people learn that I'm from England, they always seem to want to know where
I'm from, where I went to school, how I came to the U.S., where my family
is, and so on. So, here it is folks. Details (some), pictures, and links
for the truly dedicated! Enjoy. . . .
I grew up
I was born in
Shottermill (which is near Haslemere
in Surrey, in the south of England), to Frank Jamieson and Daphne Jamieson,
née Game (and, no, that isn't the name I give to credit card companies
in case you wondered!). When I was four we moved to a council house (the
English version of a housing project) at Hammer Hill in Lynchmere,
West Sussex . My mother now lives in Haslemere, near to my brother, Ric,
his wife, Jane, and their children, Thomas
My sister, Nikki, lives on Guernsey, which is in the Channel Islands.
I attended Camelsdale
County Primary school, now called Camelsdale
First School, (from age 4), then Easbourne Intermediate School
-- a brand new open plan school where they tried educational experiments
like letting girls take woodwork instead of home economics, and inviting
everyone to spend all day in the library on Fridays if they felt like reading!
After that came Midhurst
Grammar School (which wasn't a Grammar School by then) where cool
teachers included Dave Russell (Geography), Evelyn Abrams ("Miss Abe.")
who taught me to love literature, and Mr. Austin (who assigned Eric Hobsbawm
to his history class).
the University of East Anglia (UEA)
Norfolk, from 1978 to 1981 (they had 3 year BA's back then) in the School
of English and American Studies (EAS) -- whose program looks very different
now. For my B.A. (hons. in English and American Literature) I took papers
in philosophy, American lit., English & American drama, English lit.,
and English & American poetry.
to 1989 I attended the State University of New York at Binghamton
(Ph.D. '91), where I had a teaching assistantship in the English
Department. Along with being the secretary of the Foreign Student Association,
sitting on the Graduate Senate and the Graduate Council, and being president
of the Graduate Student Organization, I was also state-wide secretary for
the S.U.N.Y. Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU)-CWA 1180, and a local
organizer (the GSEU didn't hold certification elections until 1992).
Since I was
13 I've worked on farms, in every type of store, bar-tended, looked after
too many kids, waitressed, worked in a plastics factory, secretaried, and
done telephone sales. At 18, I left home and moved to Brighton
(check out "postcards" if you follow this link!) to work at the University
of Sussex as a library
assistant. Finally I went to college, and after graduation I worked for
Debenhams PLC as a department manager, completed management training and
qualified as an Industrial Instructor. But I hated it, so I went back to
school again, and I've never left!
I was a writing tutor in the Campos-Robeson Tutorial Center (named after
Pedro Albizu-Campos and Paul Robeson by the students who founded it), a
TA for various courses, and advisor to newer teaching assistants. When
I was a tutor, Rosie Rodriguez taught me how much I love teaching when
she learned to use commas correctly and promptly burst into tears, and
the rest is history.
I had a non-tenure track position in the Dept. of Interdisciplinary Writing
at Colgate, during the time when the Interdisciplinary Writing Program
gained departmental status, but before it was systematically dismantled
like so many stand-alone writing programs.
In 1993 I
accepted the job as Director of Composition at Drew
University, back in
an English department
again. I live in North Plainfield, NJ, with Walter Jacobsohn and my four
In spring 1998 I was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor at Drew
(thanks to everyone who cheered me on and up during that process!!)
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The mill house in Shottermill, where I spent my first
four years (in the upstairs flat). The mill wheel used to be on the side
of building to the right, under which the river still runs!
Haslemere, Surrey (that's the town hall stuck on
the island in the middle of the street behind the Christmas tree).
Midhurst Grammar School (MGS), in Midhurst, West
Midhurst public library. Midhurst is full of old
buildings including Cowdray Castle--what's left of it--and Midhurst Grammar
While teaching at Colgate, I lived in Norwich, NY.
Here is the view I had from the back of the house I rented (the pond is
to the right of this field, but the tree line ran along the whole horizon).
It was a great place to write!
BTW: The Norwich in England is pronounced noridge
porridge) while the Norwich in New York state is pronounced nor-witch.
So now you know. Norwich, England is known as "a fine city," while Norwich,
NY, is a very little town (and is named after Norwich Connecticut, anyway!)
This is the public toilet at the top of Wey Hill,
Haslemere (the sign says "Ladies" for all you Lacan fans). And the point
of this picture is to boast that even our "public loos" are older than
most buildings folks tell me are "old" in the US . . .
This is me ("wall" puns are intentional, of course).