Archive for April, 2012

Journal #5

This week I conducted my third interview with Margaret Sequeira of the WUU, who put me in contact with two people- Deb Hill, the former volleyball coach and Robert Travene, both active members at the WUU.  I have an interview scheduled with Robert this Thursday at his apartment in New Town and have a tentative interview planned with Deb hopefully sometime this week.  In the past few weeks it has become abundantly clear that the College and the WUU are the two most gay-friendly spaces in Williamsburg.  This weekend we had our first Pride festival on the Crim Dell Meadows where President Reveley spoke, and Margaret had a table representing the WUU as a “Welcoming Congregation” for lgbts individuals.

I have continued to read scholarly sources from my bibliographies and have found “LGBT Elder Law: Toward Equity in Aging” particularly relevant for this research.  I’m interested in including The Richard Cornish Endowment Fund, W&M GALA, and the Stephens Project as examples of how the College is supportive of LGBT alums and students, amongst others.

Journal 5 – 4/16

Time is flying by!  I’m a nervous wreck for all that’s on my plate to complete before graduation next month.  During the past week I focused on gathering information about support services for seniors who are living on their own at home in retirement.

I had two meetings with key support agency managers, Executive Director, Ms. Rita Smith at Faith in Action and Ms. Linda Hoyle, R.N.  at S.H.A.R.P. (Senior Health Assistance Resource Project).  Both meetings were extremely helpful in pointing me to the vast network of services for seniors in Williamsburg.  In the process I made contact with a 93 year old stay at home senior who is a success story with S.H.A.R.P. and we have scheduled an interview for Tuesday, April 17th.  Her name is Lorraine Rogers and her family used to own the farmland on which the Pottery Factory now stands.  She will be a really interesting person to interview!  When I phoned her on Saturday, I told her about WDP and asked some preliminary questions.  Mrs. Rogers does not have access to the internet so the telephone or face-to-face meetings are my only means of connecting with her.

I will contact Director, Diane Hartley at the Senior Services Coalition of Greater Williamsburg on Monday to schedule an interview on Thursday, April 19th.  I typed up the index for Heather from her interview for the Bulls and am working on the transcript of my interview with Nancy Crowell.  I’m not sure about transcribing all of my interview(s) with the Zadans since it totals over two hours of information.  With the April 27th deadline for turning in interview materials fast approaching I’m worried about getting everything done.  There is so much that I could include in my final research essay that prioritizing information is challenging.  I’m pretty much letting the information from my interviews lead me to my final analysis and presentation.  I anticipate Mrs. Rogers giving me a wealth of historical information since she’s lived here all her life.

I also need to do more research on retirement trends nationally to determine how they align with the experiences of my interviewees.  I listened to Inside E Street on WHRO on Friday.  The program focuses on issues of interest to seniors.  I passed on a link for the program to everyone in class; it is associated with  Saturday’s program featured a story about golf carts outnumbering residents at The Villages that I thought was interesting as well as information about Encore careers for seniors who are between their main careers and retirement.

I am looking forward to wrapping up this project and partying.  Graduation is less than a month away now.  Yeah!

Journal 4 – 4/9

This past week I met with David on Tuesday, Mar. 3rd to discuss the progress on my research.  I took several notes which helped me organize my thoughts.  I also looked for additional research items online at SWEM.  Later in the afternoon, I phoned Mr. Hungerman with the Williamsburg Housing Authority, but found him unable to assist me with access to Blayton residents.  I also phoned Linda Hoyle of SHARP to schedule an appointment, but got her voicemail.  She called me back on Friday and we are scheduled to meet Thursday, Mar. 12th at 11 a.m.

Wednesday was an exciting day for me.  I wrapped up a 10 week competitive workshop focusing at the Cohen Career Center in core management principles for non-profits which ended with my team presenting its non-profit proposal to a panel of judges.  We won first place in the competition and $600 for our chosen non-profit, Avalon Women’s Shelter.  During the reception after the competiton I spoke with one of the judges and learned that she is the Executive Director for Williamsburg Area Faith in Action, a non-profit organization focused on “Helping Seniors Stay at Home”.  Talk about serendipity!  I told her briefly about my WDP project about seniors “aging-in at home”.  She was delighted to learn about it and promptly gave me a flyer about a symposium on aging that they are part of on May 8th.  This will be too late to be in my project, but I may include the flyer with ephemera items at the end.

Ms. Smith and I exchanged phone numbers and I contacted her by email on Thursday and included a link to the WDP website and specifics about my project.  We have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 10th at 2 p.m.

Saturday’s Daily Press had an article about talking with aging parents about changes in lifestyle.  It provided insight into one man’s struggle to be “a good son”.  The article detailed what the man learned about balancing his parent’s independence with safety concerns.  It was also a cautionary tale about the importance of including parents in the conversation and not making all their decisions for them.  I like to think that every person “of a certain age” recognizes the necessity of being proactive in their living decisions and makes choices in a timely matter, but what the article drove home is that where we think we are in the process and the reality of where we actually are may not line up.  It is part of what I am trying to determine in my project.  At what point in time are people thinking about their retirement decisions?  What kinds of changes are they anticipating?  How are they going about it?  Who supports or assists them with the changes?  What are their most pressing concerns about getting older?

This coming week I will look at the support systems in place for seniors and prospect for a couple more interviewees.  I also want to look at national trends for aging-in.



Update 4/9 Journal #4

Great week last week!

I had an extremely informative interview with the Kathy Kammer, Senior Director of Community Relations at The Landing. I learned a great deal about The Landing – including its status as a non-for-profit corporation. This drastically changed my initial assumptions about The Landing and I look forward to including their annual social accountability report in my research.

This week is dedicated to setting up interviews with Mr. Don Hess, Mr. Hank Myers and Mrs. Carol Talbot. I am going to try and schedule all interview through April 16th so I can focus on transcribing my interviews, gaining background research from secondary sources and solidifying everything to begin writing my final report.

Journal #4

This week I had another oral history interview with Professor Kathleen Slevin in her office at the Hoke House on Thursday.  Professor Slevin specializes in lesbian and gay aging and shared with me some invaluable stories from the interviews she had with elderly lgbts. She recommended I get in contact with Professor Greenia who I have reached out to.

I met with the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist (WUU) lifespan director Margaret Sequeira at the Daily Grind on Friday and we had a preliminary talk about my project and she gave me some names of lgbt retirees in Williamsburg who are members of her church.  I scheduled to have a formal oral interview with her this Thursday at WUU and am awaiting on hearing back from her leads.

I met with Professor Glosson and David on Thursday  who recommended I read up on some scholarly material when I have downtime and have begun reading Kimmel’s “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Aging,” which Professor Slevin also cites in her book, “Gender, Social Inequalities, and Aging.”

Journal Entry #4

This week I got two main things accomplished.

1. I typed up my index for the Zadan interview. Hooray for crossing things off the checklist!

2. I conducted an interview with Eunice Glosson. She offered a bounty of information about her economic background and how it has effected her retirement. We got into a discussion about her father and his employment history and the interview “sparked a new interest for her.” Its nice to see that the project is not one sided and that the interviews peak the interviewees’ interests as well.

All in all I really didn’t get that much done this week. Between Easter and other work my schedule has been packed. I told myself I would start the paper this week and managed to create a document on my computer but I then realized I had a test and began studying. My goal for the week is to transcribe the Glosson interview and get at least two pages of the paper written. I also have an interview on Saturday. Hopefully this will be a very productive week.

Journal Entry 4

This week I didn’t get too much research done since I have been so busy with other work, but I did get one important thing accomplished. I scheduled an interview with Will Molineux for Tuesday morning at 8:30! He seems really interested in my research and says that he has other documents at home that he will bring to show me, such as the Pulaski Club scrapbook. I’m really excited about this interview as it looks like it will prove to be very helpful. I hope to get more contacts from him as well.

I’ve been trying to contact Professor Glosson’s friend David Gardner about the Masonic Lodge but our schedules have not been linking up as I would like. I’m hoping to meet with him this week, schedules permitting. I might have to resort to a chat via email if necessary, but hopefully that will not happen.

I also tried to go to the Pulaski Club story circle with Megan this past Thursday, but the cold and cloudy weather led to the cancellation of the meeting. It’s supposed to be sunny this coming Thursday, so I’ll give it another try then. If that doesn’t work, hopefully the weather conditions will be nice enough for them to meet before this project is due. I’m looking forward to this observational session. I’ve listened to some of the Pulaski Club Story Circle that’s in the Digital Archive and it sounds like their stories are pretty interesting and entertaining!

Journal 4

This was a very busy week for me outside of WDP, but it’s been a very busy week research-wise as well!  I put in my requests for a few articles through Interlibrary Loan on retirement in an economic and political context, which is interesting to me.  I also scheduled an interview for this coming week with Bob and Gloria Cropp, who moved to Williamsburg in retirement.  I spoke with Mrs. Cropp on the phone in advance, and I know that she and her husband are both from Southern California and lived much of their lives on the West Coast, but that they moved around with his job at IBM.

I also had my first interview this week, with Mr. Sandy Campbell, who is a retired administrative law judge.  I know his wife, who is younger and not retired, very well.  Mr. Campbell retired from law, taught at the W&M Law School for a few years, and is now fully retired.  I enjoyed interviewing him because he is very different from the other people I am interviewing.  He moved to Williamsburg for his job, cited weather and the school system as relevant factors in choosing a place to live (his children were in school when the family moved here), and is not particularly devoted to the community.  I was glad to have this interview as part of my research to potentially counterbalance the effects of retirees who come to Williamsburg and tell me they love it.  While I wouldn’t say I doubt their feelings, in the back of my mind I wonder who would be ready to say they made a poor decision moving here.  I really enjoyed Sandy’s practical, unattached view of Williamsburg.

Journal 4

This week I was quite busy helping other people with their interviews.  The interviews that I tried to set up did not pan out.  But I was able to develop new contacts for next week that I will be able to contact in person on Monday.  These are not official interviews but hopefully they will lead to official ones.  On Monday afternoon I am going to go to fundraiser where retired veterans of the area will be.  I am also hoping to do a walkthrough of Patriot’s Colony this week to personally meet administration and set up times to do an interview .

Journal Entry 3

Much of the research for this week was done in special collections. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to know the special collections librarians quite well by the end of this project since I probably went there three or four times in the last week. I’ve been going through the Pulaski Club boxes to get more information about the history of the club and how it is run today. The Middle Plantation Club box is less sparse, but is providing some useful facts (and contact information) as well.

I also went to the public library to take a look at the clubs and organizations binder that I looked at on our class trip. I found some information, but it was mostly repeats of what I found in the boxes in special collections. It looks like I’ve already gotten most of the helpful information out of these resources and they might not be of use much longer.

This week, I also started contacting potential interviewees for my oral histories. As of right now, I have had two men who are in both the Pulaski Club and the Middle Plantation Club, John Donaldson and Will Molineux, say that they would be glad to talk to me. I’m still in the process of setting up times to meet with them to conduct the oral history. I also heard back from Professor Glosson’s friend David Gardner about having a informational interview about the Masons but have yet to hear back from him about availability. In regards to the people that have not responded, I’ll be sending follow-up emails in the next couple of days and will be calling them or finding other sources if necessary.

This week, in addition to hopefully securing dates for oral histories, I want to do more secondary research about the national fraternal organizations and how activities and friendships affect one’s retirement and listen to past oral histories regarding the local organiations. I also need to return to the public library to learn more about a collaboration that the Middle Plantation Club does with them every year. Will Molineux also invited me to come watch the Pulaski Club story circle on Thursdays so I would like to do that in the next couple of weeks when I can find the time.


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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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