What's your story?

I find myself asking people this all the time.

Little known fact: I started my career as a newspaper reporter. I've always had a column which is an old-fashioned word for blog. Here I am today writing my first blog for my own website, Annie's Barn. I've been a writer all my life. Before coasters. Before signs. Before newspapers. Before high school journalism class. Before my junior English teacher said "write, Stowe." It was 8th grade when I started writing. To process the things that were happening in my life after moving to a farm. Those never-opened journals are in my basement today. 

Joy. Pain. Loneliness. Middle Effing School about pushed me over the edge. I knew I was different in the deepest sense of the word. I didn't fit in. I fought back. Today is not the day for me to write that story.

What's my story? I grew up on a farm in Kansas. I got a pony for my first birthday. I was blonde haired and brown eyed and a firecracker born on July 15th. I always had a snarky comeback (yes long before snarky was a word). I was the oldest grandkid. The oldest kid. The first to drive in the pasture in grandpa's truck. I loved my grandparents more than is reasonable. I idolized them.

My grandpa got wound up one day about getting the hay up before a storm and collapsed of a heart attack on a hay wagon. My little brother had to desperately drive his body back across the creek and pasture to the house where they would call 911. But he was gone. I was living back in Kansas by then. I left the newspaper in downtown KCK that and drove to Topeka. By the time I got to the second hospital, my family had left to go home. We didn't have cell phones then. I had driven that entire way full of hope. It had been too late before I'd even left but I didn't know that. It changed me forever.

After going to K-State and getting my degree in, what else, journalism and mass communication, I went to Texas to work for a weekly newspaper. The owner of the newspaper bought a second paper and asked me to run it. It was in a little town called Frisco, Texas... maybe you've heard of it. It was NOTHING at the time. 

So yes, we moved to Texas after college. Partied hard away from the family and friends we knew. Had our freedom without running into someone we knew at the grocery store or god forbid somewhere more embarrassing. And then we were held up in a bad area of town. Suddenly it seemed dumb to be wasting time away when my grandparents, parents and family here were aging. I came out to my mother by phone and we packed up and came home to KC. 

I started writing for the newspaper in the "women's section" in KCK. Food section. Lifestyle. Religion. Dear Abby. Weddings. Engagements. PEO meetings. It was boring as hell but it was work. Then... someone thought maybe we should get our TV listings by this thing called an virtual bulletin board. We would use servers and a modem to "dial" in and type in some codes. Long story but I figured that out. It was before browsers. That was my golden ticket out of the newspaper business.

I went to work for Sprint in their entrepreneurial unit. My first job was working on Disney and Kodak. Big effing change.

When our daughter was born in 1997, she had a web page on yahoo. I mean that was a big damn deal. I got her own email address at yahoo thinking that would be a thing. I know it doesn't seem like a big shebang now, but being able to load photos and share them in 1997 was pretty cool. Fast forward to our son being born a few years later. I had left Sprint.com (where I was hated for being the HB of the mothership) and gone out to launch a start up with some other badasses from KC. I was asked to do impossible things and we did our best. A year later the dot would bomb as they say, and I stayed home with our son to figure out my thing.

I launched Annie's Barn in 2012. 

That's a story for next time. 

Grab your boots or your bunny slippers for our next installment.




Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson said:

You have had an amazing journey to where you are today. I am blessed to know you. Keep up the good work.

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