November 7, 2013
If there were such a thing as time travel, besides in movies such as “Hot Tub Time Machine,” or “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” would you be interested? I know I would. So tell me, would you visit the past, or the future? Although the future could prove interesting, I can only imagine the consequences of technology driving us further apart. Personally, I wouldn’t be interested in a world where everyone only interacts on small screens using an alphabetic version of shorthand. UKWIM K
However, if you’re interested in experiencing a life less complicated, where everyone knows each other and contributes to the wellbeing of the community, then travel back in time to the not so distant 19th century. Besides, when was the last time you were in the mood for old-time breaking and hackling, or a day of wheelwrighting and tinsmithing? I know you’re thinking who wouldn’t be, right?
Fortunately, such a place exists where time stands still and history has been scrupulously preserved. And each year, privileged time travelers congregate on the fourth Saturday in October when Dr. and Mrs. Hart open Hart Square to the public and miraculously transport folks into a different world; truly an experience never to be forgotten.
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Dating from 1782 to 1873, the log buildings house churches, homes, stores, and so much more. Completely furnished in furniture and other implements from that era, artisans demonstrate lace making, open-hearth cooking, shingle riving, and yes, even moonshining.
This year my friend Alan, “Doc”, a photo-journalist for Full Throttle, was kind enough to invite me to travel back in time for a day. Offering morsels of information about the historical significance of where we were going on the drive through the country, nothing prepared me for the surreal experience of literally arriving at an 1800’s village. Of course, we were each given a map, however, I was content to simply wander around from cabin, to barn, to root cellar, to pit saw, to stockade, to Indian village, to schoolyard, to church, to…goodness, with over 90 points of interest on the map I can’t begin to name them all. I simply ambled about in awe of a lifestyle long forgotten and yet so carefully maintained.
Dickens, there are so many amazing things about life almost two hundred years ago. First they didn’t waste anything. Everything had a purpose. In the millinery I was shown how women saved hair from brushes in a decorative dish and then rolled it into a ‘rat’ to ‘pouf’ their hair. Then I met the doctor who showed me a box of medicinal powder which cured everything…including crotch crickets. Who knew there was such a thing as crotch crickets? I found myself bitten by the time traveler bug and wanted to do and see everything. So I panned for gold, printed a sign on a Platen press, swung on a swing in the schoolyard, learned about lace making using bobbins and a technique resembling dancing, only with your hands. Amazingly, I even saw a jar opener made of wood. Plus a rocking mammy bench, a porch swing cradle and a man scraping fur off a deer hide to make buckskin clothes. Unlike today, if they needed it, they made it and only used what was necessary. Not saying we’re wasteful, but…well…you know.
Oh, then there was a raft which, via a rope, allowed folks to pull themselves across the lake a short distance to view the fishing cabin. Dickens, I love fishing and definitely wanted to ride the raft across the water. What fun! I also love horses and said ‘hello’ and rubbed their ears as I passed different ones. Being with a shutterbug made for great photo ops too, even in the jail where a man dressed in period clothing sat on the cot. Asking what he did, “I didn’t do nuttin’!” he protested. Well, who knew I’d be joining him when Alan suggested I get inside for a photo shoot. Well dickens, didn’t have to ask me twice I’d never been in jail. Happily opening the cell door, I walked in and told the inmate, “I didn’t do nuttin’ neither!”
By the end of the day I was thankful the car was parked close. I could barely take another step as I walked out of the 1800’s and back into reality. A piece of me will always be grateful for the adventure back to the 19th Century. Time travel might have only lasted one day, but memories last forever.
Can you imagine…a cure for everything…including…you know?
Smile, and enjoy ‘time’ wherever you are.
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