Passion for the Past: Last Mourner for Lincoln

March 5, 2009 - No Comments

by Sarah Barnes

A post on Passion for the Past today shared an anecdote about reenacting from a child’s perspective.

My daughter, Rosalia, at her current age of 8, has been involved in living history since she was 3. She doesn’t remember not reenacting. And she realizes that reenacting is when we pretend to be living in the old days, without electricity, cars, or TV’s. This she knew well.

Anyhow, it was at the Jackson, Michigan event, Michigan’s largest Civil War event, when Rosalia was 5 years old, and she and her little friend, Elizabeth, were watching the contra dancing at the ball. In fact, as young as they were, they even gave it a try themselves. They were lucky enough to dance a bit with none other than President Lincoln himself, of which my daughter later told me, “President Lincoln told me and Elizabeth that we were the prettiest girls at the ball!”

That made her night!

Mr. Lincoln was present at numerous other events that we participated in before the end of that year’s season, so my daughter was able to visit with him a few more times before winter hit.

Jump ahead a couple months and she was now in school – half day kindergarten. She went to school in the morning and was home with me in the afternoon (I didn’t begin work until 2:30, and that gave she and I wonderful daddy-daughter time).

So here we were, doing what any father and daughter would be doing….watching the History Channel, and it just so happened that a show about President Lincoln was on. Well, it showed how Booth sneaked up behind the 16th President and changed history.

As we were watching this, I glanced at Rosalia and noticed a tear running down her cheek. I asked her what was wrong, and in her tiny 5 year old voice, she cried, “I didn’t know Mr. Lincoln died!” And burst into tears!

And then it hit me – she never differentiated the reenactor Lincoln, portrayed by our very dear friend Fred Priebe, with the real president Lincoln! To her, they were one and the same!

Read the rest of the post here

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