For our first assignment, my American Media History professor, who admits that he is a chronic forgetter of names, required us to write brief personal bios so that he could try to get to know us better. Seeing as he seems like a pretty agreeable bloke, I had a little fun with mine. Caution: Mocking of Californians contained within.
In September of 1985, I became the fourth child of Jimmy Vaughan, and the second of Michele Albouy. My older brothers range from seven to fifteen years older than me, and the oldest two grew up for the most part with their mother, whose real name, I believe, is Verna, but who has always been known to me as Bunni. My own mother elected to be known as Mike, which is slightly more androgynous a nickname, but suits her nonetheless. Mike gave birth to one more child after me, my little sister Erin. We call her Ed, which is not so much androgynous as downright masculine. Nonetheless, both my mother and my sister are actually quite feminine, albeit with an unladylike penchant for violent video games.
I was born and raised in Greenfield, MA, which is quite distant from Boston, but does not stop people from introducing me to others as being from there. While Massachusetts is a much smaller state than California, to assume that anyone from the state is from Boston is kind of like being introduced to someone from L.A., and then replying, "Oh, you're from Sacramento!" It’s always irked me, but considering I’ve had Californians ask me if Massachusetts is in the United States, I try to choose my battles when it comes to discussing my upbringing.
I attended Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA, and graduated with a degree in Communications, with an emphasis on TV and film. I minored in United States History and, truth be told, was far more interested in that field than I was in my major. Luckily, American Studies is the perfect hybrid of the theory and methods I learned as a Commie – as we called ourselves at VU – and those that I learned in my history courses. That’s why I elected to pursue my Master’s degree in American Studies at Cal State Fullerton.
After graduating, I would like to pursue a Ph. D. in either U.S. History or Public History. I’m particularly interested in the Civil Rights Movement, Colonial America, and American folklore. From a very young age, I always wanted to be a writer. I’ve also always wanted to be a tour guide, but telling people that tends to elicit a degree of incredulity that leads me to instead assert that I’d like to teach. And I would. I’d like to teach in both an academic setting, and in a walking-down-the-street-backwards-with-a-crowd-of-people-following-me setting. I’m pretty flexible about the context.
In the meantime, as I await my triumphant entry into the academic and literary realms, I’m living in Costa Mesa, exactly .8 miles from my alma mater according to Google Maps. I have a husband, who maintains the post-production facility and teaches at Vanguard, and a dog, who does little more than wander from couch to couch all day in search of the most comfortable place to be useless. I’m an Adjunct Teaching Assistant for the online program at an Iowa-based university. It provides me the means to pay the tuition at CSUF, but also makes me fearful for entering into a profession in which the incidence of students misspelling their own names on their papers is alarmingly high. Still, teaching is what I’m good at, and if I can teach just one student to correctly spell the word “definitely,” I will have done my bit for society.