What Cheer! Day is a week away, and exactly a week from now, at 6:30 AM, I will get into my B&G guy’s truck and head into the site. We’ll measure and tape out camp sites, fire pit sites, and safety lines, bring wood and gear out from the woodshed and basement. We’ll put out the handicapped parking only sign in the parking lot, drop the orange cones (I love the thick flexible plastic of a traffic cone), and drink some coffee. I haven’t decided at what point I’ll start to fret in earnest that day, but the trick to not fretting will probably be to get dressed in 18th century clothes as soon as we are done carrying items upstairs, because then I will have to take off my watch. Watches lead to fretting: there’s administrator time, and re-enactor time, which is more like artists’ time. Better to take off the watch and get closer to the past.
At the School of Instruction, I thought the “People of the Brigade” program worked well; at OSV, I really appreciated the Military Fashion Show (I did not make it to Runaway Runway). Using these models, and knowing about the School of Instruction’s Women’s Dress program, I thought we’d combine these ideas. I don’t have a good name for the program yet, but the reason I’m going so nuts about the dress from 1774 is that I plan a “History Dress-Tease:” starting in shift, stays, stockings and shoes, I’ll demonstrate all the layers my runaway wore: 2 petticoats, pockets, dress, stomacher, apron, cap, bonnet.
Any soldiers I can convince to get down to small clothes and layer up with waistcoat, coat or frock, canteen, cartridge box, bayonet scabbard, haversack, knapsack, hat and musket, will demonstrate the gear they carried. I thought about a weigh-in, to record how much it all weighs, but my scale is a pathological liar, and varies by 4 pounds from one side of the room to another.
All this work has an educational, and not merely sartorial, purpose. Now, if only the public will come…