Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I have an ongoing series, inspired by your suggestions (cough, cough QNPoohBear), on real-life heroines from the nineteenth century. Today I’d like to take you across the pond from our beloved England to nineteenth century America. You see, while Marissa was watching stalwart Minute Men clash with Red Coats on the East Coast, I was watching Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery reach the Columbia River on the West Coast. I live near Sacajawea State Park, which every September hosts Heritage Days, taking us back to the nineteenth century in what would become the Oregon Territory.
Here’s Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped on the Columbia River, almost exactly where they camped in 1803.
Nearby was a village of blanket traders, mountain men, and Native Americans who had traveled to the area for the occasion.
One of them was even selling fashionable gear (hey, I can’t resist the fashion!).
But the highlight of my visit was getting to meet a true nineteenth century heroine. For privacy purposes, I will call her Miss L. This is her in front of her traveling home. She was part of Heritage Days with her family. What makes her a Nineteenteen nineteenth century heroine?
For one thing, her aptitude. She made the dress and moccasins she’s wearing as well as her buddy “Killer,” the staff she’s holding (I know a few teens who would kill for that staff). She did all her own beading. She throws knives and axes in competition, and I hear she’s pretty good. She’s learning to shoot the bow and arrow (not the fancy kind, but real wood and fletched arrows, authentic to the time period). She’s a photographer too and earned first, second, third, and fourth places at our local county fair. Are you impressed yet?
Another reason Miss L is a true heroine is her altruism. I’m sure there were lots of things she could be doing on a sunny weekend in September, but she was out with her family in the park, explaining to other kids how a nineteenth century teen lived in the American wilderness. Over 2,000 children and chaperones came through on Friday alone, before I took this picture.
Finally, there’s her attitude. She’d had a long day of being on stage, but she was totally cool with having me take her picture after I babbled like a fan girl over her accomplishments. She didn’t laugh at my disposable camera (even after she showed me one of hers with a lens as long as my arm). I think I’d like to be her before I grow up.
However, I do have one more nineteenth century heroine I need to mention. Our dear Marissa did it again: Betraying Season won the Aspen Gold Award for best Young Adult Novel of 2009! I truly appreciate how she keeps winning on Thursdays so I get to crow about it on Fridays. Don’t forget: you can comment on her post from September 28 or mine today to win a chance at a paperback copy of this award-winning novel.
And Miss L, thank you for letting me write about you. If you comment or e-mail me, I would be delighted to send you a Nineteenteen fan, considering that I am quite a fan of yours.