14 hours ago
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The ironic thing is that the Gentrys come from this area originally. Sometime in the 1680s, two brothers from Essex, Samuel and Nicholas, settled along the Totopotomoy Creek in New Kent County, near where the college and then capital at Williamsburg Plantation would be built twenty years later. Back then it was part of St. Peter's Parish (where George and Martha got married, incidentally), and the Jacobean church that presumably my ancestors helped build in 1701 is still there today.
This is all ironic because I seriously have no idea how my illustrious forefathers and foremothers survived this miserable, miserable weather. Without air-conditioning, no less. Philly gets pretty grim in the summer too, but nothing like this. How do you southerners do it? How did a bunch of pale Englishmen in the 17th century do it? Whatever fortitude they possessed seems to have leaked out of their genetic material in the last three centuries. Or maybe it's the fault of my mother's side.
Only a few more weeks of summer session left, however, and then back up north permanently. Next year I'm taking a position at the University of Delaware. Not tenure-track, but full-time. I adjuncted there a year ago and greatly enjoyed my time there, so I'm thrilled to be coming back. UD is a hidden gem of education on the east coast. Thanks to its low tuition the school attracts a surprisingly cosmopolitan student body from around the country, with a particularly large and thriving music department. Plus, it is just south of Philadelphia, so Mary and I will be able to live together (!) in the city and commute to our respective jobs. So yay for that.
On the other hand, I've had a lovely year at William & Mary. The music department is extremely warm and welcoming to its visiting faculty, and the students were simply tremendous. I won't miss the heat, or Ken Cuccinelli, but it's been a great year.