Cordell Reaves, November 20, 2020 (video)


Cordell Reaves, November 20, 2020 (video)
Cordell Reaves
David Rush
Brooklyn, New York
The Cooperstown Graduate Program
New York City
Upstate New York
Cordell Reaves was born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Reaves attended the Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP) in Cooperstown, New York. In 2002, Mr. Reaves accepted a job as the Underground Railroad Coordinator for Heritage New York, a new program formed under the New York State Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation department. Cordell has continued to work for the New York State Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation department to the present.

This interview occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the interview being conducted remotely over Zoom during a video chat. Mr. Reaves had recently completed a drive from Brooklyn, New York to his office in Waterford, New York, where he took the video call.
[START OF TRACK 1, 00:00]

Do you think you could talk me through your first week of CGP living in that trailer, what that was like?

It was very spartan obviously. The trailer was full of really old furniture, broken down furniture, so [I was] sleeping on a broken-down couch and showering in the bio field station. It was definitely a bit spartan, but it was also all okay. It was all one of those things where it was like okay this is temporary. You don't have to worry about going back and forth without a car because you're here already. So rise and shine, get your shower in, and throw on a polar fleece and stroll on into class 15 feet away. It was drafty, that I remember, and it hadn't gotten cold yet, but it was definitely a really drafty trailer. It was like wow I'm glad I'm not going to be in here in the winter. It was a little weird in the sense that it was also serving as a student lounge area. It's not like I could really settle into the space, just kind of trying to keep my space, myself, my stuff, out of the way so it can still serve its purpose as a student lounge area. People wanted to hang out in there, study in there, whatever else they needed to have access to the space too. You might want to just relax for a bit, but people are hanging out in your bedroom essentially. It was fine, and I think I tell people all the time that when they're considering making a move for their career or for academic training, it's like you can live anywhere for a couple of years and it will change you and you'll be changed by it and it'll be a new way of life you have to adjust to but you can live anywhere for a couple of years so try it, it might be something you wind up valuing. When I was there I was very homesick, I was very desirous of being back in the city and anytime that I could get myself back to Brooklyn, back to New York City, I would try to but after living upstate for so long now I prefer being Upstate, I prefer the quiet I prefer the less density of population and all those things. When I'm in New York City because I need to be, because of my family or whatever else I long to be back upstate, I long to be back in quieter spaces.

What were you doing for food while you were in the trailer?

The trailer had a little kitchen, kitchenette area so there was a microwave in there and I was pretty much living off of microwave food. A lot of microwave frozen meals, there was full size fridge, there was a stove too I think but there was some issue with the stove or I just didn't use the stove, I don't know what was going on with the stove. I pretty much just lived off of microwave stuff and sandwiches and pizza. That was pretty much the extent of my dietary spectrum back then, it was real crap, absolute crap. I actually was thinner back then but I have a better diet now I think.

I think that's going to about wrap it up though.


[TRACK 1, 05:27]
Upstate New York
Cooperstown, NY
David Rush
Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta
Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY
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