Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Road Trip and Relocate

With apologies for taking so long to get this post up. My part in the project at the Ballard Locks is complete. However, the work to be done there is not. I am leaving the project in the capable hands of the Friends of the Hiram Chittenden Locks. This group of volunteers, most of whom are not natives of the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, have stepped up to give back to the community and the home that they have adopted. Since our project started, the Friends have put in over 600 volunteer hours scanning slides and photos, cleaning storage rooms full of manuscripts and artifacts, and organizing a first class history group from the ground up. It was a privilege to know this fine group of people. Stay up-to-date on their progress at their website or their blog. If you're in the Seattle area, contact them and help out.

The completion of the internship project at the Locks also completed the requirements for my MA in Applied History at Shippensburg University. (As a matter of fact, my diploma arrived yesterday in the mail!) I also can't say enough good things about the faculty, staff, and students in this program. A lot of people have asked me what I'm going to do with a masters degree. My career goal was always to be an independent historian and do some writing. If you share this goal, I can't recommend a better "basic training" for nonfiction writing than pursuing a graduate degree.
Along those lines I wanted to be closer (relative to the west coast) to some of the archives I will need to visit for upcoming projects. More importantly, I was just not cut out for living in the big city. I love to visit them, but when it comes to where I live, I need to be in the country. With our "day jobs" as computer consultants and providing graphic designs for veterans, we are free to travel and relocate more or less where we want and when we want. So Sheila, Meaghan, Sydney and I have moved again. We're now near Harbor Springs, Michigan. That's right, up by the "tip of the mitt"! The countryside is beautiful here and okay, I'll just say it, the Lake Michigan shore is prettier than the Puget Sound. Our first morning here we had deer in the front yard. My kind of place. I'm wondering where Michigan has been all of my life. It's been a well kept secret from the rest of the country. Of course, the army would have never sent me to such a nice place. So it was only by accident and the grace of the Internet that we found it.
I'll fill you in on the history of this area as I learn it myself. It's great to be in an area that I've never been to before. The folks up here in rural Michigan are very friendly and compared to Seattle the traffic is non-existent. And to top it all off, I'm east of the Mississippi, which means that from here it's only about twelve hours of driving to the National Archives in D.C. And, oh by the way, I already have my frequent shopper card for ACE Hardware. More to follow. ;-)
The top picture of the opening of the Government Locks in Seattle, 1916, is courtesy of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and scanned by volunteers. The other two are proof that we are indeed in Michigan, courtesy of my daughter Meaghan, who was in the U-haul with Sheila that followed Sydney and I across the country. The first is of us crossing the Mackinac Bridge from the Upper Peninsula to Lower Michigan. The second is of our arrival in Harbor Springs on September 1st.

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