Hager House Event- Sept 12-13 2009

Posted By on September 17, 2009

This event came onto my schedule rather last minute.  My friend Tom said, “Hey can you come out to the Hager house in Hagerstown, MD this weekend?  We’re doing a small encampment for an arts and crafts festival they put on, and we’d love to have you.”  I had planned on attending the CI event, but feeling somewhat under the weather already, I decided to stay a bit more local and check out this event.

Saturday was a bit cold and damp, but was still well attended.  I set up under a fly loaned to me by my friend Mardel, who has more canvas than anyone I know at this time.  She was very generous, and setting up the fly took no time at all.  The Friends of Fort Frederick, set up a couple small wedge tents and a fly as well, and Tom set up his small Native tent and supplies, to discuss the trading that went on at the site in the 1750s with the Indians and locals.  We were sat at the end of the rows of craft merchants, selling herbs, doll clothes, blacksmith and silversmiths, and wind chime makers, but had fantastic shade and a good crossbreeze.  Saturday I was able to wear my full regimental and be comfortable, which reminds me sadly that fall is coming and with it the end of our fine reenacting season.

We had a good turnout on Saturday, which allowed me to discuss all the different aspects of 18th century medicine and life on the frontier.  I had a good assistant in the young son of Tom, who ground snakeroot in a mortar and pestle.  This gave me proof that an idea I have currently forming in my head will be of great use in the future- putting the young apprentices to work next to me as I discuss the finer points of medicine that way they learn and work while I work as well.  The snake root ground well and opened up a flurry of conversation about the efficacy of 18th century medicine, which was also very advantageous.  I had several people stay for upwards of 20-30 minutes, which is encouraging to me- I am engaging the public and I’m sure they are coming away with valuable information as well.

I had a whole bunch of little kids come around on Saturday and Sunday, and for them, instead of discussing the scary aspects of amputation, etc, I’ve picked up the habit of showing them Wilbur- my pet tooth with 2 cavities.  I figure at least I’m showing them that I pull teeth as a doctor, but also encouraging them to brush every day because they don’t want to look like Wilbur.  I need to really send a thank you card to my friend Carter for Wilbur- he’s been a great help in my interpretation.

Sunday was sunny and warmer, and I brought fresh roses and sugar for the apprentices who were so excited about grinding with the mortar and pestle to actually make something- conserve of roses.   We got several roses ground into a fine paste, then added the sugar.   I’ll be stirring it at home for 3 months, then seeing if it has viability for an actual medication or not.  Here’s to experimentation!  The one young apprentice I had for Sunday enjoyed it greatly, until hte Yellow Jackets started to amass.  Then we shut down operations to keep the bees away.

Both Saturday and Sunday we were treated to Native American dancing by Tom’s dance troupe, which was fantastic.  I felt myself swept up in the music and the rhythm, and was almost inclined to go dance as well.  But that’s rather unbecoming when you’re discussing medicine with the public- to just get up in the middle of a sentence and dance.  Maybe next time.

Overall this was a great event, and I felt as if I got good questions and discussions with many people.  I also got to encourage a bunch of people to come to ghost walk, and feel out how I like my new layout with 2 tables instead of one.  I hope we get to do another event there in the not so far future!

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