I really didn't want to place this in the Recruiting section. Reason is it is more of a rant, with maybe some insight from others that have been around for awhile.
I got back into reenacting last year, after many years of being out of the hobby all together. I started back in 1976 as a teenager, joining with a unit of fellows not much older than me, and led by a man that was about 12 years older than the rest of us. It was a wonderful time of learning and experiance. The hobby was growing from the days of gray and blue workclothes, farb muskets, and plastic bill kepis. We were learning to make period cartridges, instead of using penny rolls, making tarred haversacks expermenting with both that and learning from looking at examples on how to make them. If you wanted something other than farb sutler items, but made it yourself for the most part. There were some places out there, but few and far between. It was also a time of co-operation. Reenactments were fast and loose in those days, yet great friendships between units started to form, and early organizations like Thomas's Mudsill, and Cleburnes took things to a new level.
Fast forward, I have been a soldier in the Army, and was discharged a DAV. Later trying to keep myself working and adjusting to civilian life, a young man playing with the radio drifts lanes and strikes my vehicle while I was on my way to work. I am pushed into head on traffic on a busy road, and am stuck head on. A semi-truck loaded, can not get out of the way in time and runs over half of my vehicle, crushing me from the waist down inside the car.
Fast forward again. 15 years later, I have learned how to walk without aid, I am getting myself in shape. Doing what I can to gain back some of my strength. Mind you I will never have it all back. Between the broken bones, wounds, and 2 missing vertibre, I am not a limber as I should be. But the spirit I find is stronger than the body. So I go back to the hobby I so dear love. What I find is something different.....
Organizations that can not work together, due to a few egos. Units that for what ever reason refuse to talk with each other, and even forbid it's members from associating with each other. More F A R B attitudes than I ever remembered. Sure they were always part of reenacting, but most were simply learning and improving. Notice I said attitudes. I have seen the best and most detailed down authenic outfit, worn by men that couldn't speak the lingo of the day, or march thier way out of a paper sack. I do not look down on anyone that does not have a good impression. I do however get steamed when folks do not even TRY to do so.
That said, here I am. Wanting to campaign, but know I am not that young man anymore. But I still want it. So I try to bring in period attitudes, music, cooking ect., into my present outfit to fill that void. What do I get? More problems. Most do not want that, thus they look at me as a trouble maker, a stitch counter, a guy that is trying to break the unit. So now, I am not happy anymore. My joy in reenacting and living history has turned sour. I want more than marching and powderburning, but I can not hang with the young campaigners, nor should I. I would look out of place in thier ranks, and would lessen thier enjoyment. I am a firm believer I not causing a problem with other, even if I have the right to be there. I will give a example of what I mean.
At a recent event, some in the unit came to pitch thier tents in their street clothing. Or they would get up in the morning in modern sweat pants. To me that is just wrong. I didn't say anything, but many come to a event to live the past. They are getting away from the 21st century and stepping back in time, if only for a few moments. To me that is disrespectful to those men. IF I mention this I get the "we will do our thing you do yours answer". But that is not good enough for me. I want something better.
So here I am finishing my rant. Trying to find a sweet spot somewhere. I know I will be making some mad, other disappointed, and a few sad. But, I think this is the last year for me where I am at now. I want to find a home where I can slip back in time, eat, sleep, and live the weekend in the 19th century, but under my coverlet, or blanket, there might be a pad to ease my pain, or a hidden cot under the straw. And maybe on a cold night a sleeping bag tucked away. But, when the sun comes up in the morning or even before and I wake up, once again I step back in time, sing old songs with pards, and prepare to defend my way of life, or defend the Union.