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Shared Hobby = Togetherness

September 8, 2011

     I love the smell of a campfire.  One whiff and I am immediately spiraling back in time to the 18th century.  Now I know a campfire does not produce the same effect on everyone, but there are a host of history buffs that suffer from the same malady.

     My family loves to reenact.  In case you are unfamiliar with that term, it basically means that we pretend that we live in the 18th century for a weekend; the French and Indian War era to be exact.  We dress up in wonderful; as close to accurate as possible, historical clothing.  We pitch a tent in the woods, cook over a fire and light countless lanterns. 

     Every year for the past 11 years, in mid September our family partakes in our shared hobby.  Fifteen years ago it began as a history lesson and evolved into a life time love.  At that time my husband traveled for his job.  One assignment could last two weeks or six months.  So the boys and I traveled with him.  I was homeschooling my oldest and he was in first grade when we were assigned to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Las Vegas was the place I was born and my home until I was 15, so I was excited to return and share my memories with my family. 

     One of my memories was Nevada history.  I remembered learning about the mountain men and explorers so we began to study Nevada history.  We learned about the rendezvous that the fur trappers and mountain men had at the end of a long trapping season.  They met together and had quite a party with all sorts of competitions such as shooting matches and tomahawk throwing contests.  (I actually gave my boys real throwing hawks one year for Christmas.)  One day as we were exploring the area on our way to an old gold mine we saw a sign for a rendezvous.  We followed the signs.  At this point I want to remind you about my blog about taking the detours. (“Skip the Bypass”, July 18 )   Some detours will change your life. 

     We so enjoyed being a part of that adventure that when we moved to Indiana 13 years ago we decided to learn about Indiana history and visit Indiana’s historical events and festivals. 

     It was a cool spring day when we stumbled upon the Red Bud Trail Historical Reenactment.  It was a day to remember.  I did not want to leave. We were hooked.

     We began to look for other reenactments to attend and began seeing some of the same people who were very friendly and very encouraging.  By the end of the summer, I had sewn clothes for my whole family and we were camped in a tent alongside all of the other history buffs.  Some of my favorite family photos are of my little guys in breeches, bare feet and mud.  It was a wonderful family experience.

     Since that first trek into the past many years have passed.  My boys take part in battle reenactments and actually get to shoot black powder muskets; “18th century Brown Besses, to be technically exact,” my son says.  This year I am leading Contra Dance demonstrations and hosting a dance for all the reenactors.  My family thoroughly enjoys our shared hobby.

     In today’s culture our families are highly segregated.  We spend very little quality time together and entire families that share a hobby are rare.  I will tell you though, that if you can find a hobby that will bring your family together, it is worth all the time that hobby takes.  Historical reenacting is a time consuming hobby for the month of September for us but my kids wouldn’t have it any other way.  My oldest son will defiantly agree since he met his wife at our local reenactment.

     I also want to point out that a good family hobby can even span generations.  My son and his wife now have their own camp and just as my daughters attended their first reenactment when they were only 5 months old and wore tiny little chemises; my son too plans on bringing his babies when that time comes.

     So when I smell that wonderful smoky smell of a crackling campfire, I am ready to pitch a tent and wear a beautiful dress.  Tell me; where else can you wear a ball gown for camping?  My sons now play the guitar and Irish whistle and their wonderful playing makes our campfire complete.

     So as you journey through this time period remember to take the detours and find something your whole family can enjoy together.  A family hobby is an investment of great value!


For those in central Indiana; Saturday Sept 17th and Sunday Sept 18th are the dates of              The Koh Koh Mah and Foster Living History Encampment.  Check out their website for directions.  You may just find a new hobby.

Enjoy the photos of my family’s early days. 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bobbi permalink
    September 8, 2011 11:07 am

    I love seeing these pictures! Thank you for sharing!

  2. September 8, 2011 4:38 pm

    I think this is my favorite one you have written 🙂 I love the pictures at the end.

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