08 July 2008


Sheesh. This whole paper thing is turning out to be a little intense (or maybe it's just me?). It's like a bad stage of the Tour, up and down, up and down. I called a contact that I got from the lady I interviewed yesterday and the woman was ever so eager-- we are scheduled for tomorrow. I went to the library and what they had told me they have-- a folder of newspaper clippings on my topic-- they don't have. Which means it will take a lot longer, which is not that great as my extension is only until Monday. This did not sit well. I did find out that there are three other people making late submittals though, which made me feel a bit better, even if I know I will feel totally tense until I finish it. I talked to a lady today and we are tentatively scheduled to interview for next week, so hopefully I will have four to work with, which isn't too bad. I mailed out my first transcript. I have a phone call scheduled with a cool young professor doing work similar to mine, which I am kind of excited about because I like what she does and how she does it. But seriously, all day it was like I would get a break and then get shit on and then get another break. More breaks than shit, but it sure didn't feel that way.

But this is the crazy part. I have googled this one lady umpteen times. Nobody in the organization really knows her or knew her that well-- she was pretty much before everybody's time. She has virtually zero internet presence-- probably about as much as most people of a certain age have. I did some obituary searches because I thought she might be dead. Talking to her would certainly mean filling in a big gap-- like most of the eighties-- because I have nowhere to start with now that the newspaper thing is going to require more digging. So I google her again and bam! Where there was once one link for her name, there are now two. Somebody in her family posted a word document that was a little autobiography she had written. So I sent an email to the law firm linked on this really, really, barebones site-- all it was was a list of five links. Time passes. I try to temper my grumpyness with some time on the grass at the park (it helped big time-- and am I so lucky to be able to do this? yes). And what happens? Her son emails me back, subject title: "Jackpot". Apparently this lady is alive and kicking and he just knows she would be willing to talk. "Her memory for details frightens me on a daily basis," he wrote. It's like an oral historian's dream. I've got a phone call scheduled with him tomorrow. I almost cried tears of joy.

Sometimes all this digging and trying to make sense of it is really, really hard and I don't think I can keep on with it for six or seven more years because I take it all too personally (it occurred to me today that my advisor won't have to break my spirit because my topic already has), and then I have these Indiana Jones moments where I finally find the holy grail. Good times.

1 comment:

Michaele said...

You may have already tried this, but the State Archives has newspaper clippings files too- I believe they have a list online of the topics- you could try there too.