Married to the Maya
"To my wife, who took part in every phase of this project from the time we first climbed the stairway of a Maya pyramid in 1958 to the final typing of the manuscript."
George Andrews composed this dedication to Maya Cities: Placemaking and Urbanization in 1975, but that was scarcely the beginning of his and Gerrie's journeys through the Maya lowlands. George and Gerrie's research on Maya architecture was central to their life together. Gerrie attended nearly all of the trips, and their son, Alan, even joined them a few times.
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Sometimes Gerrie loved their work: On December 10, 1973, she wrote in her journal, "Sleeping at Uxmal next to the ruins is a real thrill. The sky is filled with stars and unbelievably beautiful—moon too." On March 2, 1981, we see a similar theme: "The sky is filled with stars and we feel in touch with the ancient Mayas." But by April 27 of the same trip: "Today I don't care if I ever see another site…It was hard for me not to spout off how tired I am of the situations George gets us in."
In a 1981 article in their hometown newspaper, the Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon), Gerrie predicted that their trips to the Maya lowlands would come to an end soon, since "George has enough material on the architecture of these areas to write forever."
However, George corresponded often with Mayanist friends, who excited him with stories of their expeditions and updates on recent excavations of various sites. George couldn't resist the temptation and convinced Gerrie to go again in 1993. A letter George wrote explaining why he needed to go back and pages from Gerrie's journal from that trip are included in the gallery. Additionally, Gerrie made audio recordings of the journals she was not able to type—follow the links to hear an introduction to the journals and explanation of their research and a sample of her musings on their site visits.
Photos of Gerrie on site in particular illustrate her deepening role in their research. On their first trips, she wears dresses; by the last, she's suited out in pants, long-sleeve shirts, boots, and hats. In the 1960s, she is seen simply standing with other workers, but by the 1970s, she is photographed emerging from crawl spaces and atop ladders. Documenting Maya architecture was a labor of love for both George and Gerrie Andrews, one that brought a truly unique dimension to their marriage.