Why write a memoir?
Adam Jones, Bangor, Maine
I wanted to capture the way things were in midcentury America in a small town in the Rockies. We were the heirs to the optimism of the pioneers, who believed that if they kept going, it would be a better day.
Historically, people went west for opportunity. What lures people west now?
J.B. Tarter, Twin Falls, Idaho
The beauty of the land. It's wonderful to wake up under clear blue skies that stretch from horizon to horizon. There is an openness in small towns. You look other people in the eye.
What are the advantages of growing up in small-town America?
Kristen Thoen, Woodbury, Minn.
As I was growing up, my mother worked for the police department, and I think every patrol car in town was following me. I think that's a symbol of how the community as a whole watched over children. And in a small town, everything you did was noticed. If you won an award, your picture would be in the paper right alongside John Foster Dulles.
Is there a defining moment in your childhood that made you who you are today?
Glen Hoffmanbloomington, Minn.
It's not a moment, I think, but people. If there's a central character in my book, it's my mother. She was determined that there would be no limit on my aspirations. My father made sure that I understood that even if I brought home an A, somehow I was expected to do better next time.
Do you think America's moral compass has changed significantly since you grew up?
Victoria Hiatt, Aurora, Wis.
I think it's become a lot harder to raise children. When I was growing up, the culture was much friendlier. Drugs weren't an issue, and there weren't the sexual pressures on the kids in high school that there are now. Parents have to work against the culture to raise wonderful kids.
It seems like lots of kids would rather turn on the TV than read. What can parents do to change that?
Gilian Keller, Newton, Mass.
Parents have to be in charge. TV should be a treat, not something kids watch from the moment they get out of school until they go to bed.
Does the negative press about your husband affect your personal relationship?
Nicholas Tiffin, Bogotá
It's fairly easy not to let it bother you if you know that what you're doing is the right thing. If you have a place you want to go and you go there with determination, then that's when you're criticized. It reminds me of a saying we used to have in Wyoming, which is, Dogs don't bark at parked cars.
As a historian, how do you think this Administration will be portrayed in history books?
Lauren Palumbowest Long Branch, N.J.
When I think back to 9/11, no one thought that we would be six weeks or six months without another attack. The fact that we have been safe for six years is not an accident. History will note the determination with which the President and Vice President pursued a path to keep the nation secure.
How did you meet your husband?
William Garcianew Canaan, Conn.
Dick asked me out when we were both 16. I couldn't resist. He had a crew cut, and he was a football player. He didn't talk a lot, but when he did, everything he had to say was interesting. That was the beginning, and it's now 50 years later.
What will you do on Jan. 21, 2009, when a new Administration takes over?
Joel Boon, Davenport, Idaho
I will get a cup of coffee, make myself comfortable in a big leather chair in our Wyoming house and look out at the Tetons. To sit and look at them reminds you of the long term. That's good to be reminded of.
For more from Cheney and to subscribe to the 10 Questions podcast on iTunes, go to time.com/10questions