Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sargent Shriver, 1915-2011

Sargent Shriver passed away today after a long bout with Alzheimers.  He was the first Director of the Peace Corps and as such, I never had the opportunity to tell him how much he meant to me:
  • In 1971, unable to find a job with a BA in Spanish, the Peace Corps took me in and sent me to Carriacou, Grenada, West Indies.
  • I liked teaching Spanish on Carriacou so much that I "re-upped" after my two-year term.
  • While there, I met Willy, and married her in 1974.
  • Soon after, we returned to the US, where we had two children.
  • In graduate school in 1978, I met the person who would be my main mentor in anthropology and linguistics, and I started thinking that I could do linguistic research on Carriacou. I went back in 1979, then again in 1982-1984, 1999, 2003, and 2006.  I published on my research, including a modest book describing the English Creole spoken there.
  • Meanwhile, Willy and I had two children and (so far) one grandchild.
  • I am now in in the midst of my 22nd year as an associate professor of anthropology and linguistics.
And none of this would likely have happened, if not for the Peace Corps. So thank you, Sargent Shriver.

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