Sunday, November 14, 2010

Authentic Eighteenth-Century Curls

Laura as Sybil Ludington
Sure they are!
On Friday morning, Laura's fourth-grade class put on an American Revolution Wax Museum, for which each kid was assigned a character.  They had to research their person, write a short speech about their notable achievements, and then come in costume ready to do their spiel whenever anyone approached them.  Laura was Sybil Ludington, who, as Laura could tell you, is remembered as the female Paul Revere, though, as Laura would also tell you, Sybil's midnight ride was twice as long as Paul's, AND she was only sixteen years old and rode forty miles wearing a skirt.

Kind of awesome, really.

We know a lot about Sybil Ludington in this house right now.

Coming up with colonial costumes, two weeks after Halloween, was, as we say in the South, a total PITA OMG WTF?  Like, by the time anyone could focus her attention on this, Party City and similar retail costume clothiers had turned their businesses into Christmas emporia with not a Betsy Ross lace cap to be found.

That's what I was tense about: the headwear.  Laura had this old dress-up dress that we used as a base, though Laura complained that "the crushed velvet makes me look too rich and I'm supposed to be middle class."  Yes dear, you are entirely too rich.

Then we added the long faux-leather vest, which was actually a "child's pirate vest" we found left over at Party City.  Our concept for Sybil was that she was wearing her ordinary day dress and then, when it became clear that she had to go muster the militia, she threw on some of her father's riding gear and set out that minute.

We added the gloves because it took the look away from the sort of pirate moment we were starting to have.

But I knew the way to clinch "colonial" would be to add a bonnet or one of those Mother Goose lace caps.  I could not find one, and nobody had one to lend.  I tried to improvise something with a tea towel, and we started to venture into Mary and Joseph territory.

So somehow Laura and I came up with the idea that if I curled her hair, it would seem costumey and appropriately eighteenth century.  I mean, all girls in early America had these ringlets, right?  I'm sure there is an American Girl movie that says so.  And anyway, I think it's more authentic than a bonnet because only grown, married ladies covered their heads all the time.  Or so sayeth the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and that's authority enough for me.  I got up at 6:45 and went to work with the curling iron and the hairspray, and she was SO IN LOVE with herself when I was finished.

Anyway, the whole event was super cute, even if those fourth-graders are Olympic-level mumblers.

And there was a very not-African Phyllis Wheatley there.  Also, Laura's friend Patrick Henry was so cute I wanted to pin him to my jacket.

Patrick Henry

Declaration Gang

Laura's 4th Grade Class

And in other Laura hair news, the cutest barrette arrived in the mail from Beth.

Laura with Barrette

Peace Barrette

Beth has a cute Etsy shop where she sells these handmade felt barrettes.  Thank you, Beth! Check her shop out if you need something for a little girl. Laura loves this barrette and it is totally in line with her sartorial commitment to peace.

That is what's going on with Laura's hair.  She was so eager to keep these curls that she hasn't bathed all weekend.  Delightful!

I hope y'all had a great Saturday and Sunday.  More soon. xo-B


Michele said...

When I was a kid we had to wrap our hair in cloth strips. It took hours and we had to sleep in these rolls overnight. Then suffer having them unrolled. Your way is so much better and Laura is adorable in ringlets.

Kelly said...

I was wondering what that horse was doing in the living room. Great costume! Laura looks beautiful with curls and that Patrick Henry is awesome. Love his shoes ;)

Megan said...

What a great idea for a fourth grade history project! Or was it an acting project? Fabulous either way! Also, Becky, do you live in costume-design heaven, because every child in that photo looks very authentically turned out. I am getting nervous for when my kids reach that age... In any case, excellent job on the ringlets. They really turned out lovely. Fourth grade me would have been uber envious of them.

Maggie May said...

My 8 year old Lola would love that peace barrette! ANd wow, could your daughter look anymore like you? Adorable costumes and hair.

Jenni said...

Wow! This post makes me equal parts look forward to and dread elementary school.

They are too cute though.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

She's adorable.

And you, my friend, are dedicated!

delaine said...

How precious! What a cute idea for a class to do! Laura looks divine in ringlets. I salute your hair skills. Please tell Laura i want to hear her spoken part when we see her again. RInglets!

Elizabeth said...

She looks adorable and VERY authentic. When my son was in fourth grade and did the wax museum thing, they were Chumash Indians and Spanish missionaries -- hilarious.

Common Household Mom said...

I have never heard of Sybil Ludington but your daughter looks just like her. The curls do make the whole thing work. Plus the horse is just awesome.

Bravo to the kid who portrayed Phyllis Wheatley. Patrick Henry, I love your shoes. I note that Patrick Henry wears his glasses in the same fashion as I wear my reading glasses.

My daughter did a similar thing in 7th grade, but it was all about ancient history. A lot of the boys wanted to be Cave Man or Nero. Lots of fun.

laura said...

"And there was a very not-African Phyllis Wheatley there."

Made this old Women's Studies student heart glad to see these two women included in the range of characters.

Beth said...

Thanks for the shout out, Beck! I'm glad Laura likes the barrette. It looks fabulous with all those loose, beachy curls after the 18th century wore off.

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

The crushed velvet makes me look too rich...Ha! Those were the fine days of youth. =)

help said...

That was a great post. I really enjoyed it. Colonial days at the schools are so much fun, and really offers the kids a chance to really dive in and learn our history. Great post.

Rebekah said...

I love the ringlets! When we saw Peter Pan at the Children's theatre here, Wendy had the same hairdo. Love it.

gretchen said...

I now know exactly 100% more about Sybil Ludington than I did before. I'm guessing they had to scramble to find well-known female Revolutionary War figures. Laura is gorgeous, btw.

And you have no sympathy from me having to come up with this costume TWO weeks after Halloween. Jude's school had Come As Your Favorite Saint Day ONE day after Halloween. Whew.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so this is a little funny...but I was listening to the news the other night and a little piece about the American Revolution came on. I was listening to it and thinking, "who was just talking about this the other day?" and realized that my wee brain was thinking back to this post. I will digress quickly and say that, while I feel that I have a thriving social life (as much as a woman with a toddler can, that is) I do have to wonder if I'm hitting some kind of wall when I think that blog posts that I've read were actually conversations that I had. With another person. But anyway, it did make me think of you and this post, and I thought I would pass it along in case you wanted to share it with Ms. Ludington. (Link below) The first paragraphs are kind of blah, blah, blah, but the interesting part is at the bottom where it says that Paul Revere was actually one of 16 riders and that he was eventually court marshaled for cowardice. AND that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (author of Paul Revere's Ride, as we all know) was the grandson of the man that brought the most serious charges against Paul Revere.
And yes it's true that I just took time from work to find the link to this news story, find this blog post and comment on it, and tell you all of this, but I didn't want to leave our conversation hanging! ;) Ok, I should probably call a friend right now and talk about something that will make seem less sketchy/stalkerish. Happy Thanksgiving!

Colleen H. said...

Thanks for the Patrick Henry picture! Very helpful for my 3rd grader's turn as PH.