Old Bedford Village Guest Review III

August 29, 2009 - 2 Comments

by Jim Barnes


Submitted by Patricia Patterson, this is the fourth in a series on Old Bedford Village:

Friday morning dawned clear and cooler than expected, not that I was up at dawn, but none-the-less, so it was.  I drifted into the day slowly having found out that we could not set-up until after 1700.  I was having coffee on the patio when Karen Emmons Arrived.  The pussy cats knew something was drifty, possible because of all my stuff for the weekend was laying about on the first floor.  They know this being the owner of a reenactor and are experienced with that particular drill.  They don’t like the fact that the “staff” will be away for a few days, and are not really thrilled with the “Cat Lady” and her visits.  There was a bit of bristling and twitching- sure signs of irritation and disruptions.  I apologized as is my place in life. With a hearty “Adios” to the cats, off we went to OBV.
We arrived, parked one vehicle and headed for the best restaurant in Bedford for a late lunch.  Back at the site, we found the Head Dude and I pointedly asked where we COULD NOT set-up, “Anywhere is fine” says he.  As I have been to OBV many times, MY first consideration was of course bathroom access, so we set up right on the crossover road in the middle of the village.  Nice tree there, going to get hot, close to everything, like it.  Up we set then.
Friday evening passed fair to middling, brewskies, snacks, chatting with old friends (Peter and Kate Gentry), assorted Comrades from my Russian unit, assorted Krauts, Brits, Sillyvillian Reenactors- the usual.  I did note there were some well, oddly dressed folk.  Strange.  Later in the evening, a male/female difference of opinion was noted somewhere in the distance.  I don’t know what time it was, but if you were on the moon or in Harrisburg and had a watch on, you could have heard it and recorded the time.  I take it from overhearing that perhaps there was a romantic disagreement, or perhaps it was a reenactment of “Who Is Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.  Search me, but I am pretty sure I didn’t dream it as it woke me up from a sound sleep.  Apparently, a loud display  from an ‘Unidentified Fascist  Organization’ (Hereafter referred to as UFO..ed.) was called for, because we got that show until 0330.  I know this because by this time I had to answer the call of a few late evening brewskis.  What the Hell, I was awake anyway.  Note to self: When you write the “Universal Guide for Reenactors”, expand on the “Command and Control of Small Group Units at Small Events”, Subtitle: Virginia Woolf Meets the UFOs”
Saturday morning dawned.  I wasn’t awake at the time, but I am pretty sure it did in fact, dawn.  Karen the was up with the rooster, no really, there is a rooster, making chicken sounds.
We decided to drink some coffee and enjoy the benefits of nature while discussing the interesting, and loud proceedings of the last evening.  We discovered that we were not the only ones who were interested in the UFOs and The Virginia Woolf reenactment of the preceding PM.
We set up the camp as PTO and decided after a bit of discussion to erect one cot outside of the tent with mosquito netting and various items related.  This turned out to be the draw as we found out.  It seems that only a few people have ever seen and actual WWII mosquito net and frame.  Who knew?  We were feeling very esoteric at that point and settled in to entertain and enlighten the public.
I went to visit our friend and fellow reenactor Jim Barnes at the Russian camp.  Jim related that they also had heard the obscure UFOs  and were not amused. I then went to visit Peter and Kate, and once again it was noted that the UFOs had irritated that camp as well.  I believe a consensus was then reached.
A slight change in direction here.  The GD medical aid station was set up in the “corral” at OBV.  The sheds at the rear are open.  It seems that there was a trebochet in the most open shed of the three available.  Peter and Kate and assistants set up an excellent working aid station.  Kate had told us on Friday that they had been making “intestines” from socks and stage blood.  I went over to see them and they did in fact look like the real thing.  Cool!  Looking at the trebochet, I suggested that they could launch the expired patients into the center of the village, thus cleaning up a mess without burial.  This idea was contemplated, but it was suggested that the roof on the shed might be a problem.  I noted that maybe the first launch might be a problem, but after that it would be gravy.  They had a cook, a member who was doing German Partisan.  I remembered how much I had enjoyed running a mess, and then I remembered what a PIA it had been with a certain unnamed group.  I still miss cooking in the field despite all the problems, exhaustion and lack of appreciation.
As previously related, the sun had come up again on the fine confines of OBV.  The public was allowed in at 0900, and we proceeded to do the living history thing.  It was fairly well attended on Saturday, and Karen Emmons, Karen Knapp and yours truly chatted up the public.  I forget if it was Saturday or Sunday, but someone told Karen K. that “women did not serve in WWII.  Imagine our surprise.
The “battle” between the Krauts and the Paratroopers of the 101st took place, largely around and through our camp.  It wasn’t that large thankfully, but we did have a “dead” Kraut near the shelter half thingy that Karen Emmons built to house the coffee service.  Later the Russians had a go at the Krauts.  You know how it ended don’t you?
The rest of the day went well, and we looked forward to the free dinner served by the village to the reenactors.  The food was pretty good, spaghetti and meatballs, salad, bread, cookies and ice cream.  It rained for a bit, but not alot.  Did I mention it was hot?  It was.
The evening entertainment was a fully set up Tiki Bar done well by the 33rd Signal reenactors.  I sat around for awhile, chatted with friends and had a few Yinglings on draught.  Good beer!  Did I mention that the Tiki Bar was 40 feet away from out camp?
Later in the evening, I sat out in front of our camp and reflected on this place, and all the fun I had had over the years.  Every November, my Russian group, (193rd Rifles) has a big tactical with GD and other Russian and German groups.  One of the best reenacting experiences I ever had was here at OBV.  I would relate it, but it’s a long story.  Just suffice to say if you know what a “moment” is in reenacting, you would fully understand why so many people have one here.
This place is very special, and while not perfect is one of the few places that a tactical & living history of all era’s can take place in an atmosphere that looks like the era.  It hosts Rev War, F & I, Civil War , WWII and more.  To lose a place like this would be awful.  To those of you who have never been here, please make an effort to visit if nothing else.  You need to see the place, and they need the support.
I find myself growing fonder of smaller events.  It’s plain that there are more and more events offered.  We got invitations to at least two in October.  The irritation I have been feeling for large events, excluding the GAP is evident.  I can now understand that there is a limit to large events, and that when the limit is exceeded, problems become foremost and first beyond the stated reasons for being there.  Too many rules cause volunteers to rethink the effort, money, etc. it takes to do that thing.  A friend told me long ago that there was a marked difference between having to haul the stuff, set-up the stuff, deal with the “organizers”, buy what you need to have during the event, break-down, pack, drive and put up the stuff and just showing up when it’s almost all done.  Someone has to do both and everyone cannot do both, but I see his point now.
Sunday dawned I am told, although once again, I wasn’t awake to see it do so.  I went off to get us some breakfast and ice for the day.  There were fewer visitors on Sunday, but we had some time to walk around and talk to participants.  I finally got to watch Kate and Peter do a surgery after the skirmish on Sunday.  Good job.
So, the day came to a close and we packed up.  I really enjoyed the weekend, but I missed my friends who could not be there as I always do.  Here’s to the day when we meet again and have too much fun, laugh too much and revel in the opportunity we have to do so.
Patricia Patterson

Comments (2)

Mike "Misha" Momot 193rd

August 30th, 2009 at 11:16 am    

Great story Trish! Always an exciting event at OBV…and that’s after the public leaves. Well written.

Like yourself, and some of my fellow reenactors I think, I too, am becoming a fan of smaller events. The larger events are a hassle, seem less personal, and I generally come away with a feeling of underappreciation from the organizers. Isn’t it safe to say we are the ones putting the money in their pockets? That aside, I love OBV and hope to see it succeed. It’s an ideal setting and fairly central I think.

In reference to the general public, it always amazes me (or maybe it shouldn’t) when people don’t get their historical facts straight. Imagine no women serving in WWII! Shock, horror, gasp! We wouldn’t have won without you. Was that a woman or man…or shouldn’t I ask?

I enjoyed meeting you at OBV last November and thanks for the skinner. I’ve got my cot this year although I was comfortable in my little corner on the mat. Nice warm stove in there. Nice getting toasty with a warming drink (not from the stove – snicker, snicker).

Had surgery on my shoulder…torn labrum: needed 3 anchors and trimmed the fraying; rotator cuff (a partial tear of the subscap – rare, healed with just therapy. All back together now. It’s probably about 80% but functional. Now I can hold my drinks with two hands!

I’ll be there again this November. Matt is coming up from Towson. We won’t let him sleep in that spooky old candle shop alone like he tried the first night. Always room somewhere for someone. Hopefully, no one will need patching up though I’ll be able to do more than just hold a bandage with one hand this year.

Take care and hope to see you there –

P.A. Patterson

September 2nd, 2009 at 9:55 am    


Thanks for the comments.

As female military reenactors, we get comments like (no women served in WWII) all the time. I am also amazed that American history is not being taught anymore. You would not believe some of the things we have heard.

Good to hear your shoulder is doing better. I always look forward to November at OBV. As stated, the best time I have had as a reenactor have been there. The fun and fellowship cannot be beat.

I think a lovely Spam breakfast or two might be in order, and of course, the best coffee in camp.

Yes, we will have to get Matt in the cabin this year, and give him the best stove/firestarting lessons possible.

I am so looking forward to seeing everyone.


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