I Sold My Stuff!
or, Jonah's Last Event
by Jonah Begone
On Saturday, 8/15/15 my longtime pard Mal Stylo and I drove to a Thurmont, Maryland Sheetz parking lot to sell our reenactment uniforms and leather gear. As I was dealing out of the trunk of my car it seemed a bit like a drug deal... Mal decided to keep one uniform, but my stuff, except for my Jarnagin greatcoat (bequeathed to my son) and my musket "Reb Killer" (which shall hang on the wall for effect) is gone. The gear I started buying in 1982 and added onto and replaced over the years now belongs to somebody else. I am well and truly done with Civil War reenacting.
And I never want to spend another night in a tent or a sleeping bag ever again! (I'm looking at you, Boy Scouts of America.)
How did I get to this point? Burnout, mostly. I had two Civil War reenacting periods separated by a time playing rugby: 1983 to 1997, when I was in my late twenties and thirties, and 2007 to 2013, when I was in my fifties. As you can see from an two page event list I kept, I was far more active when I was young. That makes sense, doesn't it?
The 125th series of events during the 1980's was my heyday; I expected that the 150th series would be bigger, better and somehow more significant, but, no, by the time the 150th arrived the hobby was into decline. While fun, the 150th anniversary of Antietam (in 2012) was a sillier and lesser event than the 1987 counterpart I enjoyed. (It didn't help that there were hundreds and hundreds of Federals and about fifty Rebs. Wow. Normally there are more than enough of those guys to go around.)
I passed on the 150th Manassas in 2011; those historically are immense sweatfests. No fun. A grandchild was born in 2013 so I decided to go out and see her rather than do Gettysburg 150 - priorities. I did 150th Chancellorsville in 2013 - an underwhelming event to say the least. In November I watched the annual Gettysburg parade in 21st C. clothing. By the time 2014 came along I was as disinterested in the 150th and the American Civil War as I could be. Burnout was total. Plus, my pard Chris - who got me re-started in the hobby in 2007 and provided much of the needed enthusiam - was living in Europe. So... I'm done.
As Grant MacMeans, the former "Voice of Civil War Reenacting" (when he was the editor of the Camp Chase Gazette) told me when I informed him that I was finished, "You had a good run." I did.
Demilitarization hobbies now include grandchildren. My son moved back into town and we are presently fixing up their townhouse for occupancy; he has two little boys. With additional children and grandchilden in other states, who needs a better hobby than that?
A scan of my Reenacting Scrapbook 1983-2013 is online, here. Take a look!