I was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1954, just eleven days after the US Supreme Court announced its decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case and less than a year before a fourteen-year-old boy from Chicago named Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi.
I had two older brothers, and before my younger brother was born, we had moved to Normal, Illinois. A couple years after he was born, our family moved to Bloomington, Illinois, and that’s where our baby sister, Elizabeth, was born. I attended Holy Trinity Elementary School in Bloomington from kindergarten through third grade, but at the end of third grade, we moved again, this time to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our family moved regularly after that, from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, New Mexico, then to Carmichael, California, then to Dublin, California, and finally to Tempe, Arizona. I started 8th grade at McKemy Junior High in Tempe, and our family stayed put long enough for me to graduate from McClintock High School, Tempe’s second high school, in 1972.
I attended Brigham Young University on a football scholarship, married my high school sweetheart after my freshman year, played in the Fiesta Bowl my junior year (we lost) and graduated with a degree in English and a license to teach high school English. I taught English (and coach football and track) at my high school alma mater, McClintock High School, for 10 years.
While teaching at McClintock, I attended graduate school at Arizona State University, eventually earning a masters and doctoral degress in English education. My first university job was at Himeji Dokkyo Unversity, in Himeji, Japan. In 1989, I left Japan for a position in the English department at Brigham Young University, Hawaii; and in 1993, I moved to the English department at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
My wife and I have four children and two granddaughters, and we live at the base of the Wasatch Mountain Range in Provo, Utah.