Harriet Nottingham recalls a whole year when she did not talk on the phone.
She almost gave up on pharmacy school at West Virginia University because of a required public speaking class.
Yet Nottingham, 68, and a pharmacist at the Bridge Road Rite Aid, says many of her friends have no idea of those fears or why she had them.
Nottingham has a stuttering disorder.
"My friends will be shocked to hear this, because I talk all the time," said Nottingham, laughing.
In publicly acknowledging that she has had problems with stuttering, Nottingham joins the ranks of some pretty famous stutterers, including singer Carly Simon, actors James Earl Jones and Marilyn Monroe, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and as those connected with popular culture now know, King George VI of England, father of the current Queen Elizabeth.
The film based on King George's stuttering problem, "The King's Speech," shows how his work with an unorthodox Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue helped the king learn to speak in public and give a famous speech at the start of World War II. The film is up for 12 Academy Awards Sunday night.
Nottingham said she can identify with the king (played by Colin Firth). And while she did not get intensive therapy as the king did with Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), she did seek ways to overcome stuttering and the fear of speaking in public situations.
Despite Nottingham's year of not speaking on the phone earlier in life, she now has a job that requires a lot of time on it every day, along with constant communication among fellow pharmacists and customers.
Though her daughter, Nell Miller, is a speech therapist for Professional Therapy Services Inc. in Charleston, Miller says it's not because she grew up aware of her mother's struggles.
In fact, she cannot recall hearing Nottingham stutter.
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