"The Cold Comfort Newsletter"

A New Beginning!

More than you expect .... less than you desire!

Published once in a while by . . . . .

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In This Issue .....

  • "Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Lattitudes!"
  • "Gee, Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away"
  • "So they loaded up the truck, and they moved to ...."
  • "Our house is a very, very, very fine house" ...
  • "One for the money, two for the show ..."
  • "Jungvolk" by Wilhelm Gehlen

Click here to view these stories from previous issues .....

  • Home for Christmas!
  • Matters of the Heart
  • Our Annual Autumn Tour
  • The Great "Civilwargasm"
  • "Way Down South In Dixie!"
  • The Carter House Heritage Reunion!
  • "The Navarro Rifles"


look.jpg"Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Lattitudes!". . .This presidential campaign season finds us facing some pretty difficult times. We've chosen a musical theme for this newsletter to lend some humor and perhaps break the monotony of endless election ads. However, the reality of our situation this year remains universal among Civil War reenactors and those who support them. High gas prices and travel costs, coupled with an economy in flux have forced many reenactors, historians, event sponsors and supporters to exercise a bit of caution when choosing events this summer. Sadly, we have been forced to admit to ourselves that some very fine living history opportunities, large and small, may temporarily be out of reach. The impact this will have on the reenacting community at large remains to be seen, but needless to say, change is in the wind ...

performance.jpg"Gee, Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away" ... So it is with Carla and myself ... for over ten years we have traveled to the eastern and southern states to participate in events across the country. We have been blessed to make this trek annually, finding many new and wonderful friends who have shared our dream along the way. This makes it all the more difficult for us to admit that this year will be different.

Reluctantly, we have decided to remain closer to the great Northwoods, staying busy performing here on the West coast; reenacting with our home unit, the 69th New York Volunteer Infantry Irish Brigade!; researching, writing and recording new program material planning future tours as the economy and living history opportunities allow; and actually taking a week or two off to explore the beautiful Oregon and California coastline.

So, does this mean that we'll never travel east again? Certainly not! We are only taking a season off to let the dust settle before we head out again. Look for our "Woody Wagon" at next year's events!

House.jpg""So they loaded up the truck, and they moved to" ....Another far more pleasant change was our move to a new home. As you know, last year we faced some rather serious health issues, and while Carla is back on her feet, feeling her old self, the episode set us to rubbing our chins and scratching our heads in an attempt to map out a direction for the next ten odd years. We don't intend to retire, but we feel its always wise to check the map occasionally.

First on our list of "hard decisions" had to do with our home: the old and venerable "Corby Plantation." While this beautiful, historic "Victorian Lady" has been our happy domicile for over 30 years, it has also been a royal Victorian pain in the behind to maintain. It was high time to admit that we are no longer 30 years old, and the energy spent cleaning, mowing, repairing and remodeling might be channeled to more worthy projects. We needed an efficient and low maintenance living space.

However, if living in an historic three bedroom, two bath, "Italianate Victorian" located on a one third acre lot with fruit trees in a quiet historical neighborhood in the center of a small suburban community near Portland, Oregon appeals to you ... then I have an absolutely suppurb deal to offer. We are selling this marvelous old home for $212,000. Give me a call at 503 981 7547 and I will put you in touch with our realtor.

Clackamas.jpg"Our house is a very, very, very fine house" ...My mother's home of 30 years sat on a sagging market for nearly a year without selling. Her small two bedroom bungalow located on a private golf course in a senior community just across town from our "old and venerable," seemed just the ticket for two aging thespians. We called a family meeting and quickly struck a deal that satisfied all concerned. In no time Carla and I were painting, packing, redecorating, and remodeling.

We moved around the first of May and have been cozying in ever since. Carla has turned the place into her very own "Victorian doll house." Her decorating and color sense, combined with some good old fashioned elbow grease have truly made this a dream home. Now, if I can only get my "5 Iron" to cooperate .... Note: Our new address is: 304 E. Clackamas Circle, Woodburn, OR 97071

Rockets.gif"One for the money, two for the show" ...What do old, fat, balding rockers do in their spare time? Our latest musical pursuit is "Billy & the Rockets," a "50's" four piece rock and roll band. If you remember "Poodle skirts" and "Hound Dogs;" "Drive In Movies" with "Peggy Sue;" "Hula-Hoops" and "Purple People Eaters;" then Billy & the Rockets is the band for you. We play rockabilly and do-wop music popularized between the years of 1949-1959. It's great fun for the whole family! Call me at 503-981-7547 for booking information.

Jungvok Cvr.jpg"Jungvolk" by Wilhelm Gehlen Carla and I met Willie and Barb Gehlen at "Wilson's Creek" Missouri, our very first national event. They literally took us under their wings and into their home as they taught us the "in's and out's" of life as a Civil War sutler. After much prompting on our part, and the literally hundreds of fine reenacting friends Willie has entertained around the campfire with his war tales, his first published work has been released. And what a debut!

"Jungvolk: The Story of a Boy Defending Hitler's Third Reich" is an intimate story of life in Nazi Germany as seen through the eyes of a nine year old boy. Don't look for a stodgy old history book here, this is much better than that. Willie has given us the color, texture and emotion of that mysterious, "dark kingdom" of the mid-20th century. Pressed into service in Hitler's "Jungvolk," a junior version of the "Hitler Youth" at the outset of World War II in 1939, the reader observes the maturing of a boy as he hones his survival skills in the face of pressing hardships. While family friends, neighbors, and even classmates fall victim to the incessant bombing raids and attacks from fighter escort planes, Willie seeks shelter and service with an anti-aircraft battery located near his home. Family responsibilities rise when his father is called to serve in the Wehrmacht, leaving Willie to help care for his mother and little brother while the Allied armies march relentlessly closer to his home.

"Jungvolk" shines as one of the best examples of historic writing that we have read lately, and Carla and I highly recommend it. Purchase your copy at: Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. (I recommend Powell's because they are a local Portland company, comparable, or less expensive than Amazon.com, and one of the finest book stores in America. You can probably get the same copy at Amazon, on Ebay, or at Borders if you prefer.)

woody.jpg"Bye, Bye Love" .... Well that's about all for now ... we'll keep you posted as we soldier along ... so, until we meet again ...
May God bless ....
Bill and Carla ....

Santa.jpg Santa says, "It's Never Too Early to Order For Christmas!"

  Haunting War Cover

The Haunting War
The Haunting War, Billy Barlow, On To Richmond,Flora (The Lilly Of the West), The Wild Rover, Oh, Burning Youth, Away Here In Texas, Along the Rappahannock, John Harrolson, The Cumberland and the Merrimac, Annie Laurie, Booth Shot Lincoln, Jolly Came Riding, The Unreconstructed,The Old Soldier, Hard Times Come Again No More

  CD $15

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Available only in CD format

HWCvr.jpg"The Haunting War" is a collection of original and historic Civil War songs and readings inspired by reminiscences that simply would not allow the great war of the 19th century to drift away through the veil of time. Each of the selections and readings have been carefully assembled to demonstrate the many ways in which the Civil War touches our lives both then and now. A must for anyone who feels the deep emotion of the Civil War as intensly today as those who lived it then.

  DVD Cover

The Civil War Remembered
Selected scenes from our theatrical presentations: "Taps," "The Last Rose," and "The Haunting War"! Plus, interviews and extended scenes. An excellent way to get a feel for our live programs right in the comfort of your own home.

  DVD $15

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Available only in DVD format

HWTitle.jpg Our New DVD! ..... Yes, Bill and Carla have finally made it to the "small screen" ... sort of. We've been thinking for some time about releasing a video tape of our programs. However, production costs and indecision over format, and content kept getting in the way of actually going into the studio. All that changed when I was approached by an old friend, now in charge of our local community access cable channel searching for free programming. A very attractive deal was struck and before long we were in the studio, performing excerpts from all three of our productions.

We originally intended to simply produce a demo DVD to help sell our live presentations. But the packaging and presentation value turned out so well that we decided to offer the DVD to the general public as part of our product line. Titled, "Civil War Remembrances" it includes interviews, selected scenes and music from each of our presentations; "Taps"; "The Last Roses" and "The Haunting War." Since this is intended to help sell our live programs, you won't get the entire production ... this is just a sampler. But there is enough to whet your appetite for more.

It comes in an easy to mail, slim line case with eye catching graphics. The entire production is very professional from start to finish, and shows some of our best material. If you want a nice keepsake of our presentations, you really need to order "Civil War Remembrances" on DVD.


Tenting Tonight
Campfire Songs of the Civil War
The Bonnie Blue Flag,Lorena, Goober Peas, Tenting On the Old Camp Ground, Abraham's Daughter, Battlefield Hymn, "The Sullivan Baleau Letter," The Battlecry of Freedom, Just Before the Battle, Mother, Marching Through Georgia, Aura Lea, "Miss Molly Vandenberg Letter, "Capt. John Anderson's Battlefield Observations," American Trilogy

  Tenting Cover   CD $15

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Available only in CD format.


Tentingcvr2.jpgAn Old Friend in new clothes ..... Every story has to have a beginning, and our's began around 1993. With a year of reenacting under our belts, and facing a rather dull winter, we thought of recording a collection of some of our favorite Civil War songs. The first few copies of "Tenting Tonight" were only intended for our reenacting family as belated Christmas presents, but its popularity grew so quickly by the following year that we decided to have a few tapes printed professionally. Not satisfied with only an audio tape, and wanting a family project, I called upon the talents of my actress wife, Carla, to help expand the musical collection to the stage under the same title.

Our first production hit the boards in the spring of 1995. "Tenting Tonight" included a cast of five actors: our two sons, Sean and Jason; a young friend from my artillery battery, Tom Bahde; Carla, holding down the only female role, and myself. After a multitude of revisions, the original presentation evolved into our current production, "Taps." And, our original "Tenting Tonight" tape was shelved for several years while we moved on to other recording projects.

However, "Tenting Tonight," with a line up of the very best, standard Civil War songs that thrilled us when we were first getting interested in the Civil War, has refused to die. .... songs like:

  • "The Bonnie Blue Flag"
  • "Lorena"
  • "Goober Peas"
  • "Tenting On the Old Camp Ground"
  • "Abraham's Daughter"
  • "Battlefield Hymn"
  • "Motherless Child/The Sullivan Baleau Letter"
  • "The Battlecry of Freedom"
  • "Just Before the Battle, Mother"
  • "Marching Through Georgia"
  • "Aura Lea"
  • "Miss Mollie Vandenberg Letter"
  • "Capt. John Anderson's Battlefield Observations"
  • "American Trilogy (Dixie/The Battle Hymn of the Republic/All My Trials)"

Of course, some of these titles appear on our later collections. But, these early recordings of our favorites hold a casual charm lacking on our more polished releases .... for example: "Goober Peas" features both sons, Sean and Jason, singing in the background. (That's Jason's enthusiastic "war-hoop!") A very sparse, no frills arrangement of "Tenting On the Old Campground" makes this version especially touching; "Abraham's Daughter" "American Trilogy" and "Marching Through Georgia" have a particular "smoky campfire" flavor.

The real jewels on "Tenting Tonight" are the songs you will find no where else in our repertoire. "The Bonnie Blue Flag," "Lorena," "The Battlecry of Freedom," "Just Before the Battle, Mother," and "Aura Lea" appear for the first and only time. The entire collection is further enhanced by the haunting "Battlefield Hymn," and touching excerpts from the letters of Sullivan Baleau, Mollie Vandenberg, and John Anderson.

We are proud to finally present a fully re-mixed and re-mastered "Tenting Tonight: Campfire Songs of the Civil War" on CD, with the belief that the collection comprises an essential primer of popular Civil War music.

bugler.jpg Click here to view previous issues of the "Cold Comfort Newsletter"

This May Sound Crazy!  I said it once and I'll say it again!!   More than ever, we want you to experience, share and enjoy our recordings with your friends and family.  So, we encourage you to copy any of our recordings and give them to those you think would enjoy them.   That's right ... We're asking you to make copies of our selections and give them away.  You might ask why in the world are we doing this? ... Well, Carla and I feel that the more people who hear us, the more who will attend one of our live performances.   We enjoy our concerts and performances of "Taps", "The Haunting War", and "The Last Rose" so much that we feel if you have a listen to what we do in the studio, it just might encourage you to come out and see us in person.  Also, if you like what you hear, you might be motivated to buy some of our other realeases.  We consider it good advertising ...

So go ahead ... you have our permission to copy and give away our stuff ... but don't let us catch you selling them or else you'll be in big, big trouble!

Well, that's about all the news from this end ..... Remember us in your prayers, and also remember our service personel both here and abroad.  We hope to see you soon ......

Your friends;

Bill & Carla Coleman,
Cold Comfort Productions,
715 Corby St.,
Woodburn, OR 97071,
(503) 981-7547

Email us at: wcoleman@oregonsbest.com

Check our website at: http://www.colemanscivilwar.com

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