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July 2006

2006 Calendar of Events

July 21-23 Re-enactment at Glenview (The Grove), IL
August 4-6 Re-enactment with the 26th North Carolina Infantry (the Unit will attend as Confederate) at Boscobel, WI
August 11-13 Living History at Des Plaines, IL (the 64th will be falling in under the 10th Illinois Infantry)
September 8-10 Re-enactment at Lockport, IL
September 15-17 Re-enactment at Marengo, IL

Remember that you can always find more event details and directions at the unit website, http://www.64thill.org/events/. We also have info on several Civil War dances/formal balls held throughout the year in the area.

Dollinger Farm Program Could Use A Few Good Men

Bob Bierman is kindly asking for a few good military re-enactors to help out with a special program that will be held at Dollinger Farm August 12 approximately from 9 AM to 3:30 PM. The agenda that day it to help draw grant money for the Minooka re-enactment and provide more quality programs for the event. It will also be geared to teachers who are looking to accumulate more accreditation credits to their teaching certifications. Along with other planned activities there will be special guest speakers from the Joliet Historical Society, Phil Laurencella, and Judge Daniel Rozak, who is an authority on Will County's 100th Ill. Regt. Bob would like to see at least 4 or 5 volunteers attend, if possible, and those volunteers should come in full uniform so as to add to the civil war atmosphere that they would like the program to have.

A Word of Thanks

The Biermans would like to thank all the members of the 64th who have sent condolences in regard to the recent passing of Dianna's father. The outpouring of sympathy is greatly appreciated, so thanks again for all your support and care.

And For Those of You Sick of Sleeping Under Canvas

Jack Rasmussen is looking to sell his RV, which is a 1989 Leprechaun by Coachmen. It is in good condition and has not been used much within the past two years. He is looking to sell it for $8,000, so if you're interested, please contact him at (815) 436-7289.

For Sale by Mary Gutzke

I'm still cleaning out the reenacting closet of some used but much-loved clothing. I have several 1-piece dresses and multiple-piece outfits. Fits approximately size 6/8 (petite). Great for starter clothing or if you know someone of this size. Please inquire with Mary Gutzke for details and/or pictures: roseof1861@lycos.com.

Civilians at Wauconda
By Mary Gutzke

We had a nice civilian turnout at Wauconda! It is a really great sight (and feeling) to see so many talented civilians working on their skills at once.

What a great way to teach spectators of the broad range of skills that our ancestors had (usually not by choice) and why they were necessary to know.

At Wauconda, the ladies of the 64th showed off at least four different needlecrafts simultaneously! And I KNOW there are others in the 64th with many other talents...every person has SOMETHING that they are good at; all it takes is a little imagination and research to find the 1860s equivalent of that skill! So research those ideas, bring them out to events, try to teach me (because if I can learn something new, anyone can...) and the public as well. Keep up the good work and keep it coming!

A Newbie's Notes
By Melina McVicker

Okay, so maybe the title of this commentary is not exactly accurate. I have been re-enacting for a few years now, so I'm not technically a 'newbie', but in consideration with a great deal of other more, um, seasoned, re-enactors, I'm definitely still very wet behind the ears. As being one of the newest rookies on the team there's a few things I've noticed about the whole re-enacting world in which I thought I might pass along to the rest of you.

For one thing, what is it that the rest of the population has against civil war re-enacting? I mean, we're not all crazy, you know. (Okay, so some of us have a few more eccentricities than others, but if we were all the same wouldn't the world be boring?) Case in point: I went to go have my teeth cleaned a while ago, so there I was in a reclining chair with this young dental hygienist sticking sharp little pointy things in my mouth. Don't ask me why exactly, but whenever you get two women together in a room they have to start talking about something to keep the mood light and breezy, notwithstanding the simple fact that one is in the process of having sharp pointy things stuck into her mouth. And just how exactly do two perfect strangers begin a conversation? There are plenty of neutral subjects you can start with, but one of the favored questions that people ask in which they know would lead to a possibly lengthy conversation (or at least one that will fill up the time it takes to check, scrape, floss, and then polish a full set of teeth) is the wonderful, "So, what did you do this weekend?"

Now, just as there are a variety of questions to ask there are just as many answers to give. The most blunt and evading while not being rude would be, "Oh, nothing really." - Sometimes I take this route, but not usually. I didn't take it that day, and perhaps I should have for I had spent that last weekend at an event.

"Oh, I went camping."

I know what you're thinking. How dare I call re-enacting 'camping'? Blasphemy! But hear me out, people, and take into account the person before me, who was one of these perfectly modern twenty-something-ish women who had the perfectly styled blond hair and perfectly manicured nails under her latex gloves. This chickie looked like she read Cosmo far too often and filled out all the quizzes, but I'm certainly not saying she was unintelligent. I certainly wouldn't want a dumb person picking at my molars, and I have faith in the dental office's hiring practices, but I'm getting off track here. What I mean is that I had a feeling that she just wouldn't 'get' civil war re-enacting, much less even know what it was. So I boiled that weekend's past event down to its bare bones, which to me, sacrilegious as it may have been, was camping.

She replied, perking up and interested, "Oh, where did you go?"

I paused. Aw, cr@p, I thought. What do I do? So I did what people shouldn't do, - be honest.

"Er, I'm a civil war re-enactor."

Dead silence.

This is what I was afraid of. Alrightie then, take the route of humor to get things comfortable again.

I chuckled, "It's basically camping in a hoop skirt."

That did nothing. Still dead silence as she reached over the pick up that tooth scaler that looked like you could hook a swordfish while deep-sea fishing. I sighed. I should have just followed with my instincts.

"So," I quickly changed the subject before she confronted me with the hook, "Did you see Idol last night?"

I sure hadn't. I hate reality shows. Hicks who? - But at least mentioning it quickly snapped this girl's impression of me back into something close to normal.

Why is that? So many people like history and yet when it comes to those of us who love history so much that we actually re-enact past days they look at us like we're a bunch of weirdos. I'm not saying all, just some. Hollywood's portrayal of re-enactors doesn't help either, like that in Sweet Home Alabama. Cute movie, but bad take on civil war re-enactors. Hollywood has helped in one way, though, by asking re-enactors to work as stand-ins for movies or documentaries. Granted, it's probably just a cheap way for them to get extras and cut down on their costuming budget, but the normies (that's what I call those weird modern folk) sure do light up when they find out they might see you in Gods & Generals and that you've personally talked to some of the actors in it. Funny how Hollywood has the power to build a bridge between the sets of weirdos. Now, if more famous people re-enacted the world just might be a better place. Sigh...

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be at the Glenview event on Saturday after dinner. Please try to make it!!


Capt. Scott taking a nose count for Perryville. It is the large national re-enactment on October 6-8, 2006. He needs to know by the end of next week if you are interesting in attending this event with us so we can get registered. Registration is $10/man and car-pooling will help save on gas money. He needs to know ASAP if you want to or can go. Please contact him soon at (847) 215-2060 or sgutzke@lycos.com!

And Finally, A Note From the Editor

As you can see the newsletter has slimmed down to its summer weight, which is getting way too close to emaciated, if you ask me. Because of this I'm sending a call out far and wide for submitted articles from any of the 64th members who are interested. It doesn't necessarily have to be articles either, if you have any stories or jokes (lets keep them clean please!) I'd be more than willing to publish them too. I was even thinking of beginning a question and answer column or perhaps a zany 'Dear Melina' segment meant for pure entertainment only. If you have any suggestions or any of the above mentioned articles to share, please contact me at my email address: mcvicker@mc.net or send it to:

Melina McVicker
21106 West Coral Road
Marengo, IL  60152

Thanks again!


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