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How did I get here?

Living in south Florida, with my husband and four children in 1994, I was searching for a way to return to Newport News to help my aging parents. By chance, a friend in Virginia, knowing of my longtime (since I was 8) affiliation with 4-H clubs, called telling me of an opening for a Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent in Mathews County. I accepted the position and moved my family to Virginia.

Janet Burgess

Working in Mathews was not like work. It was like an invitation for a meal. On the sidewalk, folks would greet you with a smile and stop to share some news, asking about your family. The children would fly paper airplanes and stroll their doll baby in their carriage.

It felt like I had fallen in Andy Griffith’s backyard. But I was not able to stay in this Utopia; my family was in Newport News. Three different schools, two different work schedules, juggling child care, and lengthy commute from the Peninsula, I ultimately had to return to teaching.

Mathews County stayed o...

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