(IN) Granny's got a gun — and a hatchet


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Drizzt
March 27, 2005, 12:07 AM
Granny's got a gun — and a hatchet
Noblesville woman has unique, history-laden hobby

By Katie Wampler | Staff writer

Michelle Burdett, 51, practices throwing a hatchet at her home in Noblesville, wearing clothes she made herself for pre-1840 war reenactments. She uses a "weeping heart" tomahawk, which she said Native American women used in self defense. The "weeping heart" cut out of the blade symbolized their sadness for the death it caused.

Michelle Burdett appears no different than many other grandmothers. A mother of four and grandmother of 11, the 50-year-old Noblesville resident spends her days serving coffee, bagels and sandwiches at Panera Bread. She goes home to a house decorated with miniature carousel horses and dainty tea cups and saucers from around the world.

But Burdett's weekend hobby separates her from most grandmothers.

As her youngest daughter, Brandy Booker, put it: "She's not a normal grandma. She's not the one that knits n she throws a hatchet."

Burdett has been throwing hatchets and 16-inch Beaver knives and shooting a 50-caliber Ithaca percussion rifle for the past nine years at pre-1840 war reenactments with the Buck Creek Muzzle Loaders.

"There's lots of women that do the reenactments," Burdett said, "but I'm the only one throwing oversized knives. And I can shoot the head off of a Dum-Dum sucker."

Her older brother introduced her to the reenactments in 1996, and Burdett, who had always loved camping, was hooked immediately.

"It's like a community," she said.

She began researching everything about the era at local libraries and on the Web. But she learned more than how to operate weaponry. Among her abilities, she now boasts knitting, basket weaving and soap making n all using pre-1840 techniques.

"When she first told me (about her new hobby), I told her she was crazy," Booker said, "but the grandchildren think it's cool."

"They always ask to go with me," Burdett said.

The reenactments have helped her grandchildren in their history lessons, Booker said.

"The kids will learn something from that time in school and come home saying, ‘Hey, Grandma does that,'" Booker said.

"I've always been a tomboy," Burdett said. Growing up the third-born out of five children in Terre Haute, Ind., Burdett had no sisters and never regretted it.

"It if was something a girl was supposed to be doing, I wasn't doing it," she said. "I climbed trees, worked under the car and in the garage."

Rather than a tomboy, Burdett said she would have been a true "frontier woman" of the age, "a woman that could hold down her home while her husband was gone for weeks at a time."

The hobby keeps Burdett young, she said.

"It's like grownups that get to play little kids for the weekend."

http://www.thenoblesvilletimes.com/articles/2005/03/25/news/front_page_news/front31.txt

Dang.... I need to meet a woman like that. Admittedly about 20-30 years younger, but still ;)

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Clean97GTI
March 27, 2005, 12:17 AM
hey now, older ladies need love too...especially the ones with .50 cal rifles!

Just don't piss her off :eek:

one45auto
March 27, 2005, 12:23 AM
Sounds like my grandmother, God rest her soul. She was a geniune country girl, born and raised on a farm in Virginia and possessed of all sorts of out of the way knowledge and wisdom.

I miss her. :(

uvakat
March 27, 2005, 06:04 PM
I wish I had a grandmother like that... heck as of this point I wish I knew both of my grandmothers :(

HighVelocity
March 27, 2005, 06:06 PM
"There's lots of women that do the reenactments," Burdett said, "but I'm the only one throwing oversized knives. And I can shoot the head off of a Dum-Dum sucker."

You just can't make this stuff up. :evil:

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