As I believe Kathy Corbett mentions in “A Shared Inquiry into Shared Inquiry,” that during an interview we might get less than what we expected and more than what we hoped for – and that is exactly what happened to me right at the start. The process of my user research began with collecting information pertaining to my project, which at that time was going to cover the entire history of King City. My first interview gave me less than what I had expected in terms of timelines, events, and some sense of vision – it made me drop the idea entirely. I was, however, provided with a new perspective and a new topic that I did not hope for, the untold story of the WWII Flight School in King City’s Mesa Del Rey Airport. With each step, I was acquiring more information, but I was also expanding my perspective about the audience the King City Flight School project might reach. Many of the local, long-time residents are quite passionate about the history pertaining to the city and are more than willing to assist me in my endeavor. They are making themselves available, contacting me via email and phone, teaching me delicate details of the town and its people that I would not have ever found out without this project. It seems that there is a secret circle of people within the community who know each other and dedicate much of their time to bring this history to life. I have been teaching at the high school in King City for two years, but have not really gotten to know anyone outside of school since I do not live in town. All of a sudden, it seem that I am moving closer to the people there and instantly becoming a familiar face.
As I am slowly opening Pandora’s box (words of the archivist) – that’s how it feels diving into the archives at the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum – the material arriving at my presence seems to be acquiring overwhelming proportions. Each new discovery leads to a dozen more possibilities to consider about the flight school. Each aspect manifests in dozens of questions and decisions for the project. The flight school does not seem such a small aspect of King City, it is rather filling up proportions previously unimaginable. In addition, I am beginning to feel the weight of an enormous responsibility to fulfill expectations as the facts and stories unfold. My so far small known audience is tremendously supportive and in the same time anxiously anticipating something more whit each turn. At this point of the project, all I think about is serving and not letting down the local community because it has its eyes on me, of course in a good, generous, and inquisitively expectant way. The dialogue has begun and questions arise on both sides that move this project in unexpected directions and into unforeseen dimensions.