Historical reenactors share their hobby at Eastpointe sale

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 6, 2020

 John Fross, of Redford, tries on parts of a World War I Army uniform that he was selling to his fellow historical reenactors.

John Fross, of Redford, tries on parts of a World War I Army uniform that he was selling to his fellow historical reenactors.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

 Ken Giorlando, of Eastpointe, shows a hand-sewn coat from the 1770s that is used for Revolutionary War reenactments.

Ken Giorlando, of Eastpointe, shows a hand-sewn coat from the 1770s that is used for Revolutionary War reenactments.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

 Curtis Pool, of Troy, demonstrates one of the authentic World War II walkie talkies he sold at the reenactors sale in Eastpointe Feb. 29.

Curtis Pool, of Troy, demonstrates one of the authentic World War II walkie talkies he sold at the reenactors sale in Eastpointe Feb. 29.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Advertisement

EASTPOINTE — Several Eastpointe-area reenactors sold and traded their historically accurate clothing and equipment at a sale at the old one-room Eastpointe Schoolhouse Feb. 29.

The event was organized by reenactor Charlotte Bauer, who said that historical reenactment is a hobby that people can find rewarding. She started the sale just as a way to get some extra money for the hobby, and it grew as more of her fellow reenactors joined in.

“I’ve been a reenactor for about 18 years, and I’ve just accumulated a lot of things, and I recently decided to move from the Civil War to the Revolutionary War, so I wanted to sell some of my things off so I would have money to buy some more Colonial-era items,” she said.

Bauer got into reenacting due to her love of history and because she had friends who took part in reenactments.

“It helps if you have a love of history in the first place. That’s what got me into it,” she said. “I’ve always loved reading and hearing the stories. When Ken Burns came out with his documentary on the Civil War, I was hooked. We had friends who were in the hobby and I could sew, which is big because the clothing can be expensive.”

Numerous items were for sale across a variety of time periods in American history.

“We had lots of clothing sold; camping gear like heavy, metal pans; and lots of books, since we’re all avid readers, because we want to form an accurate character,” said Bauer.

She added that creating an accurate character is the first step that reenactors have to do.

“You don’t just dress up in your fancy doodads every day,” she explained. “You choose who you want to be, and you tailor it all to how that person would have looked and what they would have worn at that time. You could be a Civil War soldier, either for the North or the South; you could be an abolitionist woman; you could be a poor Southern sharecropper. You pick who you want to be and then explore who that person was.”

John Fross, of Redford, was on hand selling several items, including clothing from the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

“I like to do all eras,” he remarked. “I’m a history nerd. I love to reenact military history. The Civil War is the main era, but I do World War I, World War II, and I’m just starting to check out the Revolutionary War.”

He said that it’s a love of history, not war, that drives people like him to explore these eras in this way.

“I love the history,” said Fross. “I’m not a war guy, I don’t like war, but I enjoy learning about the history and how everything worked. You can’t get the real experience from reading a book. When reenacting, you’re out marching, you’re out lining up and seeing what the struggles these people saw were.”

Troy resident Curtis Pool added that, in addition to the thrill of living history, it’s a great way to meet other history buffs.

“There’s reenactors here from all periods. I’ve done them all,” Pool said. “The community is vast. It’s a way of going beyond the history books and reliving a piece of it. You can do it for the friendship and camaraderie. You get people from all different walks of life and different jobs and different professions, but you all have that common ground in mind.”

He shared one particular reenacting memory that he said will be with him his entire life.

“The coolest thing I’ve seen happen was at a Civil War event I was at,” said Pool. “We were doing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam down in Maryland. They woke us up at 4:30 a.m. and marched us out to the battlefield, and there was this thick blanket of fog where you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face. We’re standing there shoulder to shoulder on the Yankee side, and as if someone snapped their fingers, the fog lifted and the entire Confederate army was in front of us and unleashed a volley and our whole Northern line collapsed. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

There are numerous ways people can get into the reenacting community.

“You can go on Facebook and just search for reenactor groups, and a bunch will pop up,” said Bauer. “You can look for reenactments in your area coming up. Greenfield Village has one on Memorial Day weekend, which a lot of people go to. … Historic Fort Wayne has Civil War days that people can come by and check it all out.”

She said what’s great about reenacting is that people can do it in the manner that they enjoy. They can pick the time period, the character and the level of commitment.

“Most of the folks selling today are Civil War reenactors. Some are still in the hobby and many, especially the younger members, are taking up World War II to honor grandfathers or great-grandfathers,” said Bauer. “I don’t mind camping, which a lot of people do as part of the experience, but some people just come out for the day. Some people love the campfire, and you can break out some of the period songs; it’s all this huge experience that you just can’t get from a book.”

Advertisement