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Discovering Mullica Hill: Living History Weekend

Mullica Hill is a town in New Jersey, just a twenty minute car ride from Chester, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River. Every summer, our family would drive through the town on the way to Cape May, our seashore destination. Farmland surrounds the village, and we would stop at one of the many roadside stands selling garden produce, always picking up fresh tomatoes and corn. To this day, nothing matches the flavor of Jersey vegetables.

Our rush to get to the shore meant forgoing a visit to the town, always intending to stop because of the appeal of the charming clapboard buildings that lined both sides of the street. Antique and collectible stores occupied several of the buildings, some of whichMullica Hill Singn dated back to the 18th century. I admired the decorated store fronts, festooned with flowers while eclectic items spilled out of the shops.

About 25 years ago, the village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey State Register of Historic Places in recognition of the town’s historic and architectural significance.

The second weekend in October Mullica Hill hosted a pumpkin festival and Civil War reenactment, so on a warm autumn morning, I drove through the countryside to finally visit the town. Stores displayed Fall motives with pumpkin and squash displays. I found places to eat such as Amelia’s Teas and Holly, The Canteen and the Blue Plate, which offers “Farms to Fork” with a listing of local farms from which they buy their ingredients. Musicians played from a porch on the main street, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Town Views

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Harry Potter Story Times

Harry Potter Story Time

Civil War Living History 

Mullica Hill claims a connection to the Civil War through native son, Samuel Gibbs French (1818-1910), author and Confederate General. He owned a plantation in Mississippi when he was appointed brigadier general of the army of the Confederate States. Gibbs wrote about his war experiences in his book, Two Wars.

In addition filming the Civil War reenactment battle, I strolled around the camps, taking in the aroma of camp fires. Reenactors shared their knowledge of guns and cannons as well as other artifacts from the era. I stopped to listen to  music performed by 26th Mifflin Guard band.

Returning to Mullica Hill was special, as I had friends who were participating in the living history demonstrations and could share a moment with them. Perhaps this was the time I was meant to be there.


Battle Reenactment

Union Forces:
28th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company C
2nd Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry

Confederate Forces:
2nd Regiment, Texas Cavalry
7th Regiment, Virginia Calvary
9th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry
1st Regiment, North Carolina Artillery, Battery C
19th Regiment, Virginia Volunteer Infantry

How To: Producing a Video, Shelter in Place

Making a fun day in the park into . . .

a Zombie apocalypse?

After creating short videos for a few years now, enjoying the process of arranging music against photographs and videos with no other goal other than to fill my blog, I was able to use those skills recently for a practical purpose: to create a video of J. R. Blackwell’s kickstarter for Shelter in Place, a role-playing game.

Luckily, iMovie, provides a series of project templates, including movie trailers. One of these trailers fit perfectly with the theme of Zombies, with proper music and title display. What I didn’t realize before about these templates is that they can be imported into a project so the producer is not confined to the established time formats.

On one of the hottest days in August, we drove down to Clark Park in Philadelphia where “J.R.” and her friends were set to create film footage on the Zombie experience. Dressed in costumes and in full makeup, the Zombie characters chased the “victim” up and down the field. Photographers lined up at different locations.  Given that the park was fully occupied with vendors and picnickers, taking the pictures without those folks was tricky. Hip-hop music played in the background of all the footage.

The video came together using a variety of sources. J.R.’s photographer friends took at least a hundred pictures, so the large selection provided a variety of choices. Several days before we stopped off at a country grave yard and filmed the cemetery at various angles.  In June I attempted to take video of the rising moon, which turned out wobbly and thought the video would be totally unusable footage. However, a few seconds of the moon rolling around in the sky had a spooky effect in this movie, so I added a few of those frames. I blued all the films, and photos, changing a bright summer day into night.  J. R. and I edited the content of the titles.  We added a commercial at the end. Altogether, we edited the video at least 25 times before being satisfied with the final production.

The happy ending: Shelter in Place reached it’s kickstarter goal in just two days!

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