The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 20, 2013

Selinsgrove students take a step back in time

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— SELINSGROVE — About 50 Selinsgrove Area Intermediate School students took a trip back in time with 18th century re-enactors Ralph and Susan Aument on Thursday afternoon.

For an hour, the fourth-graders learned what it was like in 1763, 24 years before Selinsgrove was established and a time when people lived in the same clothes for months and hunted the family’s daily meals.

Retired Valley school teachers, the Auments have traveled the East Coast for 30 years taking part in colonial American re-enactments with period costumes and furniture they make on their own.

“It brings a sense of reality so kids can understand history better,” Susan Aument said.

The presentation engaged the children, who were encouraged to take part by dressing in colonial garb, churn whole milk into butter in 25 minutes and grind coffee beans.

As Susan Aument explained why certain things were done in the 1700s — including that the seat of men’s clothing was deliberately made baggy to make it easier to get on a horse — Ralph Aument wordlessly toiled away creating a wooden stool using 18th-century tools.

Their grandson, Nathan Aument, 9, a Selinsgrove Intermediate student, donned a typical outfit worn by a child at the time, including a working man’s cap, vest, breeches and stockings. He was joined by classmate Aidan Shay, who also got into costume.

“I think it would be really fun to go around with this family (the Auments) at the re-enactments,” Aidan said.

As for the 18th-century lifestyle, the 9-year-old isn’t as keen. “The clothes are really hot, and I wouldn’t want to have to hunt for food every day,” he said.

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