Goodbye Virginia, Hello Boston

Yesterday I took one final trip up Rt. 20 to Fredericksburg.  Apart from a few select pieces I was able to sell the remainder of my Don Troiani collection to a Marine officer, who is going to auction them off to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior project.  [More on this at a later date.]  It’s one of my favorite drives and it gave me the opportunity to reflect on just how much I am going to miss this place.

I’ve lived in Charlottesville for 11 years and it has been a wonderful experience.  Other than the town I grew up in on the Jersey shore I’ve never lived in one location for a longer period of time. My wife and I met and befriended some incredible people and we will miss them all.  On top of that you just can’t beat the beauty of this state.  It’s got it all.

When I arrived in 2000 I had never taught a course in American history and my list of publications was a goose egg.  One of the things I will miss the most is the opportunity to connect with such a rich history.  That crucial connection not only filled my time here with a great deal of excitement and meaning, but it also served as a catalyst for new and lasting friendships.  If I’ve enjoyed any success as a historian over the past few years it is the result of the generosity of a number of people in the field.  You know who you are and I will be forever grateful.  I would like to believe that I helped to preserve and pass down this state’s rich history to the next generation and even contribute to how we understand and remember it.

By far the most difficult part of this transition has been leaving the St. Anne’s – Belfield School.  It is going to be a strange experience come late August when I am sitting in the Massachusetts Historical Society doing research rather than preparing to go back into the classroom.  I am going to miss my colleagues terribly.  They are simply one of the most passionate and talented faculty that I’ve ever worked with.  They put up with me for 10 years; they made me a better teacher and a better person.  It was a rare morning that I did not want to get up and go to work.  I don’t know too many people who are lucky enough to work a job that so closely reflects a personal interest or passion.  Well, that was the case for me and every one of my fellow faculty members and it made for an incredibly rewarding experience.  It is a school where I was allowed to create my own classes and even walk into the classrooms of my colleagues to check out something new.  I trust that I’ve left my mark, but more importantly my colleagues as well as my students have left their mark on me and for that I am thankful.

So, what does the future hold?  What I do know for now is that by Tuesday evening my wife and I will be in our new home.  I don’t mind admitting that I am just a bit nervous.  It would be much easier to find a way to stay with what is familiar and rewarding.  That said, as difficult as it is to leave Virginia I couldn’t be more excited about moving to Boston.  For a history buff it can’t get much better and I am looking forward to exploring this thing called the American Revolution.  Over the next year I plan on completing a number of writing projects as well as continuing my work with k-12 history teachers.  I am also excited about some work that I will be doing for the company that created the Valley Sim Project.  Whether I end up back in the classroom has yet to be decided.  I do know that I want to somehow stay within the field of history education, but given the public history scene in the Boston area that could lead to any number of things.  We shall see.

I am confident that the move will add an important perspective and spark to Civil War Memory.  I’ve never lived in New England and much of my commentary is centered on how the Civil War is remembered in the South.  As always thanks to all of you for your continued support.  I’ve said it before, but this blog is responsible for much of my success and that has everything to do with you.  That’s about it for now.

See you on the Charles River on July 4. :-)

28 responses... add one

We will miss you terribly, but are so excited for you. I personally will miss our classes together and having such a great friend and colleague! Bon voyage;)

Don’t make me cry now, Laura. We are just about finished packing. Michaela and I are going to miss you, but we have a feeling we will see you at some point soon. :-)

For some reason, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” seems like it would be an appropriate theme…

Gotta give the Dropkick Murphys some chops; a punk anthem about the 69th NY Volunteers has got to be worth a “memory” post.

All the best,

“The Fighting 69th” – you can find it on Youtube…

Here are the lyrics:

Come all you gallant heroes, And along with me combined
I’ll sing a song, it won’t take long, Of the Fighting Sixty Ninth
They’re a band of men brave, stout and bold, From Ireland they came
And they hailed a leader to the fore, And Cocoran was his name

It was in the month of April, When the boys they sailed away
And they made a sight so glorious, As they marched along Broadway
They marched right down Broadway, me boys, Until they reached the shore
And from there they went to Washington, And straight unto the war

Chorus: So we gave them hearty cheers, me boys, which was greeted with a smile
Singing here’s to the boys that fear no noise, We’re the Fighting Sixty Ninth

And when the war is said and done, May heaven spare our lives
For its only then that we can return, To our loved ones and our wives
We’ll take them in our arms, me boys, For a long night and a day
And we’ll hope that war will come no more, To sweet America

Chorus:

So farewell unto you dear New York, Will I e’er see you once more
For it fills my heart with sorrow, To leave your sovereign shore
But the country now it is calling us, And we must hasten fore
So here’s to the stars and stripes, me boys, And to Ireland’s lovely shore

And here’s to Murphy and Devine, Of honor and renown
Who did escort our heroes, Unto the battle ground
And said unto our colonel, We must fight hand to hand
Until we plant the stars and stripes, Way down in Dixieland

Chorus:

Actually, the 69th (which still exists as NGAUS battalion in the NYNG) is probably worth an article in itself; they responded to 9/11, went to Iraq (where they fought under a NG brigade headquarters from, IIRC, Louisiana) and also in Aghanistan; they also were Bill Donovan’s regiment in WW I (then numbered the 165th Infantry); Joyce Kilmer was KIA as an infantry sergeant, after writing the “Rouge Bouquet”… “CW memory with a vengeance.

Best,

Good luck with your move.

The American Revolution is an important topic, but I’m hoping that your main emphasis will remain on the Civil War era. Those Yankee abolitionists, for example, are a great topic.

Kevin,

It’s a good thing to shake up the system once in a while, and it sounds like you’re doing just that. Good luck in Boston. By the way, once you get settled in, might you be interested in doing some research for me in the F. Lauriston Bullard collection at the Howard Gottlieb Center of Boston University? It’s not something I would even need this year, but was just wondering if you might be interested.

Good luck to you and your wife!

Best
Rob

Thanks for the kind words. We might be able to arrange something, but the rest of this year is definitely filled.

Do us all a favor and swing through Roanoke on your way out. Pick up Dan Casey and take him with you. Between the two of you there is enough revisionist pablum and rhetoric to satisfy the whole lot of statist yankee indoctrinees.

With me leaving who are they going to blame for everything that they see wrong around them? :-) They should be grieving over my departure. Well, Andy Hall is still around and he is a native Southerner.

I’m not goin’ anywhere.

Best of luck to y’all in Boston. It’s going to be an exciting move. One way or another, public education is in your blood, and even if you don’t end up in a classroom setting, you will continue to make a big, and positive, difference.

I really appreciate that, Andy. Thanks for everything you’ve done with your blog. Your site sets the standard of what an educational and entertaining history blog can be.

You know, I am just speechless. It truly is another country…

I hope you crank up “Marching Through Georgia” on the drive out…I thought of doing it the last time I was at Hartsfield, but discretion was the better part.

OK, who picked 18 in the “How many posts will it take until some Lost Causer says ‘good riddance’” pool? Whoever picked 18 may pick up their prize, the complete scholarly peer-reviewed works of Mr.Earl Ijames, at the front desk. 8-)

Kevin, enjoy New England!

I bet on 5 but I’m a native born Yankee so cynicism is just as natural as breathing to me. Ah well, it isn’t as though winning the prize is any different (materially) than losing though. Nicely played Woodrowfan!

Hi Ed,

We did indeed find a place. The movers came today and we head out first thing in the morning.

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