Daily Life – Living in the Past

I just came across a magazine called Early American Life. It is a niche magazine dealing with Colonial life in America, both east and southwest. It has plenty of historical detail for re-enactors or history buffs like myself.

It is refreshing to see a magazine with quality reporting and well-crafted articles that are directed at a specific field of interest. General interest magazines are sadly, a dime a dozen, particularly as they move to the Internet. This needn’t be so, but it is the nature of a void like the Internet that demands to be filled with endless amounts of copy.

Most importantly I was excited to find a magazine that exemplifies an area of history study that has always fascinated me. The word quotidian expresses it best, those little things that add up to make what we know as everyday life. To simplify, I call it the history of daily life.

Time Travel

This was my favorite boredom fix as a kid. I would take whatever circumstance I was in and try to imagine it in a different era of history, a little time travel.

Say I was on a long drive home with my parents, no scenery to speak of, 12 years old, getting carsick, what to do? What if it wasn’t the present, but two hundred years earlier in colonial era America?

What would I wear? Well, not jeans and a t-shirt, but what was the equivalent for a middle class miss? What would I be riding in? A mini-van? No. Well then, maybe a carriage, but what kind? How many horses, or would I be on horseback?

Where would I be traveling? What kind of house would I live in? What would I eat? What amenities would exist? Electricity? Certainly not. Plumbing? Not really – just a chamber pot (imagine that the next time you stumble to the bathroom early in the morning!). What would I do all day? Sewing? School? Music? The list can go on and on.

Try a little time travel yourself – where would you go? How would you have been living?

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