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Discussion about "A Modest Proposal"
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Jim Jacobs
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, it seems that I'm the freak here, Dave. I like Novacain. You're obviously new to freakdom. A piker. A rank amateur. I've been a freak in one way or another since 1973. So there.
LMAO


Quote:
Obsession is what my wife calls it. She say, rightly so, that everything I think of gets put into a historic context. It is funny because it is so. I don't do everything in my life historic. In truth, I can't or wouldn't want to; BUT... I can't help but think of history with everything I do. AND... when I can get my modern life and historic interests to intersect or even parrallell each other... COOL.

That's pretty much the way it is here too, but my wife doesn't come right out and call it anything. She's into it too, or can be when she let's herself, so I guess I'm lucky in that respect. But you're right, when everything falls in place it is very cool.

I do try harder these days to keep my perspective though. Having the kids has had a lot to with that, and I can't be apologetic for that. The kids need to be raised to know how to deal with the 21st century first and foremost, so they need a Father that knows how to deal with it himself.


Last edited by Jim Jacobs on Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Isaac
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Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 289
Location: Ouisconsing, Pays d'en Haut
Real Name: Isaac Walters

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Jacobs wrote:
I do try harder these days to keep my perspective though. Having the kids has had a lot to with that. And I'm sorry, but I can't be apologetic for that.


Understood and ditto!! Kids do crazy things to you. Heck, being a "family man" in general has taken me in crazy directions with this history thing... for better or worse... mostly better

Isaac

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We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.
Aldo Leopold
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Jim Jacobs
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, don't get me wrong Isaac. Living History, reenactment, trekking etc. is good for kids, I realize that. I've told Arwyn when we're at an encampment, that when she's out running around if she ever needs help she can go to any camp and get it. I can't tell her that about any and every house in the neighborhood. Reenactors are good people overall. And then there's the whole educational aspect. Reenactments and the outdoors on a scout are just healthy places for kids. But, my over-riding concern is that my kids don't grow up naive about the day and age they'll be dealing with on a practical and daily basis. Knowing flint and steel is little more than a parlor trick in the 21st century.

But we digress.
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Isaac
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Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 289
Location: Ouisconsing, Pays d'en Haut
Real Name: Isaac Walters

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Jacobs wrote:
But, my over-riding concern is that my kids don't grow up naive about the day and age they'll be dealing with on a practical and daily basis. Knowing flint and steel is little more than a parlor trick in the 21st century.

But we digress.


Very true! I have also made concessions to what I have done in the past for their overall health, safety, and comfort at events. And then we can talk about how I was a woodsroaming, canoe paddling, drink loving, savage of a frenchman prior to settling down, getting land, tilling the earth, and becoming a farmer of sorts. He he he... old and settled down, thats me! Historically and for real


IW

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We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.
Aldo Leopold
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nopaosak
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like I am in good company then. I actually think I might enjoy being "comfortable" at events. We'll see how that works out, but it won't hurt not having to cook my own food.....
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Jim Jacobs
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, you are in good company John. lol

I don't know, I might not be making myself clear on this issue. At events I've found myself making concessions that aren't in line with my ideals for the sake of lightening things up to a more common level of enjoyment, based on the event standards and what I think will keep my kid's enthusiasm up, and there have been periodic assessments and some pruning back when I thought we were beginning to stray a little too far from the ideal. At present I'm satisfied that we're doing an acceptable job in our presentation, at least we've had no complaints, but that doesn't mean I don't know what exceptional looks like or how to achieve it, and it doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to achieve it. But we all have to weigh costs. If being exceptional means killing my kids enthusiasm then the cost is too high, IMHO.

But this is just dealing with the events. Really what I was trying to say before had more to do with finding an optimal balance between Living History and Daily Living that's healthiest for my kids. I personally would love to follow my obsession with history like Dave does, like I used to do, but I want my kids to view Living History as a hobby.


Last edited by Jim Jacobs on Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Isaac
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Location: Ouisconsing, Pays d'en Haut
Real Name: Isaac Walters

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim... I couldn't say it better myself. I think your words mirror my thoughts and actions as well.

This idea of our striving for historical accuracy while maintaining a healthy balance (emotionally, educationally, physically, and etc.) for our families could make a good new thread.


Isaac

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We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.
Aldo Leopold
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Jim Jacobs
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isaac wrote:
This idea of our striving for historical accuracy while maintaining a healthy balance (emotionally, educationally, physically, and etc.) for our families could make a good new thread.

Yes it could, and I'm gratified to hear that you don't think I'm a farb. lol

So much of what we do in Living History is a balancing act, and for me that's become most apparent since the kids have come along.

Quote:
If being exceptional means killing my kids enthusiasm then the cost is too high, IMHO.

Case in point; I don't like coolers and modern packaged foods in my period camp, and more often than not when I camp alone I don't bring them. This year I thought we'd try and take it up a notch at the Fair at New Boston, and demanded that the cooler be left home, along with the milk and snacks that my kids usually eat to tide them over. Big mistake. BIGGGG mistake. You do not deprive a toddler of his milk when he needs it. So what's the solution, leave your toddler at home? The solution in this case was for him to finally cave in to eating a good period proper snack of fresh fruit and shortbread bought from the Mongers. A cool experience for me anyway, but not cool enough to compensate for the kid's unhappiness and our raw nerves.

Well, it appears that I've hijacked this topic and I apologize. I'll bow out now, with gratitude for the pleasant and enlightening conversation.
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David A. Schmid
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 168

Real Name: David A. Schmid

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:45 pm    Post subject: improvement Reply with quote

Jim and others..this has been an interesting discussion.

I can't help but turn my thoughts to how do we improve our selves in this hobby? Have we hit that high rung in the ladder? I have not. So much more to learn. I need to learn the German language, understand the currency of the times, the cost of goods, the politics, the every day life stuff. I look at my latest project and wonder how can I get all this information I need to be better. There is alot missing in my over all persona. New goals to achieve I guess.
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Jim Jacobs
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thoughts Dave. I think we could make a list of general inconsistencies in our portrayals and improvements that could be made, but do you really want to open that can of worms? I'm game, but only with the understanding among friends that there's no malice intended. Then again, maybe it's best that I offer a self-critique with the understanding that I don't expect anyone else to abide by my values or the standards I set for myself, good or bad.

So, here's what I try to do.....

-First and foremost, to try and understand the frame of mind and perspective of my persona. Yes I know it's impossible to truly think in every way like someone from the past, but IMHO that should be no more of an excuse for not making the attempt than in any other form of research and recreation that we do. You'll never perfect it, but you will benefit from it. Tying in with that.....

-to keep in mind transportation within a period and scenario context when outfitting for events or scouts. If it couldn't be brought in on foot, by horseback, wagon or boat it shouldn't be brought in.

-Tying in with that, to limit my clothing and equipment to what I feel would be necessary for the given scenario and persona, keeping in mind type and design, austerity and the elimination of redundancy consistent with the period and persona.

The above two points mean that you'll never find iron tripods and fire grates or a rope bed (let alone an air mattress) in my camp, and ideally I try to leave the cooler and prepackaged foods at home as well. You won't find furniture to sit on in my camp other than the chest(s) I bring my stuff in. You will find me carrying and eating period foods for the most part, you will find my kit packed in period containers, you will find the clothing and equipment I use of at least acceptable manufacture and design, you will find any crane, spit or tripod I use for cooking made of saplings, you will find me sleeping on the ground on a bearskin or deerskin, or on rare occasion, straw.

-To use natural dyes and period hues in my clothing.

-To be clean by 18th century standards, when appropriate, but avoid 21st century standards of cleanliness.

-To maintain period grooming, even when that means being tagged as an old hippie in my modern life.

-To work within my true and natural physical handicaps, meaning at this point that I don't wear the eye glasses I need when I'm in persona, even though I do have a set of period eye glasses. There are way too many eye glasses out there. In the words of Allen Gutchess, "Dare to be common."

-To avail myself of research from a variety of sources, at a pace that works for me, continually trying to refine how I analyze and apply that research.


You'll note that most of the items listed above are pretty much of a nature to go unnoticed at events, consistent with my philosophy of pursuing living history for my own gratification and edification, and not to impress. Who even knows what's in my tent or that I need glasses? IMHO, if you're in this just to impress you're in it for the wrong reasons. Part of the requisite mindset thing I mentioned.


Now, here's what I need to work on.....

-I need to upgrade most of my clothing and some of my accoutrements. I'd like to replace the pewter buttons I have with covered buttons, I'd like to have nothing but quality hand stitched clothing. I'd like to have bag or hand knit stockings instead the commonly worn stockings. I'd like to have quality hand made shoes instead of the mass produced versions. I'd like to have a good black fur felt hat instead of a a brown Clearwater and a good handmade straw hat instead of a mass produced version (sweet as it does look now with age and use). I'd like to have a couple more linen shirts. I'd like to add a good period felling axe and saw to my growing collection of period tools. I'd like to have a large brass kettle of period correct dimensions and construction instead of a spun brass version (I do have proper cookware that's smaller, need a bigger kettle for dying mainly). I'd like to upgrade from the few sacks I have still made of cotton canvas to hemp canvas (probably to be done this winter). I'd like to have a proper storage barrel or two with wooden bands for drygoods, even though my storage requirements are already covered with sacks, bailcloth or chests. I need to upgrade the hardware and finish on my chests. Most of all I'd like to have more time for living history, for research, practical exercise, and recreation.


As I mentioned before in this thread, I'm satisfied that I'm at an acceptable level in my presentation, but yes I do see room for improvement and have resolved to continue improving as I can.

That said, others mileage will vary.
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David A. Schmid
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Joined: 15 May 2007
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Real Name: David A. Schmid

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the problem I face is every thing I do has a direct tie to Europe. So I do not ever want to Americanise my kit. By centering my 17th C New Amsterdam 1609-1620 and New France 1604-1615 personas to that early time periods, it holds me back from making changes~ that's a good thing.

Centering your persona to a 10 year span or tighter really helps to narrow down the chance of too much stuff or wavering off track from your initial interest. Nothing wrong with picking a particular year or a month to center your impression around.

BTW~ in my Dutch research the Dutch called the Natives...Americans. The Dutch were called Dutch and the Natives were Americans. Interesting.,
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carlilex
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has become a great post. I have the exact same situation, my family (children way more than my wife) has certainly slowed down my event going (wouldn't change it for the world), but now the kids are getting a little older I am going to start bringing them out next year. IMO the journey changes when your family gets involved, but how it changes is up to you. I agree with Jim, I don't want to push my kids so hard into living history that they don't want to participate when they are older nor do I want them to lose grasp of reality to the 21st century. We should start a support group and hold an annual event for living historians with families involved ;) .

On another topic in this post, when I first got into this 20+ years ago, I was given some advice by an "old timer", he said "The worst thing you can do is read the 2nd book" , It wasn't until I read 2 books on the same subject that contradicted each other, that I understood his comment.
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nopaosak
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an excellent thread. While I understand that my kids will need their common items to keep them happy, I will work doubly hard to ensure that the presence of such items is not a burden on my portrayal. Nothing worse than staring at the corner of a blue cooler you didn't know was poking out of your tent.
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Jim Jacobs
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nopaosak wrote:
This is an excellent thread. While I understand that my kids will need their common items to keep them happy, I will work doubly hard to ensure that the presence of such items is not a burden on my portrayal. Nothing worse than staring at the corner of a blue cooler you didn't know was poking out of your tent.

Yes, this has turned into a great thread.....look at the number of hits. Maybe the reason is that a few seldom heard points of view are finally getting aired. High time IMHO. I agree John, a whole lot easier to slip when you have the anachronisms present than when you just leave them at home. And I'm also guilty, I'll be the first to admit, of tending to view public events a little more lax than I do scouts, and I do have to work harder to keep it a notch above. If it's a tight event from the start, with zero tolerance for anachronisms and with the STANDARDS BEING APPLIED AND ENFORCED CONSISTENTLY ACROSS THE BOARD, it's a whole lot easier to maintain the spirit and look of the period. But when I see certain so-and so's getting away with all kinds of blatantly wrong crap, I don't even want hear it from QC over any small mistake I make, or allow myself. Attitude problem? Probably. But I do try to work on it.


Quote:
IMO the journey changes when your family gets involved, but how it changes is up to you. .....We should start a support group and hold an annual event for living historians with families involved ;)

Agreed, Dave. I'm not at this point sure I've even got a definitive answer on how it should change, because the issue is something I'm continually working on and refining. All I know for certain is that the welfare of the kids has to come first, and all else falls in line within that context. And as to starting a support group for parents, I don't know that one has be started. I've found there to be a great one already out there, informal though it is. We as parents have been helped a great deal and my kids have been treated great, even by folks I didn't know that well beforehand. We've been gifted and loaned clothes, toys and camp gear, and in general have had no shortage of help offered. And everyone watches out for the kids in camp. That's an aspect of Living History that really only becomes most obvious when you become a parent yourself, and as parents it's an aspect that we're most grateful for.
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carlilex
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Jacobs wrote:



Quote:
IMO the journey changes when your family gets involved, but how it changes is up to you. .....We should start a support group and hold an annual event for living historians with families involved ;)

Agreed, Dave. I'm not at this point sure I've even got a definitive answer on how it should change, because the issue is something I'm continually working on and refining. All I know for certain is that the welfare of the kids has to come first, and all else falls in line within that context. And as to starting a support group for parents, I don't know that one has be started. I've found there to be a great one already out there, informal though it is. We as parents have been helped a great deal and my kids have been treated great, even by folks I didn't know that well beforehand. We've been gifted and loaned clothes, toys and camp gear, and in general have had no shortage of help offered. And everyone watches out for the kids in camp. That's an aspect of Living History that really only becomes most obvious when you become a parent yourself, and as parents it's an aspect that we're most grateful for.


Jim,
I agree that the people in living history, for the most part, especially other parents are great. We have always had good experiences. I was just thinking it would be cool to have a "workshop" event specifically for parents and their kids in living history. Kind of like a how to. It would be great for beginning families as well as those of us with experience sharing ideas.
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