Mother, fur baby momma, gardener, herbalist, reader, researcher, coffee lover, paddler, peddler, disc golfer, entrepreneur, writer, social media nerd, small business consultant, contractor, photographer, and friend who loves the Greater Fort Smith Region that I currently call home. I also love yoga and my fur babies! Did I mention I love yoga!
I was born and raised across the Arkansas River in Crawford County. I lived most of my young life in Mulberry, AR where the population remained 1,444 for as long as I can remember. It was a big deal when the second bank was built. Oddly our existing bank president was the mayor’s wife and also ran the Little Theater. Our ball fields doubled as county fair grounds.
Just across the “mountain” from the town I lived in is where I graduated from Mountianburg High School in Mountainburg, AR. Our graduating class was so small that our senior class picture was taken with us all standing on a large rock. Our class valedictorian was also the prom queen, the class president, and the editor of the school newspaper – among many other things.
When I started taking college courses at the local community college it was a huge deal, because I moved into “town” for the summer, rode public transportation, and attended Westark Community College.
By the time I was a sophomore in High School I had already taken Freshman English and journalism was a natural fit. High School was a blur! I learned a lot about writing, editing, layout, and design. My first editorship was of The Friday Flame. Maybe I will share some of those early articles with you? Yes I still have some poked away somewhere.
When I was 18, I took the 700+ mile bus trip, via Greyhound, to visit Berea College in Berea, Kentucky and did not want to come home. Berea College was like something out of a story book in a far away land! When I was accepted and offered a place there –I wasted no time packing and moving. Many thanks to my Momma for giving me a ride and making sure I was settled in before she turned around and made the 700+ mile trip back home to Mulberry, AR.
While in Berea I took every English, journalism, sociology, psychology, and communication class that was offered in the semesters I attended, but could not find my niche. I was blessed when, then President Shinn, nominated me to participate in a pilot internship program through the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU).
I had the great honor of working for the, then, Kentucky Revenue Cabinet for 8 months, as a contract laborer, and worked on an appendix to the State of the State address for the state of Kentucky. Folks that did not work in economics or in government at that time. You should know my project took over a dozen floppy discs!
While at the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet it was my great honor to have as my first mentor and friend Dr. Chuck Martie , together we worked for the Governor’s Office of Economic Analysis. Little did I know that this internship turned contract labor position would set in motion most of my working adult life!
While at Berea I had the wonderful experience of working out of Boone Tavern. If you have not visited this gem tucked away in the Appliachian Mountains south of Lexington and Rickmond, KY then please do yourself the favor of visiting. The place belonged in Sothern Living and incidentely has been in it a number of times.
My time at Boone Tavern was especially eventful due to the fact that I worked in Public Relations for Berea College, tutored students through the Center for Effective Communications (and on the side), was a tour guide, and helped raise a lot of money for the college. It turns out that hosting people from all over the world, a little history, and a little southern charm go a long way to motivating people to see the value in such an incredible place. I also did some event planning, made friends with the locals, worked at the local Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill and a million other things. A part of me will always live in those mountains. When I left there the last time, I left a part of my heart and soul.
One particularly enriching part of being in Berea was singing in the Black Music Ensemble and traveling around the Appliachian Mountiants singing African and African-American music, as well as driving the college van and traveling with the volleyball team. Even though I trained and made the team, I was unable to play due to a medical issue, one that incidently haunts me to this day. But don’t think that stopped me for being a member of the team. I loved it! Even thought I hate running!
When I drove away from Berea College in Berea, KY I did not do so with a formal degree. For many years I grieved over this fact and felt like I was a failure, because evertying I had ever worked for my entire life was toward that goal. But know this … the education that I received both while at Berea and by having her doors slammed in my face are just as much a part of me. They are equally as important in making me into the woman I am today!
It turns out that September 11th really threw me for a loop. The way that the college chose to address that horrific tradgedy and geopolitical event went in the face of everything that I believed to be true about the school, the mission, and who they were grooming me to become! Berea’s leadership literally broke my heart immediatley following my fundamental sense of security being shaken to its very core. I still have nightmares about those days. Yes, I am human. But you could not make me change on thing!
I would be a liar if I did not admit that it took me some time to regroup. I moved back to Arkansas and took up residence in Fort Smith, AR, my current home. I took a position as a Sales and Marketing Manager for a local home furnishings store and within months was back working at Applebees, where I met the man that I was to marry and have my child with. Within less than a year we moved back to his home in Raleigh, NC. There we worked for a local swimming pool building and maintenance company that is now owned by my ex’s former best friend. Since, we lived together in Saint Louis, MO. where our son was born, in Palm Bay, Florida, in Rudy, AR, and most recently in Fort Smith, AR.
Over the years, the moves, the job changes, the socioeconomic adjustments and all the adventures some things have not changed. I still love learning. I value education above most things. It was a long journey but I have gone back to school and earned an AABA in Business and a BS in Business and Psychology, and am pursing a Masters of Science in Business Leadership.
When there is anything left, usually in the early hours of the night I enjoy connecting with the small world that I now live in and to write. Long Story Short – Annie Sells Loves Social Media and Business and I love my home in the Greater Fort Smith Region, the Arkansas River Valley and the Ozark Mountains. Pick a topic and let’s connect.
Ms. Annie Sells
- “Book: US Universities as Waste of Money” and related posts (the-savvy-sista.com)
- Ignorance by Degrees (online.wsj.com)
- Brooms, Brushes and Cleaning (homedesign.marthastewart.com)
- Even the Unthinkable Connects Us (msanniesells.wordpress.com)
- Ten totally unique U.S. colleges | USA TODAY College (usatodayeducate.com)