Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am happy to tell you that this is the last blog entry about that convention thing Mom went to last week.    After this, I will be able to write about dogs and extinct animals and weird words and all the kinds of stuff I usually like to write about.

So anyway, on Thursday night at the convention, there was this event called "Authors' Night," and a bunch of people who wrote books were there trying to sell them.  Also there were some yummy snacks to eat and a bar where you could get drinks, and two guys were singing and playing instruments.  The two guys were called the Gum Springs Serenaders.  One of them played a banjo, and the other one played a fiddle, which is just another word for a violin.

After Mom ate some goodies and bought some books that she probably won't ever find time to read, she went and listened to the music.  Then she asked the banjo player why there were no frets on the neck of his banjo.  He said that was how they used to make them, and he said the banjo came from Africa originally.  Well, I think that is pretty cool, since basenjis also came from Africa originally, as I might have mentioned before.

Anyway, the man also told Mom that banjos were first made by slaves, but then white people started using them in comic acts in minstrel shows.  These white people painted their faces black and then they made fun of black people.  So the real black people stopped playing the banjo and started playing the guitar instead.

The banjo player at the convention wanted to know if anybody had a request for a song, and Mom asked if they had already played "Sweet Betsy from Pike."  He said they hadn't played it, and they had a version they could play.  He told Mom that that song came from England, and it had several different versions, including the one that most people know, which is mostly about going west in a covered wagon.  But since these two guys play music from before the Civil War, they sang "Sweet Betsy" with all different words.

 Here's a picture of the book room at the convention.  There weren't really a lot of books that Mom wanted to buy, but she did buy two there.  The rest of the books she got were in the silent auction.

One lady had a whole bunch of interesting old clothing from the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s.  Every day she had some clothes on display from a different decade.

Also, this lady wore some old-style dresses that she had made, and she said she would make dresses for anybody that wanted her to.  You could pick the fabric and the pattern you wanted her to use.  Mom did not ask the lady to make her a dress because Mom doesn't really have any places to wear clothes like that.  Mom didn't even ask how much it costs to have a dress made.  I am sure that Mom would rather spend the money on dog food, and that's why she didn't ask.

The day that Mom was taking pictures of old authentic clothes was the day that the 1840s clothes were on display.  Here is a very pretty dress that you might wear on a nice occasion.

And here is the corset you had to wear under your dress to make you look small and slender.  After you got it laced up, you pretty much couldn't take any deep breaths the rest of the day.  Besides the corset, you had to wear a chemise and a couple of petticoats and a hoop skirt, at least during the 1860s.  It took lots and lots of fabric to make all these items of clothing, as you can imagine.

This is a bonnet, and in the background, there is a wedding dress.

In this photo, you can see a girl's dress and shoes.  Also there is a boy's jacket and trousers.

If you were just hanging out at home, you could wear something a little more comfortable, such as this dress, and you didn't have to wear a corset under it.  But if somebody suddenly showed up to pay a visit, you would have to put on a nicer dress or else pretend you weren't home.

So I will just end this by saying that people really dressed funny back in those days.  But at least they didn't dress their dogs up in goofy costumes, or at least we don't have any evidence to show that they did.  And that's a very good thing!

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