doing baby shower stuff (why yes I did win a baby shower BINGO...). It was a delightful little spot, and the staff was really sweet and accommodating. The whole thing was just so adorable, between the atmosphere and the food, I didn't know what to do with it all. There's something so comfortable about being in an old house, like a lived-in feeling that makes you feel at home.

She is literally glowing

In between my eighth cup of tea and cookies, I couldn't help but think about my Grandma Dolly. I think she would have absolutely gushed about the shower, from start to finish. I could practically hear her voice, pouring another cup of tea and pointing out the lace. It's moments like these that I miss her most. She was there I guess, even if it was in our collective memories.

It was especially nice to see everyone, and I'm hoping I can do more small gatherings this fall, unlike in 2020. We have plans to visit a few spots, including Greenfield Village, though the weather and timing will be a factor. Also, some lovely upcoming Christmas present planning...if only my carpal tunnel doesn't flare up again!


Sunday, September 12, 2021

A Closer Look: 1918 Flu Comparisons

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, people have made comparisons between it and the 1918 flu. It's easy to do, considering they are both respiratory illnesses and easily spread. Examining the spikes and low points of both are easy to do, especially since they follow the normal trajectory of a virus. I've seen so many articles pointing out similarities and differences, arguments about which is worse.

Personally, I've had trouble spending any time studying the two. Up until very recently, I was still very angry about my own recovery, and before that terrified that my fiance would get sick and possibly die. I'll never forget those first few months of reports when every day we heard about some doctor or nurse dying. When he came home exhausted from a shift at the hospital, I would watch him breathe while he slept, as if I could keep him safe just by watching. I'm glad that time has passed.

Now with a little distance and a whole lot of antibodies (and no dead close family members), I can start to look at COVID a little differently, as the historic event that is unfolding right before us. Right now we're in the middle of the "unvaccinated" epidemic, but nearly every member of my family/friends are vaccinated. The fear is slowly passing, and I'm replacing that with careful curiosity. Expect to see some posts here and there about my findings.

Recently I took a closer look at The Camp Sherman News, particularly October 22, 1918. This periodical was published for training military members/townspeople in Chillicothe, Ohio, established in 1917 to train soldiers during World War I. It has all of the regular things you'd expect in a newspaper, like ads and illustrations. But it was some of the headlines that really rang true for me. I've screenshot a few just to show here.

The "42 Sacrificed Own Lives in Nursing Sick" hit me square in the gut, reminding me of the beginning of COVID. Those 42 medical staff included doctors and nurses, people who did everything in their power to save others. As of May 2021, WHO estimated that 115,000 healthcare workers have died worldwide from COVID, and we've had several months since that estimate. It's a sobering number, considering that many still deny that this virus even exists at all. 

I was also excited to see the dedication to the "Camp Laundry." It reminds me in the past year of how other industries have seen more attention because of their work. Most people tend to think of the laundry as a basic service, not important or noteworthy. And yet, with thousands of people dying, clean clothing and bedsheets are essential to keeping a sanitary environment. I think of how for the longest time people have ridiculed those working in the fast-food/service industries. Now with such a shortage, wages are creeping up and people are recognizing how important those workers truly are. 

I'm really hoping to see some legislative changes to help people as well.

The newspaper contains many other awesome little details that I'll weed through in future posts. In the meantime, keep wearing your mask and stay safe. Also, don't be a jerk to people in the service industry, they don't need your crap. 


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The School Year Begins!

There's no tired like the first week of school tired. After a week of professional development, room setup, and lesson planning, I was ready to meet students in my new school district! I'm so excited to work in such a positive environment. My coworkers have been every sort of amazing, to the point that it doesn't even feel like a job. But even a week of awesome is exhausting. 

Happy/Tired Face

In other news, many events that I planned to attend this fall/winter are being canceled. With so many people unvaccinated, there seem to be outbreaks popping up everywhere. I'm not excited about the possibility of getting COVID again, no matter how small the chance, or severe the case. Unfortunately, I've seen more than a few reenactors become sick/succumb to the virus. It remains to be seen how the community will recover in the years ahead. As it is, I'm thinking about my own participation.

Remember, stay safe everyone!


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,...