This blog, “Retired But Not Shy,” is almost twelve years old. During that time, I’ve put up two hundred and twenty posts, not including this one. If you go to the blog’s home page, you should notice several methods to tap into those posts.
If you’re a new visitor, though, you might not know where you’re going, and might want to get an idea of what posts are available. There are two ways to discover this: first, down the right hand side of the home page, you’ll find “Browse the Archives,” a long list of posts, in reverse chronological order, month by month, since June 2010, when “Retired But Not Shy” debuted. Do the math: that’s more than one hundred months to check!
You also can look at the list of “pages” at the top of the home page. There are currently nine topical listings of individual posts to help you find essays of interest, right? Well, sure, if you’re lucky; but what if you’re not?
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Thus, I’ve decided to introduce a new feature: “Retro-Posts.” Occasionally, I plan to dig deeply into the blog’s archives and select some earlier posts for re-posting. Let me explain.
Will these be my favorites from “back in the day”? Not necessarily. Rather, these will be posts that, in retrospect, strike me as significant. For example, in this introduction to the series, I present lightly edited versions of my very first post (can you say, “Hello, World”? Sure you can!)–and the “About” page, where I tried to explain how I came to be a blogger and something about what I hoped to achieve; both were published, of course, at the very beginning of my blogging career! (So what did I know? Not much. . . .)
As it turned out, I didn’t accomplish either of those goals completely, but, if you’re lucky, I can make amends now. . . .
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In these “Retro-Posts,” then, I hope to explore earlier stories that might easily be overlooked by new visitors trying to get a feel for the tenor of this blog. It’s always easier to start with the current posts and work back for a few months, and say, “OK, I know what’s going on here,” than it is to troll the complete Archives to determine what the blog-master has been trying to do.
Several of the “pages” on this blog probably do not need to be “publicized,” because they treat themes that have, over the past eleven plus year, drawn lots of “fans.
I’m thinking specifically of “Blues Stories” and “In Pursuit of Dead Georgians,” which have both drawn heavy traffic throughout the lifespan of “Retired But Not Shy.” It turns out that Blues fans are avid readers of posts on their favorite topics. On the other hand, my posts on Georgia history, while I’m sure they draw some Georgia history buffs, also tend to attract high school and college students each academic year who have been required by their teachers or professors to research specific topics in Georgia history as part of a school course (e. g., the “Yazoo Land Fraud,” of which I happen to be something of an authority–he said modestly!).
Yet, there are at least six other pages that, either because of the specific topic, or because of rather generic labels (e.g., “Historical Reflections,” “Teaching History”), probably seem vague to casual visitors. The remaining topics might seem at first to have more limited appeal to those who have discovered this blog (e.g., “Interdisciplinary Work,” “Prep School,” “The South/Civil Rights,” and “The Vietnam Era”), but even in those might be found some that appeal.
So, what I hope to do is to delve into those topics and select posts that I think might have broader appeal (or, in some cases, I wish had had a broader appeal when they first appeared!).
I’m not sure how well this approach will work, but I’m excited about launching “Retro-Posts” to “Retired But Not Shy.”
As always, comments are welcomed, either on the post(s), on Facebook, or via email. I hope you’ll enjoy this occasional detour down memory lane.
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The Very First Post
[Originally published, June 14, 2010]
I’m actually writing this “first post” after publishing my actual “first post” [on the “About” page–see below]. (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. . . .
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 returned 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” (intended to stifle discussion of the slavery question on the floor of the House), and he did so with such vigor and determination that southern congressmen, including the Georgians I’ve been studying for the last half century, 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 on Georgia’s political history by blogging on related topics that won’t fit the current manuscript project and “piloting” others that might 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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[Originally written, ca. June 2010; subsequently revised to include updates of post-retirement work.]
I 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: reviewing books for historical journals; giving occasional public lectures on historical topics; and publishing several scholarly articles, as well as, now, three books (see below).
Once I retired, of course, I had 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, comments to write–which I hope helps explain the “Retired” part of the blog’s title. Those of you who either know me or are familiar with the post-presidential career of my avatar, John Quincy Adams, will perhaps understand the “But Not Shy” part.
Since I retired from the classroom in June 2010, I’ve had “all the time in the world” to work on my research projects, something scholars dream about. In that period, I finished my “big book”and a collection of essays on Georgia history, both of which were published in 2015. And, as you can see, I’ve also created this blog. Hence the subtitle, “Doing History After Leaving the Classroom.”
Some of my work on Georgia history appears at “Retired But Not Shy.” I’m also interested in: the teaching of History, both in general and specifically on the “prep school” level; the history of the American South, with an emphasis on the modern American Civil Rights Movement; American popular culture; the era of the Vietnam War; interdisciplinary projects I have known (but not necessarily loved); a slew of reflections on various subjects; and the history of the Blues, the music and the people who sang and played it, placed in historical context. All of these topics also turn up here. So, browse away!
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For those interested in reading more of my reflections on history, here are links to my books on the subject: