What took us to Nova Scotia in the first place was my fieldwork, on the agricultural transformation of the Annapolis Valley through the 20th century. We'd met Annabeth Doyle and Stan Shapiro at Stanford about the time of Kate's birth, and they were bound for jobs at Acadia University in Wolfville so we had some basic connections. These resulted in the offer of a spring term teaching job for Betsy in the Psychology Department, and that qualification got us through the Border and turned us into Landed Immigrants. By the end of the summer we'd found a house for rent at Horton Landing, and there we stayed until 1990.
My fieldwork was a mixture of pleasure and discomfort, and wasn't very glorious or very efficient. For about 3 years I looked at landscapes, read books and papers, talked to farmers, made maps, analyzed aerial photographs, calculated and graphed rates of rates of change... and one day as we were driving into town I saw a truck flash past and commented that Robin Lawrie must be shippin' chickens today. Betsy said she guessed I was ready to write my dissertation. So I did, and delivered the draft (by mail) on the day I had promised it to Bill Skinner. First time that had ever happened, he said.
I'll separate home and work by concentrating on Horton Landing first. This view shows our enormous garden, our house immediately behind that, the Curry farm in the background, and the elm tree at the Landing (far right edge), with the Gaspereau River and Minas Basin beyond:
A few pictures can only convey a tiny bit of the magic of the place, perched on an arm of the Bay of Fundy (the estuary of the Gaspereau River, where the tide goes up and down 35 feet twice a day), within sight of the 600 foot high Blomidon at the end of North Mountain.
Hortonville, just up the hill, was in 1972 a questionable area, home to several tribes of local bad boys. We were the second Acadia-related family (Jim and Jane Blenkhorn being the first) to move in, and once it was clear that we were prepared to be neighborly so were the bad boys.
Kent and Shel Anderson arrived in August, just in time for Shel to start teaching for a year in the Sociology Department, and Kent to teach a section of Psych 100. We shared the house for that memorable year, picking up the life of talking we'd enjoyed before they went to Bolivia. The house became a mecca for Acadia's more adventurous (not to say bizarre...) students, and the bozo pictures give something of the flavour of the carryings-on.
Kent and Shel went in separate directions at the end of the year and the house calmed down a bit and became where Kate and soon thereafter John grew up, and where our lives were really centered. Betsy didn't teach during the 1973-1978 period, but did start and tend an enormous garden ('only potato farmer with a Ph.D. I know...' said her father), quilted, pursued various other interests. Several pictures capture the essence of these accomplishments:
Friends were extremely important: Rob and Barbara Kehler, Ron and Donna Brunton, Larry Fredericks, Adrian Lewis, Brad and Judy Fulton, Bill Grace, Daniel Heikalo, Carolyn Littlejohns, Jane Cayford, Jim Tillotson, many others who shouldn't be left out. Quite a few of these connections were at least partly musical, but that side of my life and development is too complex (and too important, I guess) to do more than allude to, with the promise that I could go on at great length to anyone who is interested.
Betsy's tales are for her to tell, but in brief: she started teaching again in Acadia's Psychology department in 1978, about the time John started preschool at Little Fish, and during the 1979-80 Stanford sabbatical she worked on the Stanford Heart Disease Project and also trained for and completed the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in northern California (in 1980 and 1981). At Acadia she taught lots of different courses, most notably the graduate statistics course and Psychology of Language. During our 1986-87 sabbatical she was a Visiting Scholar at Smith College, and during that winter she trashed her knee cross-country skiing and during the enforced downtime got involved in competitive Scrabble at the Lexington (MA) Scrabble Club and became one of the top 10 players in New England, and in 1990 competed in the North American Championship.
My Acadia life centered on my teaching, and what's most memorable about that now is several courses I developed: Human Geography (sort of meta-anthropology, lots of geography and demography and ecology and primary production and so on, taught in various versions for about 15 years), Peoples and Cultures of Asia (which I team-taught with Bruce Matthews during my last 3 years at Acadia), and Cross-Cultural Studies in Music (which I team-taught with Bob McCarthy and Rob Kehler for 7 years --Betsy maintained that it was just an excuse to buy more records...). I took sabbaticals in 1979-80 (at Stanford, working on demography of pre-WWI Greater Hungary) and in 1986-87 (teaching world history and geography at Northfield Mount Hermon School).
Every year at Acadia I had a few really excellent students, but I spent a lot of time grousing about how little most of my students cared, and participated too often in the endemic disaffection of my faculty colleagues. I tried all sorts of things to inspire involvement and enthusiasm --multimedia before it was called that, computers, writing, interdisciplinary approaches-- but most of it felt very uphill indeed. The last two years I was Head of the Sociology Department, and that's what finally drove me out, via a half-time sabbatical in 1990-91. In retrospect I think I should have left Acadia many years earlier, but on the other hand it did give me the opportunity and the freedom to explore all sorts of subjects and methods, and the Valley was really home for all of us.