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The Ithaca College London Centre

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Posted by Claire Mokrauer-Madden at 11:15AM   |  Add a comment

Bill Sheasgreen, London Center Director of long standing, has been to Bath more times than most of its visitors.  Not to make too direct a comment on his age, there are rumors that he helped build the baths themselves.

Claire Mokrauer-Madden: Hi Bill!  It's been a while since we last caught up.  I hear you're just back from Bath?

Bill Sheasgreen: Yes, I was there last weekend.  It's one of my favorite destinations.  Though I have cut back to only going twice a year, I always look forward to it.

CMM: Ok.  That's nice.  What I'm more interested in is dispelling rumors-

BS: It wasn't me.  Heather or Sarah did it!

CMM: I'm not sure what you're referring to, but that probably isn't the answer.  No, the rumors that you have a long standing history with the Baths.  Possibly even an ancient history?

BS: Yes, that's correct.  I go way back the Bath, Heather and Sarah don't.

CMM: Is it true that you helped build the baths?

BS: Which incarnation do you mean?  Mostly I can give yes as a blanket answer to that question, except I had nothing to do with the Georgians.  John Wood the Younger and I didn't get on.  It has to do with a dispute at Cambridge that I won't bore you with.

CMM: Yes, it's best that way.

BS: However, I did work with the Romans, and the Celtic Brythons (or CB's, as they like to be called).  Let's not start a game of Guess-Bill's-Age, all I'm saying is that I'm pretty excited about the Y's dinner menu for seniors.

Senior Citizen Specials...

CMM: To what extent did you work with the CB's and the Romans?

BS: Before gaining enough world experience to pursue a career in academia, I was a brick layer.  There's a little known fact about me.

CMM: Indeed, I wouldn't have guessed you have a bricklaying background!

BS: Yes, it was the family business, and I was very good at it.  But I didn't work with the CB's in the capacity of a bricklayer.  I was a devotee of Sulis and had the responsibility of washing dishes in the spring water for our community.  It was a real honor, and to this day I'm very good at washing dishes.

Talking shop about washing dishes

CMM: That's true, I can commend you as a dishwasher.  You seem to have an affinity for fellow dishwashers when hiring faculty.  Is that where your bias comes from?

BS: I hope it doesn't appear as a strange form of nepotism, but seeing dish washing experience on a CV wins a candidate points in my book.  I also look for synchronized swimming as a hobby of job applicants.

CMM: Is that why you hired me?

BS: It was a factor.

CMM: Back to the baths, how did you go from washing dishes to working with the Romans?

BS: The changeover was pretty easy.  It was clear that Sulis and Minerva were incarnations of the same deity.  The Romans told me I could keep my dish washing rights in their new temple if I helped them build it as a brick layer.  It was one of the easiest yes answers I've ever given in my life.  Since then I've been taking students back to see my handy work.  I try to be humble about it all, but I really am very proud.

CMM: As you should be!  Thank you so much for not letting me interview you!  It's a pleasure making up what I think your side of these surreal conversations should be.

I made this!

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