After a quarter century in the hobby of Civil War re-enacting, I thought it might be worthwhile – and fun – to make better use of my extensive familiarity with the common soldier’s clothing, equipment, food, weapons, thoughts, etc. Recently I decided to start making presentations on such subjects via a lecture service called, “Near as I Remember” Reflections of a Veteran Soldier.
I’d often helped educate the public about aspects of the Civil War during re-enactments but these opportunities were fleeting and fragmentary: I wanted to conduct them on a more formal basis. I resolved to do so in first person, in the guise of an aging Union Army veteran who’s speaking at the end of the Nineteenth Century.
I had made first person presentations over the years, primarily to school groups ranging from middle school to high school. I always enjoyed this pursuit, and was gratified that audiences took seriously my being someone that would be puzzled by references to airplanes or the Internet. The fact that I am somewhat of a ham combined with my deep knowledge to lend verve and verisimilitude to my talks.
For some time potential lecture topics had been knocking around in my head, so assigning them titles and descriptions was a straightforward process. Of course, nowadays creating a Web site and designing a business card is simplicity itself. I am also testing the waters with a modest print advertising campaign in a local weekly free newsletter. Here’s the ad:
It’s way too early to tell whether “Near as I Remember” will be a going concern or just a pipe dream. Still, I am confident that many people understand that “not all history is in the history books.” They are the ones with whom I seek to share my grasp of, and enthusiasm for, what our forebears underwent from 1861 to 1865.
Visit nearasiremember.com to learn more about the service, and to schedule one (or more) of my talks. Thank you!