wall, punctuated by tall stone watchtowers, snaked through
rugged mountains. The oldest part of the wall was built
about 3,000 years ago.
The China experience was one that few have. She and
fellow students were studying immersive Chinese in Beijing
Communications College. Later, in Guangzhou they worked
as elementary school foreign language aides. They taught students
Freeman participates in a skit with other renaissance adventure reenactors
at a pirate encampment.
Port St. Lucie Magazine 23
to count and learn the alphabet in English.
“The kindergartners were hard to understand, but the
middle schoolers and high school students would slow down
and we could understand them,” she said. “They would also
come up to us and try their favorite English phrases — for
example, ‘hey, dude’ and ‘what’s up?’ ”
Most interesting was the lack of air conditioning, she said.
“They had big ceiling fans and screens on the windows you
could crack open. It was very open air.” Their toilets were
quite different — “mini-toilets were quite simply porcelain
bowls set into the ground. In a rural area it was just a hole in
the ground with a hose.”
Returning to the United States in 2005, she visited her mom
in Port St. Lucie — and there, although she didn’t realize it at
the time, she was on the cusp of her adventures in bringing
joy to as many people as she could.
Supporting herself was primary so she took a job with Creative
Engineering Group. The company was overseeing road
work by the Florida Department of Transportation and a few
years after starting as a secretary, she was a contract support
specialist keeping track of progress on projects. Enter future
husband, Mark, a road inspector for a different firm, in 2009.
He had the perfect name: Mark “Happy” Freeman. He got
the nickname years before he met her.
He says it’s because he’s always smiling as he plays drums
in rock bands.
“He kept after me to come and see him play in the bands,”
she said. Finally she went and they discovered they both had
very creative sides. That was what brought them together as
a couple. They married in 2017.
They began attending events like the Renaissance Festival
in Broward County and others, dressing as characters to
match the theme of the weekend. There are many of these
fairs throughout the state and country. Each weekend has
a different theme. Clothing must be authentic so she researched,
bought at thrift shops, sewed some and tweaked
others. With 30 to 40 costume parts, she can be anything from
a Japanese geisha to a glittering Mardi Gras participant to a
pirate — with makeup to match. “People always wanted to
pose with me for selfies,” she said.
Joining a pirate group with other volunteers she learned
to demonstrate replica black powder flintlocks and percussion
firearms, fascinating kids and adults alike. Meanwhile,
Happy, dressed as a minstrel, strolled around playing drums.
REAL HOT EXPERIENCES
She learned fire eating — placing the flaming end of a torch
in her mouth.
“People wanted to know if it hurt,” she said. “It takes a lot
of practice, yes, you do get burned all the time. You do have
to practice with real flames. No matter how seasoned a professional
you are you get tiny little burn marks here and there
when it comes in contact with your hands, arms and legs.
Thank goodness they were only superficial.”
She had a couple of accidents that did cause more trouble
“I was doing an event on a patio and somebody opened
the door and a huge gust of wind flapped the flame right
over my face. I burned my eyebrows and eyelashes on the
right side of my face!”
Another time she was spinning the torches, called poi,
which translates from Maori to “ball,” and a torch hit a part
of her costume and singed it. >>
Fire breathing is the most dangerous of fire stunts. Freeman is blowing Coleman
camping fuel across a lighted torch to create a brilliant fiery cloud.