Monday, February 11, 2013

Making New Friends

At the end of October I had a pretty horrid day at the museum. Many of the houses were covered in plastic Halloween decorations, but there were still school groups on field trips trying to learn history. I was supposed to be roleplaying in the Colonial Tavern, but in order to do so I would have had to take down a room full of fake cobwebs and plastic skeleton parts. I decided to spend my day in one of the gardens instead. It may not have been the most historical garden, but it was a heck of a lot better than being surrounded by light-up ghosts and big rubber rats. And it was, until the helicopter looking for a missing girl hovered over the museum for almost 45 minutes. It was so low I had to raise my voice to be heard. Really hard to do first-person interpretation with a helicopter hovering directly overhead.

I limped my way through the day, until mid-afternoon when a little girl came to visit me. Her family are members of the museum, and she visits all the time to say hello to her friends Mrs. Shapiro and Mrs. Aldrich. She was happy to make my acquaintance, and walk around the garden with me. We picked mint sprigs and talked about making tea. We rubbed our hands over the rosemary plant, smelled the strong scent of wormwood, and petted the lamb's ears. She admired my stitching, I admired her dress, and we had a pleasant chat until her folks said it was time to move on. The interaction totally saved my final day of roleplaying in the regular season.

On the last day of the Christmas Stroll program Kristina and I were admiring a lovely blue coat on a little girl, when she came right up to me and told me she had a gift for me. It was my little visitor from the last day of October! She and her mother had made cookies, and she had drawn a picture of the two of us in the garden on the label. I almost cried. I did give her a big hug, and thanked her before she had to go.

I have tons of cool moments as a role-player, but some of them stand out. You can't hope to have special moments every day, certainly not ones that are as memorable as the above. But one or two per season help me to be sure that costumed roleplaying is the coolest job ever.


  1. Moments such as those are really quite special. When kids are willing to stay, watch and are truly engaged it often makes me 1)wonder what old kindred spirit is in there, and 2)thank the gods that not all the youth is vapid and devoid of interest in 'real life'. It is wondrous to kindle that sort of connection.

  2. Your helicopter story made me chuckle! (hope the missing girl was found) Even so, been there, done that! On all of this. The good, the bad, and the in-between. And yet, yes, it surely is what makes these jobs so rewarding! HUZZAH!

  3. Awww...Isn't that so nice? Those are the kind of things that make your day. I know my hubby (who teaches special needs kids) has been given homemade goodies and the sweetest notes at times. So nice to see you at the Twelfth Night Ball!
    Hope to see you again soon~

  4. I love those moments! I reenact a Civil War schoolteacher, and now whenever the children see me, they yell "teacher!" and plaster themselves to my skirts. I have a few dirty hand prints on most of my dresses, but I cherish them. They're a reminder why I love my hobby so much! Lovely blog, by the way...


  5. Thanks for all the responses! You know, I've read books and heard folk talk about the diffuculties of interacting in character (first person) with kids, and how sometimes kids don't get it... well I don't get that sentiment! The vast majority of the kids I've interacted with over my lifetime of doing this are happy to jump into my world and play along.