Archive for April, 2010

Final Work Journal

Final Work Journal

4.20.2010-I still can’t believe that this will be my final work journal. The semester flew by, I feel as if I’m just fully developing my ideas and the semester is already over. I spent Tuesday preparing for my two upcoming interviews with Elizabeth White and Tom Page on Wednesday and Thursday. I knew these interviews could be really key to my project, so I spent a lot of time researching my interviewees and coming up with pretty project specific questions.

4.21.2010-Interviewed Elizabeth White, a lawyer who represents developers, landowners, and community associations, among others. We met in her office, the LeClairRyan building in Newtown. Mrs. White was extremely helpful as she answered all of my questions and was very open to giving me the names of other people to speak with. She made me feel comfortable immediately, as Mrs. White opened the interview by calling her mother on speakerphone to ask who developed the neighborhood she grew up in. Mrs. White has lived in Williamsburg since she was ten years old, and has been a resident of Kingsmill, Governor’s Land, and Ford’s Colony.  Mrs. White showed me many documents in her office, the most interesting being the detailed Kingsmill Master Plan from the 1960s. She was the perfect opening for my interview with Tom Page.

4.22.2010-Interviewed Tom Page, the developer of Stonehouse. Stonehouse is a neighborhood located about twenty minutes from William and Mary, off 64 West. The neighborhood is going to be huge, bigger than Williamsburg. Page’s interview was fascinating, as it was the first time I was able to speak with a developer. When I first came up with my topic, I thought I would want to only focus on the idea of a gated community. As my project has progressed, I’ve found that I’m really interested in the development aspect of neighborhoods. Elizabeth White called the process of developing a neighborhood a “social experiment”. Throughout our interview, Tom Page continued to reference his job as marketing a lifestyle. So much goes into developing a neighborhood, it is pretty insane. Basically, Tom Page has a vision and sets the standards for the neighborhoods. He then hires contracters, topographers, marketing people, etc, to make his ideas come to life. Page is extremely smart, as he went to school for civil engineering and then got his MBA in business to learn the marketing side of developing neighborhoods. His ideas on creating a vision and finding suitable land to develop will be a great compliment to my project.

4.24.2010-Spent a few hours in Swem looking at past Virginia Gazettes on microfilm. At first I tried to scan through the years that Kingsmill, Goveror’s Land, and Ford’s Colony were built to see what articles were written. That idea didn’t work quite as well as I hoped, so I just started scanning through random years. I found some really cool articles and got a good feel for what it meant to be a resident of the area. A lot of attention was paid to re zoning and development.

4.25.2010-Definitely want to interview at least one more person this week. My goal is Drew Mulhare, who I am eagerly awaiting to hear back from. Also left a message with Sarah’s friends, residents of Ford’s Colony.

4.26.10-Tried to get in contact with Mr. Mulhare, hope to speak with him this week. Also e-mailed some contacts that Elizabeth White recommended. Went over to Kingsmill and picked up the latest newsletters to see

Work Journal 4.19-4.24

4.19.10

More internet searches.  Found some interesting articles on the old restaurant and some that chronicle the family, in the wydaily.

4.20.10

Excited to hear that we have some more time to work on the final projects.  I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to do as many interviews as I had planned, but this extra week should definitely help. Gearing up for interview two with Steve Davidson.

4.21.10

Sad day.  My interview with Steve got canceled. Going to have to push back until next week.  I’m worried because it seems like a lot of my interviews are going to end up happening this last week.

4.22.10

N/A

4. 23.10

Scheduled an interview with the head chef for next week, hopefully Tuesday night, but he won’t be sure until Sunday when he gets his new schedule.  I am finding it somewhat difficult to get people in the restaurant business to make set appointments.  I guess it’s the nature of the work or the nature of the people who do this type of work, but I feel like I’m going to be doing a lot of last minute interviews, which is kind of frustrating.

4.24.10

Emailed Mickey again and stopped by the restaurant to take some pictures. Formulated a list of questions for my interview on Tuesday, and emailed the chef to ask him to bring with him some of the older menus.

Work Journal 4/12-4/17

4.12.10

Started on more internet research, focusing on news about the restaurant.  Also spent a while on the restaurant’s site and a couple hours reading past reviews on tourist websites.

4.13.10

Gearing up for my first interview tomorrow.  Brought the deed of gift and other forms to work for Jessica to fill out before tomorrow.  Made a list of questions I definitely want to hit on, but I’m expecting this to be a pretty relaxed interview.

4.14.10

Interviewed Jessica Burt at Swem.  I already knew a lot of her personal history, but I was surprised to learn more and also to hear about a lot of opinions.  Her suggestions on who I should talk also helped me narrow down my list of who I want to interview.  I know now my goal is to interview Al, Steve, Rick and of course, Mickey.

4.15.10

Contacted Steve Davidson, as assistant manager and he agreed to be interviewed on Wednesday.  Emailed the general manager again about looking through their personal achieves.  Waiting for a time to be set.

4.16.10

Indexed for Megan Taylor at the Academy of Life and Learning.  What an interesting interview! Her project is going to make such an impact and the people she is talking to are so passionate about the issues. It was exciting to see that aspect of her project.

4.17.10

Emailed the Mickey Chohany about an interview this week.  Hopefully he will get back to me by the beginning of next week so I can have all my major interviews done by the end of this week.  Also spent some time on the internet researching the Chohany family and reading about Mickey’s political career and his position as the head of government relations in the Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association.  I also found a recent article that mentioned the work being done by the Colonial Triangle Foundation in regards to a Civil War Celebration which might interest Brian.  Here’s the site:

http://www.wydaily.com/local-news/3948-collaborative-says-no-room-for-the-inns-restaurants.html

Last Work Journal

My last full week of digging in deep for the WDP was quite the hectic one, both regarding the research project and my other commitments as well. Thus, my notes are a bit scattered, but quite valuable. The big highlights rounding out my research were a meeting last Wednesday with Helen, a recurring J-1 participant and now a permanent resident of Williamsburg, a conversation with Bob Hershberger of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, two visits to Work and Travel affiliated housing centers, Busch’s International Housing Village and the Pineapple Inn, and various textual sources to flesh out my report, such as numerous city council meeting minutes and copies of presentations given to local businesses by various institutions of power in Williamsburg, like the Williamsburg Police Department.

To start with the least exciting information, I was able just to do some busy work recopying articles from the controversial period of January to February 2007 when housing debates raged around the J-1 students. I was able to buttress these with actual notes from the city council when they were resolving this issue. My meeting with Bob Hershberger was invaluable in this light as well. Although I was a bit disappointed as I thought this meeting would turn into an oral history interview when it really became quite journalistic, I am almost happy it worked out this way. As the public face of business in Williamsburg to sponsors, it was almost nice to get treated as such by Mr. Hershberger. He gave me just the facts, and the official rhetoric, which will be nice to deconstruct. He also gave me some valuable primary sources in the form of copies of presentations that had been offered to local business leaders at various conferences. These are fascinating: they are the perfect document in order to establish the conception of J-1 students in economic terms and what official narrative is being presented by them. Taking these constructions and throwing them in opposition to the performance offered by Helen really inspired me later in the week.

By far and away the highlight not just of my week but of the entire Documentary process for me was my interview with Helen. The biggest mistake that I made regarding meeting with her was that I could not convince her to go on-tape, unfortunately, but the conversation was so essential and moving otherwise that it almost didn’t even matter. Not only was Helen incredibly articulate and astute in her analysis of the power dynamics and exploitation that have been undergirding my entire foray into this world, but she offered some intensely emotional and human narratives that for the first time pushed me from conceiving as myself as researcher to envisioning myself as an active participant in the structure she was describing. I think Helen’s story helped me make a cognitive leap. I have been involved in labor organizing both in my college career and even worked for a union, but never saw J-1 as an organizing issue—rather, it was something to be researched. Helen’s proposal that the city actually join forces with employers to present some basic information to J-1 residents arriving in the city through some form of bilingual information office made me realize the actual broad and sweeping scope of the J-1 program, and the incredible impact it will have on Williamsburg within the next ten years. Her suggestions would help to organize J-1 students, which would be nearly impossible otherwise, and really analyze the implications of low-skilled foreign workers in the tourist industry. It really is this insane form of reverse outsourcing. I mean, she basically gave me my thesis and I could never thank her enough. Fortunately she also agreed to a written interview, similar to the one I got from Kat earlier this week, so I will be able to put her words on the record, even though they will be in an altered frame.

As for the rest of the research in the final stretch, the visits to the Pineapple Inn and the IHV earlier Thursday were revealing in both the structure of the buildings, their geographical locations as margins and borders of consumption in Williamsburg, and the amazing rhetoric and diction used by their advertisements. One really huge issue was the idea of “safety” and mobility, which I feel will help develop the conception of J-1 students as laborers in Williamsburg in my final analysis. They are also just really neat buildings.

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All in all, it was a productive and transformative week. I feel like I let myself down a bit, as I have been trying to go to IHOP for about two weeks now and just never get the motivation or the opportunity to go, and I feel like that ship might have sailed given my present timeline. I was also a bit upset with my difficulties contacting Jorge from Moonlight Entertainment. I know I will be able to meet with him eventually; I just have the feeling as he is so busy with getting this welcoming party off the ground for J-1 students that it will be after the deadline. I think my best resolution and compromise is to ask if I can glean quotes off his website to establish the alternate “welcome” offered to J-1 students through the construction of a specific nightlife.

Well, on to transcription!

This Week…

Coming off a much less productive week last week, this week I knew I had to hunker down and get some work done. I did a lot of listening to old interviews that Professor Knight had suggested I take a look at. This really helped me conceptualize teenage life in Williamsburg in the past. I was then able to meet with Mr. Randy Casey-Rutland who was able to give some good information on present-day New Town/teen social spaces. I achieved most of my goals for the week but I still have some final things to work on coming up.

Monday: Spent some time in the microforms. Noticed one article from 1968 that mentioned teenage disruptions in the town…Unfortunately I had to leave and go to class before I could really press further. This is an area I’m really planning on devoting some time to this week; the way teens are depicted in the newspaper, which could be considered a social unifier (at least for the literate and those with the means to subscribe—and idea of community interesting in itself), is very telling and applicable to my project. So, I’ll be spending some time in Swem basement this week.

Tuesday: I listened to the Sharon and Billy Scruggs interview Tamurlaine and Susanah conducted in ’07. I also began listening to the Timothy Sullivan interview from the same year.

Wednesday: Finalized my interview plans with Randy Casey-Rutland, who is part of New Town management. Went to meet with Professor Knight but ended up being able to get a quick peek at the rest of the New Town stuff in Sarah’s office. Wondering, can I actually take that stuff out of College Apts? Or would you guys rather I read it in there…?

Thursday: INTERVIEW CENTRAL! Finished listening to the Timothy Sullivan interview, listened to parts of the Edith Heard one as well. Also prepared for my interview the next day with Mr. Casey-Rutland.

Friday: Interview day! The interview went very well. Morgan was able to index for me on rather short notice (thanks again, Morgan!) and she was able to get in some questions of her own which was good. The interview, again, went well. Mr. Casey-Rutland was very accommodating and willing to speak on most of the questions I asked. It was really great to get his perspective on the whole thing. I also, at Professor Knight’s suggestion, tried to reach Danielle Zielinski at the Daily Press after attempts at emailing her were futile. She no longer works there, and unfortunately they don’t know what she’s up to or where she is these days.

Saturday: Listened to parts of the Robert Braxton interview that Prof. Knight had suggested.

Sunday: Day of rest. Also, roommate’s birthday. Actually, we went to a tavern (Elizabeth!!)

All in all, again I feel this past week was productive, especially in being able to historicize social spaces of Williamsburg throughout the ages. This week I hope to dedicate my time to Swem basement and I’d love to make it to New Town a few times, maybe conduct some informal interviews with business owners, etc.

Work Journal

This week was my busiest week all semester, with my senior recital for my music major on top of many other things and big assignments due for other classes.

Tuesday April 20:

Did a little bit more of the Cabot Wade transcription, I find it is much less intimidating if you tackle it just a couple minutes at a time when free rather than sitting down for a marathon transcription session. Almost done!

Thursday April 22:

Sifted through more old issues of the Flat Hat and, as always, was not quick to find anything huge, just some more advertisements and littler stories covering music on and around campus.

Friday April 23:

Typed up the indexes from the Cabot Wade interview as well as the Steve Tatum interview. Did a little more work on the Cabot Wade transcription and called it a night.

Sunday April 25:

More Flat Hat browsing. Started piecing things together for the final project as well as the archives that I have to turn in on Friday.

Work Journal – April 26

Mon-Wed : sick, unable to work

Thurs:  pick up files for Mr. Mungin’s interview, begin transcribing

Friday:  continue the transcription process, make digital copies of all articles I have found along with materials provided to me by Mr. Mungin, Jennifer Taylor, and Samanthe Tiver

Saturday- Sunday:  finish transcription, begin creating a working outline for the final project

Monday:  planning contact Dr. Mungin, arrange a day this week to come in and observe at the school, possibly to meet with some of the teachers, hopefully on Wed., also planning on writing head notes for the rest of my interviews

As I have not yet heard back from Mr. Fenton,  I am going to focus my final research effort on directly observing at ALL, and make this week a final push towards culminating my work in the final paper, which I hope to begin writing by Wednesday afternoon at the latest

Work Journal

 4.19 and 4.20: Typed up most of my indexes from previous interviews, got materials together for my archives

4.21 and 4.22: Took a look at some secondary sources for my project report

4.23: Prepared for my interview with Mr. and Mrs. Beck

4.24: Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Beck with Paula in the morning

4.25: Goal-setting for week:

  1. Upload Squires interview and do the transcript
  2. Make sure all thank you notes are sent out/given
  3. Need to get Brad Squires to sign the Deed of Gift
  4. All archives and indexes ready for Friday
  5. Last contacts/interviews this week!!
  6. Download the other interviews that I was not able to make (i.e. Cabot Wade)

Work Journal #6

Monday, April 19th

I received an e-mail from Mr. Jim Coomer, who I had interviewed earlier.  Apparently, my e-mail ended up in his junk e-mail box, but he was still able to provide me with my list of contacts I requested.  I e-mailed three of the contacts, Mr. Lafiandra, Mrs. Kane, and Professor Edwards.  I am not sure I will have the time or necessity to talk to them all.  I mostly would like to speak with Professor Edwards, whom I had already e-mailed and had not heard back from.  He is a Professor Emeritus at William and Mary.  He taught government here for a number of years, and we also read an article in class that he wrote on change and growth in Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia: A City Before the State.  He has been on the James City County Board of Supervisors, and really engaged in population growth and knows a lot about subdivision growth in Williamsburg.  Mr. Coomer was able to provide me with an alternate e-mail address from Professor Edwards, so I hope I get a response!

(On a second note, e-mails take such a long time for me to draft!  I probably have spend more time drafting e-mails than in an interview or two. This preliminary step is often the most labor intensive, and you might not even get a response!)

Tuesday, April 20

n/a

Wednesday, April 21st

I had my 2nd interview, this time it was with Mrs. Nancy Hess at her home in Williamsburg around 3:30 pm.  The interview went well, but ran longer than expected (about 2 hours).  We talked about her decision to move to Williamsburg, and the close community that surrounds her.  We also chatted a bit after the interview.  

I have discovered that most of the people I have interviewed have come here from up north.  They also have come in the early to late 1990s.  Her mother lived in Chambrel (a retirement community here), and I was able to get Mrs. Hess’ opinion on Chambrel, of which she had positive opinions.  I indexed for Steve later that afternoon.  He interviewed Danny Michels, a student at William and Mary who has his own radio show on WCWM, which is a student radio station.  It was interesting to index for someone who had a project very unrelated to mine; in fact, I learned some interesting things from this interview because I didn’t know William and Mary had it’s own student radio station.  I also was kind of intrigued by the types of music Danny Michels was talking about- some of it I had never heard of before. 

Thursday, April 22nd

I received an e-mail from Professor Jack Edwards, a Professor Emeritus at William and Mary. I’m very interested to talk with him.  I e-mailed him back with times that would work for me, and hope to find a mutual time to meet next week.  Uploaded first interview to my computer, but have not started to transcribe yet.

Friday, April 23rd

n/a

Saturday, April 24th

Interview at 9 am with Mr. Donald Beck and Mrs. Susie Beck.  Grace helped index, and asked a few questions at the end about her project.  They are a couple that Grace and I know, and have gone to dinner at their house.  Mr. Beck is a William and Mary alum (’62) and Mrs. Beck is an honorary alum.  Mr. Beck is still very active in the W&M community, and has been retired for some 20 years.  Mrs. Beck still works in real estate, in fact, she had to show a house that day, so we could only talk with her for a few minutes.  The interview was very nostalgic, and Mr. Beck talked a great deal about what life was like at W&M for him, especially Greek life.

Went shopping at the Williamsburg Pottery, mostly in search of some houseplants.  I decided to explore it a little more because I’ve been interested in learning more about the Pottery, which was established in 1938.  I used to go there when I was little with my parents, and I remember it was really popular, back in the early 90s.  Now, it’s basically a ghost town!  I saw lots of parking lots that are overgrown, and buildings that have been shut down.  They still have a few shops that I guess people go to; I went to the plant shop, a linen store (which had a closed down cafeteria in the back), and a kitchen store.  It’s a really interesting place.  I tried to connect what I remembered from my childhood to what I saw on Saturday.  I am planning to go back with my mom soon to do some shopping and reminisce.  

I received the e-mail from Professor Edwards, and we have decided to meet at 3:30 pm on Monday in Miller Hall. 

Sunday, April 25th

I copied a lot of documents at the Williamsburg Regional Library two weeks ago, and also have a good amount of secondary sources that I have started to read through attempting to make connections of each.  I am starting to write up little summaries of each article I have, and hopefully I will be able to make connections from each of these summaries.

 I also developed questions for the Professor Edwards interview:

Personal Background Information:

– What is your age?

–  How long have you lived in Williamsburg?

– Are you a native of Williamsburg, and if not, where did you live before Williamsburg?

– What did you do before you retired? Jobs? Education? Any children?

– I read you were on city council for a while, what encouraged you to get involved with the local government here?

– Can you describe your relationship with William and Mary?

Williamsburg and Change:

– How has Williamsburg changed economically, socially, and politically?

– How has the development of the interstate highway system affected growth seen in Williamsburg?

– How have subdivisions affected the growth of Williamsburg? Are you familiar with the amount of retired individuals who move into subdivisions?

Williamsburg and Retirement:

– What were some of your experiences like in Williamsburg pre-retirement?

– What influenced your decision to retire in Williamsburg and not somewhere else?

– What are some of the things you enjoy doing in Williamsburg today? What are some of the activities you participate in that are specific to the retirement lifestyle/scene?

– What amenities do you personally believe the area has for retired individuals?  Can you name some things that you think attract people to retire in Williamsburg?

– In what ways have you seen ‘Williamsburg as a retirement community’ evolve?  Do you think it will always attract retirement age individuals?

– What are your opinions on William and Mary’s interaction with retirement age individuals in Williamsburg?

– I have looked over some of the past annual commission reports, and in the 1980s, the 65+age group spiked. How did the local government at the time react? Did they see this as an advantage?

– This question is not specific to Williamsburg, but do you think the concept of  ‘active retirement’ is a new idea in America? 

– I looked in a few old Williamsburg phone books from the 1970s and there is no mention of even a nursing home in the Williamsburg area.  Where did the 65+ crowd in Williamsburg go? Was the concept of ‘retirement’ different pre 1980?

– Are you familiar with the advertising techniques that retirement communities have used? Do you believe these are effective at drawing people into Williamsburg?

Your Experience with Williamsburg Landing:

– I heard that you recently moved to Williamsburg Landing. Where did you live before that?

– What were some of the things that drew you to move to Williamsburg Landing?

– Can you describe the type of ‘lifestyle’ the Landing has to offer?

– How did you feel about the development of Williamsburg Landing in 1985?

To Do:

– Interview with Professor Edwards Monday

– Return Kit/Get recorded interviews by end Monday, get recorded interviews by end of the day Tuesday

– Transcribe interview by Friday (not sure which one I want to do yet, because I believe the Jack Edwards interview will be useful so I need to see how that goes)

– Type up the Danny Michels index I did for Steve, submit to blackboard by Friday

– Listen to older WDP interviews on Dspace that might be helpful for my project

– Possibly organize archive materials in a binder

– Start drawing conclusions from my multiple sources

Work Journal 4/26

4.19.10:  Spent the afternoon looking at the United Daughters of the Confederacy papers in Swem Special Collections to research the Monument to Confederate Soldiers.  This had a lot of information including news clippings from dedication and rededication ceremonies and descriptions of when the monument was moved, which has happened three times.  I still need to flesh out some details on this monument and hope to get back to Special Collections to continue looking at this information.

4.20.10:  Continued to talk to potential interviewees, finalized timing for interviewing Drew Gruber, the VCU student on DOG Street.

4.21.10:  Interviewed Drew Gruber at the Nicolson Store, where Drew lives.  This was a great interview as Drew has a bachelor’s degree in Historic Preservation and is working on a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning giving him a great insight into what can be done to preserve the Civil War resources in the city.  Drew has been active in attempts to preserve the Williamsburg Battlefield.  He was also able to provide some insight on a few other projects, I will discuss some of that in class.

4.22.10:  Continued correspondence with potential interviewees, scheduled an informal interview Jackson Tuttle.

I also borrowed two books from Sarah Glosson published by Colonial Williamsburg concerning the history of the town.  These include some good information on the Battle of Williamsburg but, like Colonial Williamsburg in general, focus mostly on the Revolutionary era, but this provides a good insight into the approach the Foundation takes.

4.23.10:  My hard drive crashed.  I had planned to spend this afternoon in Special Collections looking at the UDC papers a bit more, but instead I spent most of the afternoon recovering what I could.  I have been able to recover most of the major things I had saved for the project but did lose an afternoon of working time and will need to stay on top of things next week.

4.24.10:  Began transcribing the interview with Drew Gruber and looking through the books I borrowed from Sarah.

4.25.10:  Continued transcribing interview with Drew.

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About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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