I’m actually writing this “first post” after publishing my actual “first post” (I’m still trying to catch on to this blogging business), so I don’t want to say a lot here, lest I give away too much of the real first post and make reading it unnecessary. Anyway, . . . the shorthand version: I’ve just retired after nearly four decades at a “prep school,” a History PhD. teaching on the secondary level and gradually growing to like it very much. During my career, I also managed to keep my hand in scholarly activities, including publishing one book and devoting, oh, fifteen summers or so to research on a second one (so far). Now that I’ve retired, I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands: no bells ringing every 55 minutes; no classes to prepare for, tests to make up and grade, averages to figure, or student comments to write. The question remains, though, now that I have “all the time in the world,” something scholars dream about, will I be able to push that research to a successful conclusion? Hence the subtitle of the blog, “Doing History After Leaving the Classroom.”
As for the title, “Retired But Not Shy,” I hope (in a much more modest way, of course) to follow the example set by my avatar, John Quincy Adams. “Retired” from the Presidency by the electorate after one term, John Quincy could have followed the example of his father John, who suffered a similar electoral fate in 1800, and return home to Massachusetts to play the role of “Sage off the Stage,” but the younger Adams refused to do so. Instead, after a brief hiatus, he returned to public life with a vengeance, serving in the House of Representatives from 1831 to 1848. During that period, Adams waged a long fight against the infamous “gag rule,” and he did so with such vigor and determination that southern congressmen, including the Georgians I’ve been studying for the last decade and a half, became positively apoplectic at the mere mention of his name and tried everything they could short of assassination to shut him up. Adams finally did the job for them, dying of a stroke suffered on the floor of the House, in 1848.
Does that mean that I hope to keel over at my keyboard while composing yet another blog post in my inimitable prose? Not hardly! I intend to pursue a less formal brand of history through this medium, supplementing my current research efforts by blogging on related topics that won’t fit in the manuscript and “piloting” others that will appear there. I also will not be shy when it comes to treating other subjects that interest me, most of which I’m sure will fit under the rubric of “History,” but, even if they don’t, I’ll still have my say.
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For those interested in reading more of my reflections on history, here are links to my books on the subject: