Research is moving quickly at this point – just had my first oral history interview this morning with Mr. Chuck Buell which lasted a little over an hour and was hugely productive. I feel more confident in my thesis now, which revolves around being an independent person as a retiree within the Williamsburg community at large. Mr. Buell was an excellent interviewee and will continue to be an influence in my writing.

I plan to interview Mrs. Carol Talbot, of Williamsburg Landing at some point this week, as well as Mr. Don Hess and Mr. Henry F. Meyers this week or next week. Working with scheduling complications has proven to be a bit of a task, but I’m working on it.

Research outside of interviews has been going quite well, especially with what’s going on politically in the country, as the Supreme Court hears the case for President Obama’s health care plan.  Looking closely at independent living communities maintains as a large part of my research, but I have started to look also at defining “independence” merely as an elder member of society. In my oral history interview today of Mr. Buell, it was particularly interesting to hear his perspective on the change in independence in his lifetime. I find that Mr. Buell’s interview is extremely pertinent to my research and feel that the transcription of this interview will be necessary for my final paper.

This sums up my work for the last week or so, looking forward to moving on with oral histories and outside research.

– Megan Berke


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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