Week ending 4/11

This week was somewhat productive, but again clustered with other obligations that made it difficult to pay a great deal of attention to the WDP. Two papers and a phone interview later, though, next week is looking more productive.

That’s not to say that this week was a total wash. There was actually quite a few good things that happened. On Tuesday, I interviewed Tyler Morris, one of the current residents of 331. She provided an interesting point of comparison to Fred’s stories about growing up in that home, as well as more information about off-campus housing: the lack of it, the competition that surrounds the existing rentals, how common it is to overcrowd, i.e. have 4+ people, etc. It was a fun interview, and Kari and I both learned a lot. On Thursday, I also met with Chris Connolly, a student from Williamsburg who sits on the Planning Commission. He agreed to be formally interviewed this coming week, and was really forthcoming in the information that he gave during our preliminary interview. I really need to have my ducks in a row for this interview, considering how he could potentially speak to a lot of different aspects of living in Williamsburg and about this rule and apparently has few qualms about doing so.

I also got a call this week from someone I contacted who was willing to talk about the three-person rule. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch their name at the beginning of the phone call and then it just became too awkward to ask whom I was speaking with, but I will be meeting this mystery man on Monday. I should probably figure that out beforehand, as Prof. Lelievre suggested. (Update: it’s Gary Shelly, a landlord who has consistently butted heads with the city over the three-person rule.)

Getting down to this final bit, though, I’m unsure as to how I will be able to meet with everyone I need to meet with for a well-rounded paper. So far, rental agencies and neighborhood residents have not contacted me back, and I haven’t had any more luck looking for non-student renters. I can show up at the rental agencies (something I’ll do this coming week) but I can’t make them talk to me then, either. The residents are an even tougher get; since they’re mostly elderly people, I don’t want to intrude on their space, and being more forceful with elderly people could be seen as disrespectful. Ugh. The people I have talked to, though, I think are pretty good sources and I could write a good paper with it. I just wish these sources were more accessible.

Other than my own project, though, I indexed for Kari when she interviewed Bruce Larson at his home on Monday. He was very forthcoming with both information and snacks. All she had to do was ask one question, then he launched into a 90 minute, uninterrupted talk that answered all of Kari’s questions. Indexing for a duration that long was rather challenging, just constantly writing and paying attention without any clear breaks or changes of topic. It was nevertheless a really interesting insight into how he does his work as an archaeologist.

Next week is crunch time. In addition to the Chris Connolly interview, I hope to schedule something with Gary Shelly, a management agency, and a neighborhood resident at the very least. Here’s hoping it all works out!

2 Responses to “Week ending 4/11”

  1. 1 loetta April 13, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Thats wonderful to have a place like 331 because the history Fred Boelt knows and the current residents. Also, what are you looking to find out from Chris Connolly? Do you know anything about his living situation in Williamsburg? For instance, does he live off campus and abide by the three person rule? I think you are making amazing progress.

  2. 2 mal2013 April 13, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I like that you noted how challenging indexing can be when you have a very engaged interviewee. For that interview at least it sounds like you had more work to do than the actual interviewer.

    Have you tried looking for landlords that rent to non-students in the classified section of the Virginia Gazette?

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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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