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Author Topic: What Would You Like To Do For a Year?  (Read 2790 times)
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Elizabeth
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« on: June 22, 2016, 08:44:56 PM »

Interesting philosophical question that struck me today... if you could undertake any mid-19th century life you wanted for a full year, what would you want it to be?

I was watching a little video blurb from Colonial Williamsburg, filmed in the dressmaking shop, where the ladies were prepping to make a docent dress by hand in one day (they had about 6 ladies in to work, so that's feasible and realistic.)

I got to thinking: that would be a neat experience, to live in a historic village and operate a functional dressmaking shop that outfits the site staff, plus makes some items to sell to visitors (likely with the scraps from the wardrobes). Wearing historic clothing the whole time, working with historic technology, with a budget for good fabrics (and right there, we just stepped into fantasy!)... it just makes my heart smile.

The other lifestyle I'd love to experience is operating/directing a boarding house in a gold mining area... definitely a load of work, but could be very neat to experience!

How about you? If you could live ANY mid-century life for a year, what would you live, and why?
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 09:41:07 PM »

Not sure if I could make it a ful year, but if I can't be an independently wealthy eccentric, I'd like to try being a lady's maid.  Maybe just a month, to start.
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Sue Leurgans
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2016, 05:31:04 AM »

wow, lots to think about.  City, Town, Village, Rural...

Initially, before I finished reading your post, I was thinking boarding house keeper.  ( great minds think alike?   Cheesy  )
  But... going to ponder this some more. 
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Sue Leurgans
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BetsyConnolly
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 10:47:19 AM »

Oh my gosh, how to pick!? One of my favorite parts of immersion events is being able to pick out a new role to try - I've done all sorts of impressions and been able to spend a day or a weekend in someone else's life. I've been tavern worker, shop keeper, teacher, traveler, missionary.....

This kind of coincides with a project I've been considering. With my impending name-change on the distant horizon, one of my new research bugs is to consider the new role of wife and homemaker to a clerk/lawyer. I haven't spent much of my time in the hobby portraying a married woman, so it's a new avenue for me to interpret as I consider who I am, and I'm taking it from the perspective of a day in the life - what does my day look like from rising in the morning to retiring at night, and what information do I need to know to get through the average day?

So, I'd like to have a day just as a middle-class housewife in a small but growing western city. Having the kind of life that allows for a maid-of-all-work to help with some of the work but still having to keep the house myself, so there's a balance between being a part of society, managing a household, and doing the labor involved with keeping a house.

Give me a couple hours for daydreaming, though, and I could come up with many others Smiley
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Betsy Connolly
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2016, 01:47:21 PM »

I'll have to try and think of where I saw it, but I remember reading a book that had sections on young marrieds setting up their first housekeeping in boarding rooms, rather than an independent home. They did rooming house in a city, and also room-and-board (which means the new wife had less to keep up with) before setting up independent housekeeping.
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Elizabeth
BetsyConnolly
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2016, 03:36:09 PM »

I would LOVE that book!
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Betsy Connolly
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2016, 05:27:32 PM »

I'd like to try middle class/professional wife in a new, Western town--working toward civilized society, but still new enough to be able to be a bit eccentric or adventurous.

I'd also like to try a traveling lecturer or performer.  Probably more dust and bed bugs than I'd like, but I'd love to see a lot of the country--and since we're wishing maybe have an actual artistic skill!

Anne
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Elisabeth M
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2016, 05:40:29 PM »

I just pulled 25 kids through a historic laundry demo, step by step. (circa 1900, so I could use my nifty-difty wringer and not worry about things like...wooden tubs and buckets that are $$$$) We talked a lot about what daily life would have been like back then, how tough it would have been for their moms to get all of their clothes clean and clean their little siblings diapers and all of that.
 

My husband and I also just watched Pioneer Quest on Amazon Prime - the Canadian TV show that puts two couples on the prairie for one whole year. Now we're window-planning (it's the planning version of window shopping) two cabins in the woods, one mid to late 19th century and one 18th century/old world Europe (with an open hearth).

I think that living as a family in a emerging farming community would be fascinating, regardless of time period or location. The traditional gender divide between mom/wife in the house and dad/husband outside in the fields has always interested me - how married life and parenting would interact in that framework. I think it's no coincidence that feminism emerged when the large part of western society moved away from an agrarian lifestyle.
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Ginny Hardcastle
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2016, 06:53:30 PM »

This will take some thought.

Betsy, as a new bride to be, you might find the book "Monday and How to Get Through It" by Barbara Hutton interesting.  It can be found on Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=-kYCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false).  I thought I recalled another book with housekeeping advice for each day of the week but cannot find it.
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2016, 06:16:36 AM »

I would think it would be fascinating to experience arriving in this country as an immigrant in the mid-1800s through New York City.  All the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the hope of a new life.   
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2016, 09:01:28 PM »

This will take some thought.

Betsy, as a new bride to be, you might find the book "Monday and How to Get Through It" by Barbara Hutton interesting.  It can be found on Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=-kYCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false).  I thought I recalled another book with housekeeping advice for each day of the week but cannot find it.


Wow! That is a GREAT source! It will be interesting to compare this with my American sources to see what the differences might be. Thanks for sharing!
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Betsy Connolly
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2016, 05:46:43 PM »

I would love to work in a dressmakers shop.  I find the whole process of fitting and sewing fascinating and challenging.  Liz I'll be your assistant, all the fun of playing and you get all the blame if they are unhappy.   Grin
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Micaila
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2016, 08:43:46 PM »

I'm with Paula! Assistant dressmaker under someone with real skills sounds divine Smiley
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2016, 09:24:34 PM »

I'm a dreadful tyrant.. you might regret your placement. Cheesy
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Elizabeth
Sue Leurgans
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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2016, 08:22:52 AM »

 Cheesy

After pondering, I realized the background I've used for an immersion event works very well.

I want leisure in my old age.  Sit on the porch of my house just on the edge of town, knit or sew and converse with others. Then if someone needs extra help in the kitchen, hire out as a cook for not more than a weekend at a time, hopefully being able to use the money made cooking, to travel. 
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Sue Leurgans
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Paula
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« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2016, 12:57:03 PM »

Liz, Micaila and I are getting pretty good at dealing with you, and each other.  We accept the positions.
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