We survived the festivities at Old World Wisconsin in 104 degree heat! I wore a very special costume that had only been worn once before. It was silk and “tropical weight” wool with beautiful accents of military buttons and lapels and florets.
I was interviewed by Fox 6 News about my experience wearing 19th century clothing in the heat. I relayed information about what I was wearing and how it felt and then said that I thought people in the 19th century lived more closely in harmony with their environment instead of trying to manipulate or change it. Therefore, they get used to variations in temperature and become more resilient….or something like that. Then I went into the church and played a few hymns on the pump organ while the assembly sang. Then another interpreter took over and I sang descants along to some more hymns. When that concluded, we closed the building and got ready for the parade. I was part of the Temperance Society and marched singing a song to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic urging the whiskey shops to close! Steve carried the banner of the Democratic candidate who lost to Rutherford B. Hayes. There were stirring speeches, but we omitted the reading of the Declaration of Independence in order to keep the program short. It was, after all, about 95 degrees in the shade. After that program, I got to go take my lunch in the air-conditioned break room and sample the potluck goodies (including root beer floats!) that the staff had contributed. The afternoon visitors were few and far between, so I spent the time doing some sewing and mopping my head and neck with a handkerchief dipped in cold pump water.
After work, I dropped my costume off and changed into 21st century clothes. Now I’m home sipping a cold Wisconsin beer and lying nearly naked in front of a fan. It’s 90 degrees in the house, but that’s still cooler than it is outside! No matter how independent we think we are, we are still part of the environment, still interconnected to life, still dwellers in a habitat, trying to survive. That teaches me to respect the planet and everything on it and to strive to become happily interdependent in the world.