I like to be busy during summer vacation, keep idle time to a minimum to prevent me from wasting any precious days sitting in front of the TV screen in my pajamas for hours on end. I schedule as many classes as I can into my summer to pick up CEUs and grad credits to apply toward career advancement and certification. This year I devoted five weeks to study and it didn’t dawn on me until the third week that I may have bit off a little more than I wanted to chew. With only thirteen days set aside for visiting parents and friends, my personal vacation had shrunk to less than nine days, not counting the doctor-physical-bloodtest-mammogram appointment day. And not counting the not-identify-the-cyst-by-ultrasound-and-remove-it day because that was one long day full of worry. Books purchased to be read for enjoyment piled up and then got shelved unread – lost among the colored clothe spines and knick-knarks. I know that I’m rambling here, perhaps its the weather – muggy, wet and dark. Note to self: focus on one subject at a time so subjects don’t overlap and overwhelm – the purpose is to have fun while learning, not competitive one-upmanship.
All that said, I DID IT! The NEH [Maritime America in the Age of Winslow Homer] fellowship was intense and the best time that I have ever experienced while learning. Our professor team, coaches, museum curators, and TAs were great, all 25 of us fellows took away more than we ever expected. Our lesson plans and powerpoint presentations have been uploaded to the NEH website. I haven’t stopped thinking about my whaling captain’s wives – they won’t leave my dreams and I feel that I have more [essential] questions about whaling that will lead me back to research. Plus, I have my own family history to research: my great, great, greatgrandfather Captain Samuel H. Berry is asleep in Davy Jone’s locker and I feel driven to find out more about him