When I was ten, Daddy and I lived in Fredericksburg, Texas. Fredericksburg is a nice quiet little tourist town in the Hill Country of Texas near San Antonio. While we lived there, I learned the history of the town, went to their German festivals, and fell in love with the German food and culture. That’s when I learned to speak German fluently. Yes, there are Germans in Texas! Lots of them in New Braunfels and in Fredericksburg. So many Germans that they grow German grapes to make wine, have German festivals, celebrate German holidays, and cook lots of yummy German food. I adore jaeger schnitzel with spaetzle.
Now, although I had lots of books to read, things to do, and places to visit, I got bored early that summer we lived there. Since I didn’t attend school, I had few friends, which meant I often had to entertain myself. So, I hatched a plan. I wanted to see Fredericksburg in the early 1850s. So, I needed two things, period clothing (what you might call a costume) and an artifact to take me back in time. The artifact turned out to be easy to find. I simply went to the local historical society and found out if there were any houses built about that time. As for my costume, well, I needed it to look authentic, so I researched German 1850s clothing and found out that girls and women once wore dirndls. I searched the internet, found a pattern, bought the fabric, and began sewing. Nellie had taught me to sew the previous year, and I still had Mama’s sewing machine from when she was a girl. I’m not an expert at sewing and had to ask one of the women in town for help, but I finished it in about a week. Once I had my dress, I ordered the correct type of shoes and a hat from an online costume site. Then I washed my dress, stained it, and washed it over and over so it would look old and worn. I didn’t think a German girl in 1850s Texas would be wearing a brand–spanking new dress. Mom Nellie uses brand–spanking all the time; don’t you think it sounds funny?
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