Archive for April, 2012

Journal 6 – 4/23

Okay – I am officially in panic mode.  It is my final semester and I am anxious about not getting all my projects completed on time.  Case in point, this final journal entry is late!  I have been absorbed for the past three days with reading, research, and writing for three classes – oh, yes, and transcribing – the bane of my existence because it is enormously time consuming.  That alone is nearly the death of me this past week.  But, so as not to bore you further with my anxieties let me progress to posting about last week’s activities for WDP.

On Tuesday Laura Murray very patiently indexed for me during my last interview with Lorraine Rogers of Norge, Virginia.  We spoke for 90 minutes and she was a wealth of information about the Pottery Factory and life around Williamsburg during the 1930s and 1940s.  Mrs. Rogers is 92 years old and is considered on of the S.H.A.R.P. programs success stories for aging-in.  Her memory for detail is astounding.   She could recall when Rev. Godwin of Bruton Parish was instrumental in getting the Governor’s Palace project started.  Although she was not a member of that church, as she is a devout Lutheran, but she was living nearby in Norge with her husband at the time.

Another interesting detail is that her family owned the farm on which the Pottery Factory is built.  When her children were young she even worked there for some time as a supervisor in one of the departments, and her home was located on an adjacent parcel to the property.  I appreciated interviewing someone who has such deep roots in the area.

Before I went on that interview I met with an earlier interviewee to revise an addendum over coffee.  We met Aroma’s and caught up on her plans for making a local move in the near future.  This will be an update in my final report since it reflects a change that is more consistent with her desired living arrangements during retirement.

This coming week I hope to meet with a director for either the Peninsula Agency on Aging or the Center for Excellence in Aging since these agencies offer a broader range of support programs to seniors than the two smaller local agencies I met with earlier.  I am so impressed with the senior support services available to qualified residents of James City County and Williamsburg that I am seriously considering moving my mom from assisted living to James City County.  The JCC health services department alone is an asset not only to seniors, but to the community at large who need it.

If I can just make it through this transcription I will feel better, because I need to organize and begin writing my final report by the weekend – one can always hope!


Journal #7

Last week was wonderful – great strides in research and an excellent interview with Don Hess. I also indexed for Laura Murray and found the couple she interviewed most interesting and asked them several questions on my own research topic, which I will most likely include in my final report.

Tomorrow I have my final interview with a couple at the Landing, Dr. and Mrs. Fletcher. I am looking forward to discussing independent living communities on a local (and national) context and their opinions on being an independent retiree in Williamsburg.

Journal 6

This week I conducted an interview and indexed. I got a wealth of information about the perspective of a non-retiree on retirement.  I got some more research done and have finished about 3 pages of my paper.

Journal 5…and 6!

Oh my goodness I never posted a journal entry last week! I had been out of town for part of the week and a paper in another class dominated my time, but I did do work! I received a dense article I requested from Interlibrary Loan and read through it.  The statistics were more advanced than I expected but with some careful reading I learned some more about retirement migration.  Specifically I learned about onward migration, such as moving on to a resort community in Florida, etc., and about return migration, or going ‘home’ after spending a working life elsewhere.  The article broke down these two types of migration with regard to race and class, which was interesting. I have found in my research that those who retire in Williamsburg are white, more upper class, and migrating ‘onward.’

Last week I also spent time preparing for my interview with the Cropps and trying to nail down a third interview. I had several leads and sent out e-mails and left voicemails, but I had trouble scheduling a third interview.

This week was much busier. With that paper out of the way for a different class I was able to do more active research. I had an interview on Wednesday with Bob and Gloria Cropp. They were a fantastic resource for information about why people unfamiliar with Williamsburg would choose to move here in retirement. They live in a home they built in Governor’s Land in the late 1990s and love it.  As much as they travel to visit family and see new places, they remarked that they feel like living in the golf community of Governor’s Land is like a vacation in itself. When I asked them about their future in retirement, they mentioned their desire to stay in Williamsburg and that they considered moving into Williamsburg Landing.  They had even considered this ‘second step’ of retirement, as Paula referred to it, when they came to Williamsburg in the first place.

I was also able to interview Ginger Olansen, a retiree I met through Girl Scouts in Williamsburg. I spoke with her about her history in corporate America and her subsequent experience opening her own art business.  She and her husband retired here from Long Island just a few years ago, and they both work some part-time still.  They also live in Governor’s Land, and although neither of them golf she described the resort-like atmosphere of Governor’s Land as being her favorite thing about living in Williamsburg.  It was interesting how the two interviews I had this week contrasted with that of Sandy Campbell, who lived her before he was retired.  The Cropps and Ginger see living here as a vacation and enjoy the amenities while Sandy enjoys the community he has built, although he does not feel particularly attached to the area.

For this coming week I will be focusing on transcribing and putting things in order to start writing my actual paper. I have typed the indexes I have written for Collin and will e-mail them to her when I have the formatting ready. I had planned on transcribing the interview with the Cropps but now that I have done the interview with Ginger I may transcribe that instead. The Cropps had a lot of great information and were so enthusiastic, but the interview with Ginger was one-on-one and I was able to be more focused.  I will decide tomorrow and get to work!

Journal Entry 6

What a difference a week makes! Last week, I only had one interview and by the end of this week, I will have four!

To elaborate, I contacted the leads that Will Molineux gave me and I got answers from two of them. One is Jim Gilley who is a member and treasurer of the Pulaski Club and has had family in the club for generations. The other is Mel Jones who is the president of the Middle Plantation.

I also went to the Pulaski Club meeting on Thursday and it was an extremely fun experience. David went with me and we sat on the benches for around fifteen or twenty minutes before the club members started showing up. At first, it seemed like only a few members were going to come, but over the course of two hours, between ten and fifteen members showed up! I talked to a couple of them who gave me some great information about the club and heard some funny stories about politicians and William and Mary in the past. I also met Rodney Taylor who I’m going to interview this week. He’s a member of both the Pulaski Club and the Middle Plantation Club and seems like he’ll be a great resource for my project.

I’m really pleased with the collection of people that I’m interviewing. It’s a perfect balance of club members with one person only being in the Pulaski Club, one person only being in the Middle Plantation Club, and two people being in both. In the end, the number of interviews is not too overwhelming, but these four men will provide a great range of beneficial information.

I also did some secondary research and looked at some more books about the history and psychology behind fraternal organizations. They’ve had an interesting history, especially since the Civil War which will be exciting to document in my paper.


Journal 6

  • Indexing
  • Oral History Mr. Young – PC resident
  • Oral History Mr. Miles – PC resident
  • Research
  • Waiting for call backs-Referral VA Chapter and Navy Military Family Services

I have finished all of my interviews and so this week I plan to find more research and statistics on retired veterans.  I also will work on my transcription this week.  Hopefully I will be in contact with my call backs in the next few days and start working on my paper!

Update 4/16 Journal #5

Great week and morning! I had an interview this morning with Mr. Don Hess. As a retiree in Williamsburg, Mr. Hess is very involved in board activity and maintains connections on boards that he was in while he lived in Rochester, NY. I found our interview as an excellent tool to my broadening understanding of independence for retirees. We discussed at length how choices during his lifetime influenced his later decisions to settle in Port Ann, a community near the William and Mary Law School. I am looking forward to transcribing portions of our interview for my final report.

I have two interviews left that I would like to have completed by the end of this week so I can finish transcribing and piece together my data to start composing my final report. I am still working on gathering secondary sources of information to support my arguments and primary data in my report. I am hoping to finish most of my research by this weekend so I can focus my attention on organizing my research.

Journal Entry 5

Last night I discovered an extremely interesting element in my project topic. I was reading one of my secondary sources, Service Clubs in American Society, which had an interesting chapter on the decline of fraternal organizations in response to the rise of service and civic clubs. After reading more about the history of the Masons and the Knights of Columbus, I realized that most fraternal organizations nowadays have more of a focus on service than social events and fellowship. One of the Knights of Columbus newsletter has a full page on all of the community organizations to which they contribute. The Pulaski Club and the Middle Plantation club are unique in that respect since they only focus on social events, discussion, and education and do little to no service. This aspect could be interesting to look at these two clubs as some of the last bastions of the traditional mens social organization in a world of declining membership and the rise of service organizations. However, this subject is moving slowly away from retirement so I’ll have to find a way to combine the two.

In other news, I had my interview with Will Molineux last week. It was extremely helpful and he gave me a lot of information about his beliefs about the club and what they do as an organization. Despite its length, I’ll probably end up transcribing this interview since it gave so much valuable information. He also gave me a local history book and a list of names to contact for other oral histories. I also indexed for Laela’s interview with Margaret Sequiera.

I’m starting to realize that this project is coming down to the wire and it’s going to be a stressful last couple of weeks trying to squeeze in interviews. Hopefully it will all come out to something amazing in the end!

Journal #5

This week I did manage to start my essay but only got about a page done.

I finished transcribing my interview with Mrs. Glosson.

I decided I do not need to focus so much on the upper class as I don’t think anyone is worried about their ability to retire. My paper seems to be narrowing itself down to focus purely on the middle class. I still wish to include some lower class information but tackling both will be difficult.

I was supposed to conduct an interview on Saturday morning with Betty Hundley. However, I woke up with a fever and was worried I may have had strep throat (one of my friends has it). I cancelled the interview as I did not want to get anyone sick. Instead I went to Medexpress, where I was told I only have a sinus infection (Thank God). I will be rescheduling our interview for later this week.

Journal 5

  • Museum in San Diego
  • VB Referral from SD Museum
  • Walkthrough at Patriot’s Colony
  • Q&A with Exec Director and Marketing Director at Patriot’s Colony
  • Oral Interview with John Carroll
  • Research through online resources-SWEM
  • Indexing

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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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