Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can You Believe Those Farby Bright Blue Sack Coats!?!

     The family showed up at the reenactment.  The mom had diligently sewn the dresses for her and her daughter as well as the black pants and shirt for her husband's chaplain impression.  They had bought his black frock coat.  A major expense on their limited budget.  She had also sewn their two young sons outfits, using the McCalls pattern bought at the local fabric store, out of blue cotton. . . not just blue, but bright blue!  In the fabric store the cloth hadn't looked quiet that bright under florescent lights inside, but outside in the sun their outfits really stood out.
     The husband had always had an interest in history.  The wife, who was homeschooling the kids, agreed to reenacting -- if it could be a family hobby.  This family, new to the hobby, showed up at the local reenactment in their new outfits.
     Would you have been embarrassed to have them in your camp?  That family was us almost 20 years ago.  What Vicki had labored so hard to sew for us that day would not be considered "acceptably authentic" by today's standards.  I still marvel at the graciousness of our old unit in accepting us "as we came".  We still smile about the brightness of those blue cotton uniforms for the boys.  The ladies graciously guided Vicki into making better outfits.  With their guidance she bought better patterns and sewed new outfits for us all, and the boy's sack coats made of more accurate material blended in with the other reenactor's outfits.
     Over the years the hobby has developed "better standards", and that's good for all of us.  It's good for the spectators who come to explore the history we are portraying.  But in all our upgrading, don't lose sight of the fresh fish who enter the ranks.  With all their mistakes and confusion and missteps, show them some grace as you bring them along.  Besides, as you watch them flounder along during the weekend, it will provide you with some good laughs when you go out for pizza on the way home.  I know we provided some good laughs for our unit that weekend. 

1 comment:

  1. I do remember those uniforms. At least they matched the farby hats they were also wearing :)