Mrs. Callison was my high school English teacher, and might have actually ended up planting the seed in me to get through college. She was a short, outspoken lady, as old as my own mother, in the decade before her retirement. She intimidated many of my peers, saying she carried a green bean can in her purse, to weigh it down for protection. Then she'd "thwack" it onto the desk or table and the whole class would jump, laughing with her, but still shocked by her way of being larger than life.

I once found an old journal that seemed to say I didn't actually want to go away to college. But it ended up being what I was determined to do. In high school, my diary entry said "I wouldn't mind living at home my whole life with a row of children nursing on my teats like puppies." The heart of my expression seemed about not wanting to go away and explore, and college was at the core of my thoughts that era. It was assumed I would go. It's funny how, the turning point for our mental processes often can be something someone says to us that we take to heart.

What Mrs. Callison said was a good reason to go to school away changed my whole opinion. She said we grow up the person our community and family expect us to be. Going to college, according to Mrs. C. is a place to become who we really are and it's interesting because for so many that's the only way to know what that will be. So I wondered, was I more than the daughter of Adrianne and Errol and the little sister of Anna, Joey, Jay, and Dani? I knew I was independent and my own person, but it was the craving to know exactly who I was that kept me trying and trying, 12 years for a degree.