Although Tom and I are back in a routine after the government shutdown, there are some things at work that were hurt by the shutdown. Planning – for instance. Our precious two years at Fort Frederica we spent the first couple of weeks of January fitting into our roles and getting a schedule established. That has been a little harder this year since we missed most of January. One of the events that came up suddenly was Georgia History Day at Oglethorpe Point Elementary.
Every year Oglethorpe Point Elementary invites all kinds of living history from all over to come and present programs to the school. It is always the first Friday of February. This year that happened to be February 1. Fort Frederica had only been open for five days when our boss, Ranger Michael, checked his email and noticed the one from Oglethorpe Point Elementary. Suddenly, Thursday at 3 p.m., Tom and I were rescheduled to spend Georgia History Day away from the park.
Tom has gone the last two years with Ranger Ellen, who usually takes care of all the details. This year Ranger Ellen was gone to a class. Tom agreed to go – he knows the routine – and he recruited me. So, early on Friday morning we met Ranger Michael at the park, loaded up the children’s living history costumes, and drove the one mile to Oglethorpe Point Elementary School.
Tom and I were part of the kindergarten rotation for Georgia History Day. The kindergartners also played colonial games in the gym and listened to a person playing the dulcimer. Many children told us they touched snakes and turtles from the Tideland Nature Center. Our job was to teach them just a bit about the founding of Georgia and let them dress up in historical clothing.
The classes came to us one at a time in the Library. We sat the children around a map of the world and talked about people traveling from Great Britain to Georgia. We also talked about the countries of Europe having a hard time getting along – like brothers and sisters. Then we talked about some things that were the same as today: people were smart and resourceful. And we talked about some things that were different: technology and clothing. We ended our time by letting them try on some of the historical clothing and taking some pictures.
We had a break at lunch time, and the school paid for our lunches in the cafeteria. The food was better than I remember cafeteria food. I had a chef salad while Tom had a burger that looked like the essential school lunch burger. We had our choice of milk, kool-aid, or sweet tea to drink. We sat at a table with some of the other living history people and a couple representing the Jekyll Island Historical Museum. Very interesting.
After our last class of the day, we loaded up the costumes and returned to finish out our day at the park. I enjoyed my first appearance at Georgia History Day. As always, Tom and I love connecting children with history.