I was born in the mountains of southwestern Virginia and, except for two years in my 20’s, always have lived in a small town. My parents and grandparents were loving and encouraged me, as did my community and church. I have two sisters. I developed diabetes when I was eleven and have worked hard to take care of myself and achieve my goals. I attended public school, college, and graduate school. I taught high school for 34 years. I married my high school sweetheart and we adopted two foster children. Today I am still married and I retired three years ago. Whenever I travel away from southwestern Virginia, people make fun of my accent and sometimes think I am not as bright as I am because of where I come from.