Monday, November 12, 2007

I Did Not Knit

I did not knit this weekend, which one would think would be good for my poor, aching body. Still, I feel like I've been beat with a stick.

I'd been researching nineteenth-century candy for months. In my mind, I had a hazy vision of the candy display and a hazier vision of myself actually selling the candy. Still, it was a pretty picture.

(image courtesy of Anna Allen)

The reality, however, was that on Friday, I taught classes all day, loaded heavy boxes until the truck was completely filled, unloaded those same heavy boxes, and was still unpacking those same heavy boxes around 11 p.m.

On Saturday, I started selling candy around 8 a.m. and was still selling it by the time it got dark that evening. I was on my feet the whole time and with no time to eat breakfast or lunch. I was surrounded by nothing but sugar all day, and I was never alone. I fell asleep from sheer exhaustion around 9 p.m.

On Sunday, I woke around 5:30 a.m. and began using an inkwell and dip pen to update my books and to fill out sales receipts for all the participants. I again went without breakfast or lunch. I sold candy and settled accounts until about 2 p.m. Then I packed up those heavy boxes and drove home to unpack them again.

They're still on the living room floor.

I have a new-found respect for sutlers at reenactments. Even more, I have a respect for nineteenth-century shopkeepers.

I could not have pulled it off without the help of Virginia Mescher's article in Civil War Historian.

And so, since I made the speech about four thousand million times this weekend, here it is once more:

On the left, we have medicinal items: Chase's lozenges in wintergreen, peppermint, and spearmint for your stomach; horehound drops for cough; and licorice root if you indulge in tobacco and would like to quit. We have pilot bread, which does not mold quickly and would have been shipped here in large wooden crates like the one under the window. In confections, we have blackjacks; brandy drops; candied ginger; sugared almonds; turkish delight flavored with rose; nougat; Peerless wafers; a barley sugar cup and saucer; salem gibralters in lemon and mint; braided candy sticks in clove, cinnamon, and butter rum; sugar cigars; burnt nuts; humbugs in mint and other flavors; cordial drops; gum arabic drops; creme drops; sassafras candies; lemon drops; groundnut candy; marzipan; nonpareils; rock candy; candied tamarind; candied jujubes; and dried barberries.

Thank you so much. Enjoy your visit. Safe journey home.

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