Journal, Week 2

I spent several hours in Swem this past week reading through the books in my bibliography. I found some interesting background info about retirement in the US (and abroad). Elderburbia gave a good background on retirement in the USA, including a list of things needed for a retirement community (in a loose sense of the term) which included some popular amenities. These amenities lined up with what is traditionally offered in college towns. The Trolander article we watched in class mentioned similar things.

What turned out to be even more useful was a book published on the UK called Contexts of Ageing. It turned out to have some interesting studies referenced in footnotes on retirement migration in the United States. Swem doesn’t have them but I’m requesting them through ILL. Also, while it had information about retirement in a global sense, it mentioned several times how changes in retirement occurred first in the USA. That is, changes with regard to planned communities, migration within retirement, and a retirement industry occurred mostly within the United States to start. This linked back to our discussion in class about how unique American retirement is, and if the American tendency for migration is unique.

On the interview front I have one preliminary meeting set up for this Wednesday. I also indexed for Collin and asked the interviewee about her decision to come to Williamsburg. She had chosen to retire in a college town, is from Virginia, and had considered Charlottesville and Fredericksburg as well. When I asked her to elaborate on her decision to come to Williamsburg as opposed to the other towns, she cited cost of living (lower than Charlottesville) and a sense of community. Williamsburg seemed like a defined, small-town community. When Collin asked her about her activities in the community, she mentioned being able to working with ESL programs and the presence of a Unitarian Church as important things she looked for in coming to Williamsburg. Things to keep in mind as I prepare for my own interviews…


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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