One of the duties of every staff person at Fort Frederica, paid or volunteer, is to give a town talk. Whenever anyone has trouble walking, we offer a golf cart tour. We drive the quarter mile to the fort in the golf cart, giving a tour as we drive. We also offer two walking town talks per day for visitors. So the first thing we had to do when we started here was to write our town talk and get it approved.
I wrote my town talk the first week, while Tom took a little longer to put his together. I focus on the people in the town, trying to make them seem real for the visitors. After I got my town talk approved, I had to wait a couple of weeks for anyone to be around at the time I gave it. Finally, last week, I was able to give my first talk.
Now that it is February, we offer two town talks every day. I didn’t know about this change in schedule until I was out picking up trash along the road yesterday, and Tom called me to tell me it was time for my 11 a.m. town talk. Since I was still half a mile from the Visitors Center with a bucket of trash and a very dry throat, I told Tom to give the talk. His town talk was approved Tuesday so he was ready. I gave the afternoon town talk. Today I got to give the morning and afternoon talks.
Tom did a golf cart town tour yesterday. Most of the time, golf cart tours are about 30 minutes long. We don’t want to tie up the golf cart when other guests might want a tour. Tom’s tour was over an hour! He said the people were just so interested and asked so many questions! I’m sure they were. He is an excellent teacher.
During my town talk we walk along Broad Street. We look at the foundations of houses and talk about the people who lived in them: their motivations and how they got along with others in town. We have very good archaeological evidence of professions and economic status. Journals and court records from the town give us first person accounts of relationships and interactions. My town talk generally lasts about 45 minutes, at which point I always feel like I’ve talked enough!
Are you traveling to Georgia this spring? Stop by Fort Frederica National Monument and let me tell you about the town!