Last week, on June 24th, was my best day of giving talks so far. Despite my 9:50 being a complete and utter disaster (I forgot stories, I told them out of order, got nervous, and it wound up being only 20 minutes).
Then my 11:50 and 1:50 were fantastic. I told all of my stories that I wanted to tell, got laughs out of the audience where I wanted them, AND THE BEST PART? My visitors were actually super interested and they asked questions!!!!!! It was incredibly thrilling for me to actually be asked intelligent questions.
All of that being said, I did have two silly questions one of which was a man who had been on my talk asked me as I was preparing to go upstairs to our break room, “Is that uncomfortable?” and he made a motion in front of his stomach…he was referring to my corset. I stared at him and then said, “I am not sure what you’re asking me.” Then the visitor got this awkward look on his face and he tried explaining he was asking me about my corset and his wife goes “That is not an appropriate question to ask a lady.”
The other one I had, was as I was going upstairs to the guest house to change out of my clothes for the day a visitor asked me what some of the buildings in that general area were and I told him and then another visitor walking by goes “Do you own slaves ma’am?” Again I stopped in my tracks and simply said, “No one owns slaves anymore, sir.” Then continued about my day.
So this past Thursday, the 29th. I had an incredibly long day because I opened at one of my retail jobs, had an hour break in between jobs, and then I was supposed to close at my other retail job. Have I mentioned that Sunday the 3rd will be my first day off in 20 days? I am mildly exhausted. So with my hour long break on Thursday I went to Barnes and Noble to meet with the lady who is Jennie Peers’ great, great, niece! Her great great grandfather is Jennie’s little brother Charles!! She was an absolute joy to meet with and she gave me a copy of the Sackett family history. Within five minutes of reading the book I was literally jumping out of my chair with excitement. It had information on how Jennie and George met, more information about her family, and what Charles did after he got out of the prisoner of war camp he was locked up in when he got captured. This is a pretty wild story.
Apparently their father was a very prosperous business man who owned a flour mill that operated on the James River. Their mother and a baby brother died of illness and shortly after the mill was lost because Benjamin Sackett, Jennie and Charles’ father had loaned money to someone and that friend could not pay the loan back and he lost everything. George Peers worked at the flour mill which is how he met Jennie. He was married to Jennie and then Mr. Sackett being left behind with two young boys he could not care for, he sent them off to his wife’s family in Tennessee, which explains the connection to the 63rd TN. However, that does not explain the Appomattox enlistment papers I have, nor does some of Alice’s writings jive with the records I have for when Charles was captured. She says he was captured in 1862 during the 7 days battles, but I have records that he was captured April 4th, 1865. Both of which are primary sources so the question is, what is correct? Seeing as how the book was written after Charles died, I am thinking it is possible that Alice got the battles wrong and the military records seem to be more reliable since they are more consistent.
I have since re-worked my talk to include new information in my talk, changing how I talk about Charles and Jennie’s upbringing.
Yesterday of course was my first day that I planned on starting the new version of the talk. However at 9:50 in the morning, my first scheduled talk, NO ONE showed up. My ego was honestly a little bruised and there were three of us scheduled yesterday so that meant I did not have another talk until 12:50. Then they brought my 12:50 talk out and as if to add insult to injury, there were only five or six people and they all seemed bored…ONE GUY EVEN FELL ASLEEP. I was pretty frustrated at that point and feeling rather down about myself. Then my last talk of the day came along and that was 3:50. Again, I did not have a very big group but they were fantastic. They were very interested and listened. They participated and laughed at my jokes. I did have a couple who did not know who Joshua Chamberlain was and it was quite possibly the most bizarre moment I have had yet. So I had to add a quick blurb about why people love him so much because of Gettysburg. Otherwise they were all super interested and one man kept thanking me over and over again and telling me what a great job I did and his friend asked me questions about why the jail has two different color of bricks. Overall, the 3:50 talk revitalized my excitement and made up for the two earlier disappointments of the day.
Currently up to 212 and a half hours at Appomattox, which means I get my volunteer annual pass this summer! I am so excited!
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!