Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not Dressed to Kill

This morning I drove over to the cemetery in my Civil War era costume to rehearse for the upcoming Evergreen Cemetery Discovery Walk, and then on into downtown Bloomington to rehearse briefly, checking acoustics, in the history museum, where we are doing a performance for the members' annual meeting on Friday.

So, yes, I angle parked and then walked across the street in a long dress with a full petticoat underneath. I did not have a parasol, like this woman in a Library of Congress photograph, posted here, at the Visit Gettysburg site, which the Civil War Era Dresses page tells us was to protect fine ladies and their skin from the sun. I was in the mercantile class, the wife of a shopkeeper.

All the characters this year lived during the Civil War, as this is the 150th anniversary of that conflict. It's a sad thing to remember but probably good to reflect on, so we don't let current divisions and political conflicts get the best of us, eh? And that Wikipedia link takes us to the controversy of such a "celebration," as well.

This stark photo shows a prisoner released from the infamous Andersonville Prison, a confederate prisoner-of-war camp where the conditions were awful, many died from hunger and disease, and many who lived never fully recovered. The prison commandant was convicted of war crimes for his ill treatment of the prisoners. This is a Union soldier who survived.

I'm keeping him in mind as I go about my own peaceful, healthy, happy life. This is happening now, too. All over, for various reasons. "History" is happening now. I need to stop complaining about anything stupid or petty. And be glad of each morsel.


Julie Kistler said...

How could that man possibly have lived?

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So let's keep remembering.

seana said...

I remember seeing The Andersonville Trial play on PBS. Hard to believe that it was telecast in 1971. No wonder I'm having trouble remembering details. But the starvation of the prisoners does stick in my mind.

Collagemama said...

Your cemetery project is an intriguing idea. Reminds me of sitting with my dad and grandma at her big dining table after a meal. I was asking her to tell all the family history so I could earn a Camp Fire Girl bead. A few weekends later I sat with my mother and her parents. Several times I heard of ancestors who "lived on their Civil War pensions". It seems they were scarred, and unable to work. I worry about our your vets returning from Afghanistan with horrific brain injuries and psychological trauma. Too many thoughts for a small blog comment. Hope your costume is accurate and excellent.

Collagemama said...

The security code was Obslo--chunky Norwegians?

Ruth said...

Kathleen, the photo is horrifically mind boggling. Yet I am encouraged by your desire to carry it with you as you go about your happy life. This is all we can do.

It reminds me of the chapters I read in War and Peace last evening, in the hospital wards with typhus. Such agony caused or made worse by war. I really wish women ruled the world.

Good luck with your reenactment.