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Living History

February 20, 2017

Learning about history from books has never been our cup of tea. Most often we like to re-enact it. This we usually do every fall at Koh-Koh-Mah and Foster Living History Encampment. Koh-Koh-Mah is a French and Indian War time period re-enactment that our family has enjoyed for 16 years. Here is their link. http://www.kohkohmah.com/  It is held the third weekend of each September just northwest of Russiaville, IN. I’ll share more on Koh-Koh-Mah in a future post.

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The girls and I a few years ago.

Our family has fallen in love with history. The love affair actually began around 20 years ago as our family traveled around the country with my husband’s job. At that time I had three little boys aged 1, 2 and 6. I homeschooled the oldest and thought that a fun way to learn history was by learning about the history of the area we were visiting. At the time we were in Las Vegas, Nevada, the place of my birth and early childhood. I remembered a little about mountain men and Kit Carson, so that is where we began. What could be more fun for three little boys than mountain men and wilderness tracking.

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One day as we drove to visit an old ghost town and abandoned gold mine, we came across a sign for a mountain man rendezvous. These were events held back when the mountain men came out of the high country after a winter of trapping. It was a good ole time for the men as they gathered to trade, compete and maybe drink a little. We followed the sign. That day we were introduced to men dressed in buck skin, throwing tomahawks, and one guy whose image has stayed with me for these 20 years, a beer bellied, loincloth wearing, tomahawk throwing gentleman with a furry buffalo horn hat. I wish I could forget, but it is seared in my memory.

When we came to Indiana, for a 3o day job that has turned into 19 years, we found out that here in the state of Indiana they too had re-enactments. In Indiana, you can find re-enactments for the eras of the  Civil War, the Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, the War of 1812 and even WWII. Find the links at the end of this post.

We were hooked and my kids have grown up with a love of history. My boys own muskets and have fought in re-enactment battles. We have organized and taught 18th century dancing and have had numerous balls. I’ve learned to weave and spin wool, and every fall I am chained to the sewing machine creating new clothes that are historically correct for my continually growing children. History to us is something that you participate in, it has never been names and dates to memorize, but adventure to discover.

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My gourmet husband.

Our love of learning about history outside of books, looks like we may begin a new adventure. I’m still homeschooling, 21 years now, and my sophomore daughters are studying about WWII. Timing is everything, and right in the midst of our studying I received an e-mail from Black Dog Books. http://blackdogbooksin.com/  This delightful bookstore in Zionsville IN. is a must go to destination for any lover of old books!

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Through the e-mail we learned of a book signing for Ronald May who had recorded the stories of 36 WWII veterans in his book, Our Service Our Stories, Indiana Veterans Recall Their World War II Experiences. ISBN: 978-1-60414-865-7 So this past Saturday, the girls and I traveled to Zionsville and WWII.

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Accompanying Mr. May was one of the Vets from the book, Paul Maves. Mr. Maves was a delightful gentleman who was a bombardier on a B-26 who flew 41 missions in Europe. Living History!

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We also met a gentleman who invited us to attend the Indianapolis WWII Roundtable. http://www.wwiiroundtable.com/ They meet monthly with speakers worth listening to.

We also found out about Honor Flights. http://www.indyhonorflight.org This organization flies our vets to Washington DC to visit the war memorials. When the vets return, people turn out to patriotically welcome them home. One surprised gentleman stated, “I didn’t think anyone cared anymore.” That broke my heart. We care, and we have decided to go to the next arrival to greet these historical heroes. Check out the website and join us. Also, a portion of the sales of Ronald May’s book, goes to this organization.

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We are now on a new journey, one that I hope will include meeting and honoring men who deserve our honor. It happened because our lives are calm and commitment free so that when the e-mail arrived, we could choose to spend an afternoon in an uncommon way. It also happened because we like to experience life and history. We adore books, but they are only our starting place. They are the inspiration to go see and do.

I encourage you to step out of the ordinary. Start with a visit to a nearby historical site. If you are a lover of a particular time, it is so easy to google places, events and even stores that may pertain to it. I recommend Ronald May’s book. If you know a veteran, find out their story. Write it down for them and your own family. Ronald May is writing a second book and is looking for WWII vets willing to share their stories. If you know of one contact him at yourlifestory@live.com

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My Grandfather was in WWII and my father is a Korean War veteran, and that will be the next war we study.

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My handsome Daddy!

Thank you Dad and thank you to all veterans past and present who have given their all for this nation and me!

 

Here are just a few re-enactments in the state of Indiana

Civil War: http://www.billiecreekvillage.org/    http://www.angelfire.com/in3/34IN/

War of 1812: http://www.mississinewa1812.com/

French and Indian: Feast of the Hunter’s Moon http://www.tcha.mus.in.us/feast.htm

WWII: “Salute to the Veterans of World War II” Indiana Military Museum http://www.vincennescvb.org/attractions/16/historic/48/vincennes-state-historic-sites

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 21, 2017 1:45 am

    Reblogged this on Jeffrey Reum Ministries.

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