anna and brandi.

I am finally starting to get back into the swing of things after my little adventure down in Georgia. Living history is such a strange hobby. It's almost like a secret society, because if you are not involved with it, you really have no idea what the heck it's all about. And it's really hard to explain. I usually find myself not even trying to explain. In fact, today I got a call from a lady wanting me to make her a pant suit and a dress. I tried explaining to her that I don't make such things, that instead I make "historical clothing." She asked me what that was, so I told her "Civil War era clothing," "1860's dresses," "clothing from the past!" Get it? No? Okay, nevermind. She hung up with a vague idea of what it was, but I think she probably thought I was nutty. So instead of trying to explain to you every detail about what living history is all about, I'll attempt to tell you a bit about my time down south. Hopefully you will not be completely lost as you read...

Wednesday night my friend Brandi and I headed down to St. Louis at about half past 6p.m. We got to St. Louis around midnight and were planning to catch a ride with our pals from KC. They were still a good 40 minutes away, so we decided to check out the pub down the street. It looked a bit shady from the outside, but as we went inside, it turned out to be a pretty nice pub. Plus it was Lady's Night, which meant all drinks were $1.50! YES! Brandi and I sat there with our drinks, a bit worn out from the five hour drive. I like to people-watch. Probably shouldn't, but I love listening in to conversations in public places. The table next to ours sat a girl and two guys. They seemed to be in a bit of a heated conversation. I continued to listen and discovered they were arguing about art! Yes, ART! Well, this conversation took off and before we knew it, there was a bar fight and this guy from across the room decided to come over and get in on it. Hilarious. Brandi and I were standing in the corner laughing our butts off. I was video recording right as the fight began, but I didn't want anyone to smash my camera, so out of instinct I just stopped it and put it away. Anyways, it was great fun. Finally the KC boys showed up and we had another drink then went on our way.

The ride was great fun, but lonnnnnnnnng. Man was it long. Mike was the driver and he drove through the night puffing on his pipe the entire time. We made a few stops along the way and we did stop for a couple of hours to get some sleep. Then off we went again into the night. The next morning we stopped at The Cracker Barrel, which seems to be these guys' favorite place to eat. I guess a guy likes a good meat and potato dish, but personally I am not a fan of that place. Besides the fact that all my buddies love it and I think that is kinda funny in a cute sort of way. We finally made it to the event site around 5:30 or 6p.m. on Thursday. I was so happy that we were going to get to sleep in the boyscout cabin rather than just bed down outside. I was tired and needed a real bed to sleep in. I got a good eight hours of sleep that night and the next day we got all dress out in our "period" clothing and waited for a ride to our site. I met a fellow from Scotland and a man from England who came all this way for the event. They were great fun! I am continually amazed at all the interesting people I meet at these events.

The next few days I slept outside under the stars and then one night squished in between four other women in a tiny cabin. We had four chickens and I must say they were the freshest chickens I've ever tasted. It is kind of weird saying how we killed them, but I figured that is reality. I still have a life goal of killing and then preparing a chicken before eating. I just want to see what it really takes, instead of simply walking into a grocery store and picking up a dead chicken. I think it would help give me a better perspective. Anyway, enough of the chicken rant. Let's talk about something disgusting instead, like... pissing. :) The hardest part at these events is pissing in the woods. You see, there's usually a million guys all around us and it always happens that the spot they designate for peeing, somebody decides to camp out on that spot. So you are left with two options. Take a long hike down the side of the hill as far as you can so no one can see you or wait until it gets dark. Both of those options are not ideal, but I guess we learned to live with this for the weekend. Let's just say, guys have it WAY easier. That's all I'm saying about that...

Next came a lot of sitting around cooking food and cleaning. Sometimes doing living history is really boring and other times it's terribly exciting. You just never know what it's going to be like. But honestly, it's really fun not always having a million and two things to get done. Sitting around the fire singing songs and sipping wine never gets old, though. And sleeping under the beautiful stars, listening to the sounds of nature; honestly, these things make me truly happy. You soon forget about the uncomfortable things like sleeping in all of your clothes (it's very hard to stay warm with five petticoats, a dress and tight shoes). Then there is the rough ground with just one or two blankets to keep you somewhat warm, but somehow you are always cold. Ahh... I love it so much. (And I'm not being facetious!) I love coming home and realizing how fortunate we are for having even just hot water and a shower available to us whenever we want it. I never thought I'd say this, but I love camping. I love the outside air, eating with your hands, dirty nails and campfires. I also love hot corncakes with strawberry jam for dinner. Deeelish!

I could continue to write and bore you to tears, but instead I'll just share some pictures Brandi and I took over the weekend. (Okay, just Brandi. I took some, but not many.) We didn't bring our cameras with us when the event started, so these are mainly just before shots.

pipe smoker.

guys posing for an image.

j.t., jay and anna.
{all above pictures by brandi.}

p.s. "bummers" is the name of the event. don't ask...


  1. Glad you had fun, Anna. Still trying to figure out how to get north again in May!

  2. You forgot to mention getting the jelly out of the jar with your fingers!!

  3. oh yeah! i forgot about that, brandi. my fingernails were totally packed with dirt too. it was almost as thrilling as throwing plates at the guys. ;)

  4. Hi Anna - This looks like a really interesting hobby. How do you break in to something like this? I don't have a vast knowledge of the time period, nor the clothes...so where would I start? How did you get into it?


  5. I went through a phase where I was totally obsessed with living in the Victorian era - and would have loved to do things like this. So I can totally understand why you love it so much - looks like a ton of fun. BTW, do you have a recipe for the corncakes - made me weak in the knees reading about it ;-)

  6. You are so right about it sometimes being terribly exciting, and then other times rather dull. And you really can never tell.

    And speaking of appreciating modern conveniences, after a living history event, I'm always so thankful for our modern clothes. It's fun to dress up every so often, but there are days I just want to hang around in a t-shirt and lounge pants! :)

  7. Please, news! You're really great!

  8. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog and love it! Thanks for the great story, it sounds like a lot of fun. I've not done living history before (though I'd love to someday) but I go camping with a bunch of cowboys every year and love it so much...we only have old-fashioned white tents and open fire for a week and I never miss civilization one bit :))
    I'd love to read more about the events you participate in :)