Oral History Circle III
Getchell Family Residence - Quechee, Vermont
Editor: Brad Rathgeber, Summer 2003
Oral History Circle III gathered in Quechee, Vermont on July 20, 2003, a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The scene was the Getchell family home, a picturesque setting overlooking the Quechee Lakes region below and mountains in the distance. About thirty-five oral historians, past, present and future as well as partners and relatives gathered on the deck to enjoy interesting and friendly company and delicious food. The New England “bring your own?tradition resulted in some delectable treats including Pat Kitsi’s sushi, Nermina Zildzo’s Bosnian cheese pastry, and Dola Neill’s shrimp cocktail.
The view from the Gretchell deck
The star of OHC III was three-month-old Bridget Graham, daughter of Maria and LeRoy Graham. Maria, who has taken some time off to deal with the responsibilities of motherhood, told everyone she’s just about ready to get back to work on her oral history thesis of nuns in a convent in Ireland.
Is this the newest oral historian? Bridget Graham makes her debut.
Two in attendance were days away from big moves. Graham Reed is heading off to Hollywood for a couple of months to interview people for his projected thesis: an oral history of Hollywood -- the place. Elizabethia Moussivna is off to the University of Indiana where she will teach Russian and pursue a Ph.D. in folklore, which she envisions as a form of oral history.
Three future oral historians joined the group. Kristen, Bennie “Benji?and Jen Kocsmiersky. Ben has moved to Hanover from Boston, and Kristen is a recent graduate of Rollins College in Florida. Jen, from northern Vermont, hopes to begin the MALS program in January.
Dolapa Neill brought her husband along to see what all the fuss over oral history is about. Dola is at work on her thesis, a study of orality in the Yoruba culture of Nigeria.
Two people made the drive up from Boston to be part of OHC III. Brad Rathgeber is looking forward to doing an oral history of gay athletes in an IS this fall. Frank Possemanto, now a secondary school English teacher, is still pursuing publication of his oral history thesis: The Militia, the story of young men growing up in South Boston.
Bitten by the oral history bug, Ken Cadow told everyone how he continues his work in the genre apart from his academic pursuits. Ken says he’s been busy traveling around Vermont interviewing people for an oral history focused on people whose political views fall left and right of center.
Pat Kistes, now a magazine editor who took the class in 1996, is getting her oral history thesis on a Finnish community in New Hampshire re-worked for possible publication.
Samantha Stoddard, whose 1998 oral history project on maple sugaring was one of the sweetest ever, is now in the financial sector. She traveled up from Manchester to be part of OHC III.
Beyond the food and conviviality, the pleasant surroundings and spectacular view, the renewing of old acquaintances and the making of new ones, there was academic repartee, networking, and a reinvigoration of MALS?oral history community.
Thanks to Kristen Getchell and her parents for being such superb hosts.
Watch out for news about Oral History Circle IV some time in the early fall. If you’d like to volunteer your home for the gathering, get in touch with Myrna or Harvey.