My Childhood Brush With Historical Re-enactment Fame
April 16, 2013
This post is sponsored by Colonial Williamsburg.
My dad was a history buff, which is such a Dad Thing, isn't it? He especially loved American history, so my family took lots of trips to battlegrounds and historical sites, and toured just about any oldish hollowed-out structure that existed Way Back When and managed to survive the great Suburban Strip Mall Onslaught of 1983. I went trick-or-treating as a pilgrim for like, three years straight in preschool.
We took two trips to Colonial Williamsburg — one when I was about Ezra's age, and another when I was a few years older. In my head, the trips have long since blended together. I remember the costumes and the blacksmith's shop, the hoops and the sticks, and being generally delighted that you could talk to everybody and watch them do things, like animatronic museum figures brought to life. Because even at four years old, I guess, I was more used to being entertained by robots than actual human beings.
At some point, I was "chosen" to march in some...thing? A parade of some kind? And I was given a flag to carry. I don't remember being asked, but according to my mother I reacted as if God Himself had touched down on earth, handed me a flag and told me that the future of humanity depended upon me being awesome at marching.
Apparently I whispered a very shy, quiet "yes" to the volunteer scout. But my face was straight-up screaming CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I WILL MARCH THE HELL OUT OF THIS. I WILL BE AWESOME.
I do remember marching. I remember feeling rather famous and special. I remember feeling completely awesome.
My mom mostly remembers the fact that I refused — R-E-F-U-S-E-D — to smile. At all, not even a little bit. I also refused to look at her or my dad or the camera, but stubbornly kept my eyes fixed directly on the ground a few feet in front of me. I looked positively miserable and probably a little bit bratty.
But of course I wasn't. That was just me TAKING THINGS VERY SERIOUSLY. My duties as a flag-carrying crowdsourced child-tourist volunteer were VERY SERIOUS TO ME. Did the real and actual colonial children smile as they marched to save the future of humanity?
I...don't know. I'm not sure they covered that on the tour.
Here is where I wish to God I had a photo to scan and include — a photo of me and my miserable sourpuss face, holding a flag and probably wearing bright pink shorts and an historically inaccurate Minnie Mouse t-shirt (or maybe I got dressed up? curse my hazy brain!), marching and TAKING THINGS SO VERY VERY SERIOUSLY.
But we have no photos of our Colonial Williamsburg vacations. None. On our first trip, the camera malfunctioned and overexposed the film. My mom can't remember what happened to the photos from our second trip — the film got lost or left behind? she thinks? — but for some reason our modern-day cameras were cursed both times for violating the historical immersion experience and I have no photos.
We're taking the boys there in two weeks. It will be my first time back since going as a kid, and my first time taking my kids somewhere that I specifically went as a kid. I will be taking a digital SLR with two batteries and multiple memory cards. I may have already packed it and obsessively checked the bag several times just to be sure. I will have my phone, Jason will have his, and I've told Noah he can carry one of our old phones and use it as a camera if he wants.
In other words, THERE WILL BE PHOTOS.
And I promise to smile in some of them.
This post was brought to you by Colonial Williamsburg. Book your stay at colonialwilliamsburg.com.