I am a native of eastern Kentucky, and know life within Appalachia well. I attended a one-room school through eighth grade - then was given the choice to continue school or get married. I went on to high school! Five months after graduating high school I was married, pregnant and working for minimum wage in a factory. My husband drove 145 miles round trip to work in construction for low pay and no benefits. We lived in a two-room house, hauled water from a spring and used an outhouse. We struggled in poverty. It is like a great black hole that keeps sucking you in deeper - almost impossible to get out. Hoping to break the grip of poverty for my family, I went to college full time. We were so poor, the government gave me money to go to school! I received a B.A. in history education and English from Berea College. While in college the professors discovered I was a folk artist of the spoken word. I did not know storytelling was an art until then. I grew up with stories that had been passed to me through the generations. Now I am a full time storyteller/educator. I do storytelling performances, workshops, and use storytelling in educational residencies that includes historical writing, drama, environmental awareness, social change and more.