I have been interested in living history ever since I got involved in Civil War Re-enacting in the late ’90s when we lived in Iowa. Back then I did the tactical stuff, marching around the field shooting a springfield rifle (sans bullet) in set formation of the Napoleonic style. I quickly discovered that I was really a lot more interested in the sociology than the history. I was more fascinated with understanding how and why Johnny did than what Johnny did.
This past Memorial Day several World War II re-enactors came to the Memorial Day event in Santa Cruz. I thought it was cool so I introduced myself and talked to them for a moment. I met DJ Tom LG and his lovely partner in crime, Rosey Lakos with a small entourage in tow. Their uniforms were excellent and they were, in the parlance of the day, charming.
DJ Tom LG “delicious assortment of original viper jazz, hokum, big-band, Latin swing, Western swing, old-time, rhythm & blues and vocal oddities from the 1920s through the 1940s on LPs, 45s & 78s.” He does regular gigs through out the Santa Cruz area. The day I met them, Tom invited me to his Monday gig where they would be celebrating Memorial Day with some serious swing dancing and wartime era music. I had to go check this out. I really love the music and style of the war years.
All of this long story leads to how I ended up out on Los Banos at Eagle Field watch Mitchell B-25s fly in. Tom and his re-enactor friends had WWII field hospital, office and photographers office set up. It was a rather small group but it was fun. The Eagle Field event is really a reunion of the WWII pilots who trained there. Apparently there used to be a large number of aircraft that would come in. On the day I was there, there were 2 B-25s that looked like they were just off the assembly line and several trainer aircraft. We chosen to leave before the festivities really got started. This particular event was more of a local social event and less about the living history.
There is a Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive event in Kelly Park in San Jose the beginning of August. I am looking forward to going to check that event out. According to Tom, the focus there is more on the living history aspect.