A southern woman transplanted from the coalfields of Southwest Virginia to the cornfields of Northeast Indiana. I am a sixth generation Appalachian American, lawyer by trade, yoga instructor, and university administrator with celiac disease. I write about all these things.

“It is a special vanity of Southern women to believe that they are different from other American women.” ย Sharon McKern.

Whitney Caudill Bandemer


36 thoughts on “About

  1. Where in SW VA did you grow up? I’m from Abingdon originally, in CO since graduating from UVA in the ’70’s.


  2. Whenever I go home to visit my folks in Indiana mom fixes me my favorite meal: northern beans with chunks of ham, fresh green onion, spinach, fried potatoes, a baked pork chop, and fried apples. Mom is from Kentucky. This meal must have southern roots.

  3. Sorry… I forgot to mention the cornbread. Beans aren’t beans without cornbread. I mix my CB up in the beans, butter and all.

  4. Are you coming back to Virginia? The Commonwealth needs you. I just moved to Arlington, Va. from Georgia and this place is full of yankees.

    • Oh, Will, Northern Virginia is not the same as Virginia. You need to road trip through the Shenandoah Valley to the Blue Ridge Parkway and then on to SW Virginia. That is where it is at for sure. It is good to know I am needed! Thanks. SG

  5. Southern Girl, this blog is to me like the breath of air just before a Rocky Mountain thunderstorm Glad to hear that someone else though an Appalachian refugee loves and boasts the pretty of her part of America. A westerner born, I am cosmopolitan enough to know corn bread and beans (pinto, usually) is a dish fit for a king. You are worth watching.

    • Dear Howard, Thank you so much for your kind compliment. You are kind and I appreciate it. This blog is the most fun that I have had in a long time. And the beans are definitely pintos! Please keep watching and feel free to share. Take care. SG

  6. Hey there, Southern Girl. I stumbled across your site via Glenn Reynolds. You are from the mountains of southwest Va – I grew up in the mountains of northwest NC, little place called Spruce Pine. You’ve been transplanted to northeast Indiana – I live in and manage a small town in Ohio about 30 miles from the Indiana line and 12 miles from the Michigan line.

    Your “Always Better to be Sweet” reminded me of so many of the women from my childhood, especially my mother and her mother. Bless your heart!

  7. So glad I found your blog! It’s great to see NE IN through new eyes. I lived and worked in Hazard, KY for about 7 years before coming “home” and often miss the morning view -clear on the mountain where I lived but a swirly, shifting lake of fog covering everything below. Your birthday sounded just right – warmest wishes as you continue to make IN your home. Welcome.

  8. Lovely blog and outlook on life. I was a Northern Girl in the South for 8 years. It was a wonderful thing, and made me much much sweeter, I think. Now I am a country girl in a big city, and think the city is beautiful. I look forward to spending more time reading your words.

    • Paul – I found a cross road off of Route 30 and parked by the road and took my photos. I am sorry I cannot be more specific, but I did not get the road name. It is not a formal “viewing point”. Thanks for checking out my blog! SG

  9. What a lovely, lyrical blog. As a born and bred Hoosier who has only lived out of state for grad school…if the South Side of Chicago counts as out of state…I maintain an irrational love for rolling fields, barns and pastures of assorted critters. How delightful to find someone who sees the same beauties and takes the time to capture them. I wandered over here from the Hawkins Farm site and will definitely be back. (I feel like the flip side of the coin from you, as I have spent many a family vacation in the mountains of Tennessee and Arkansas, and deeply love those two states as well.)

    • Hoosier Girl – Thank you so much for coming by but more so for your comment. It made my day! I am glad to hear that you enjoy and experience that irrational love of place – home or temporary home. Take care and come back soon. SG

  10. Hey Whitney, I just came over from Bloppy Bloggers to see your site. My mom grew up in a holler in Coalwood, WV, then the family moved to Bluefield, where I visited many times while growing up in Northern Virginia. I transplanted to Chicago many years ago and even though I never lived in Appalachia, myself, I claim Appalachian roots. ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad to find your site. I look forward to following along. Actually, I think I’ve read your site before. So many blogs, so little time.

    • Hi Kate! Thanks for visiting. I am enjoying Bloppy Bloggers and am glad to be connecting with folks there. It is awesome to hear from someone who also has Appalachian roots! I grew up about an hour west of Bluefield and my brother-in-law grew up in Bluefield. It is a small small world! I am looking forward to following along with you as well. Keep in touch.

  11. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog this evening! I can definitely relate to your roots – I also grew up in southwest VA and attended UVa…but since then I have moved to the DEEP south! I spent 7 years in Atlanta and am now settled in Alabama where I literally live closer to the local cotton gin than I do to the nearest grocery store. It is so funny to me that all my friends here view me as a northerner and I struggle to explain to them the essence of my hometown and how it is so very very NOT northern, but I think they are unconvinced. I look forward to reading more – I particularly loved today’s post on motherhood (actually how I found your blog) but what really hooked me was your post on the pronunciation of Appalachia. SO so true. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Stephanie! I am glad that you stumbled upon the blog too. Thank you for commenting and your kind words. It is awesome to find someone with a similar background – there are too many SWVA/UVA combos out there, especially where I live. I am not sure what to do with people who think that SWVA is northern! Good luck with them. Come back and visit again soon. Wahoo-wah!

  12. Hi. I’m looking into moving to fort wayne area (still researching before I decide..) I was wondering if you knew if there would Paralegal jobs out there? I graduate this year with an Associates degree. I’m living in Ohio right now.

  13. I grew up in NYC, and moved to Houston, TX by the age of 26. It was an adjustment, I’ll tell you, and I guess I still don’t feel ‘All In’ after 35 years.On the other hand, I’ve visited home (Brooklyn, NY) several times over thirty-five years. The buildings are mostly there, but the people have almost all changed, The familiar stores and eateries are mostly gone, The party room where I had my Bar Mitzvah in 1964 in the back of Grabstein’s Deli on Ave. M off of Rockaway Pkwy is now a locked and sketchy-looking storage area for the sketchy-looking Chinese takeout place which now inhabits this building which is still haunted by a different era.

    Technically speaking, I find that going home again is easily accomplished if you follow a GPS coordinate to a target location, but it will never actually BE home.The people are different; the houses are different, your favorite bakeries, toy stores, hobbie shops, hangouts are all different or populated by metaphorical aliens.

    No, you really can’t go home again; not after too many years have passed. All you can do is visit a vaguely familiar but strnge country, and try to dind a different kind of home there; one which you can accept in your heart as being somehow still attached to the place you loved.

    I f you still attached to your old haunts after enough years have gone by, I envy and wish you continue to find comfort and happiness there. ~ Mike

  14. Found your blog via a link on Facebook. I think we might be twins. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I grew up in the Tri-Cities, went to college in Bristol (graduated from King in 1999), and moved to Nashville in 2002. Still miss my mountains somethin’ fierce and try to get back as often as I can to visit family. Looking forward to following your blog!

    • That is awesome! What Facebook page did you find the link on? I’ve noticed an unexpected view spike today.

      It is nice to know that I am not alone. You are in a great town, though, enjoy Nashville!

      • It was shared by one of my friends from back home. Not sure who shared it with her. But I think we are all passing it around. LOL

  15. Thanks so much for your piece in response to “the sickest town in America” article. I responded to the article myself and have the same feelings as you for that beautiful place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s