Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

May 23, 2014

Mitchell’s latest book chronicles hometown happenings

CROSSVILLE — Indigenous is the third publication by Pleasant Hill poet and writer Jym Mitchell. He tells the stories that happened in the area where he grew up, but they could well have happened anywhere. His prose and poetry have universal appeal.

Mitchell stated, “As in my two previous books, some of these poems and stories, are based on real people and occurrences, while others are entirely fictional.”

Even so, Pleasant Hill natives feel they know the people who lived them. Fans and followers of Mitchell’s work will be able to purchase his latest book at a book signing sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Writers’ Group in the Pleasant Hill Community House on Friday, May 30, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. He will also read selections at the open mic poetry reading Wednesday, May 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Cumberland Artisans of Tennessee Studio Art Gallery inside the Crossville Mall at 228 Interstate Dr.

Mitchell has written poetry and short stories since junior high school. His first collection of poems, Dilemmas, was published in 2011 and his anthology, Simple Dreams, in 2012. Sherdie Kemmer Mitchell and her husband, Herman Eugene Mitchell Sr., were the parents of six sons and two daughters, all of whom still live in the Pleasant Hill area except David, who lives in Indiana, and Herman Mitchell Jr., who died in 1978. Mitchell Sr., before he passed away, broke horses and raised cattle on 96 acres of land on Lake Rd., as well as tending the Uplands water plant.

Mitchell’s photograph inside the front cover was taken by Veronica Fay in front of the abandoned water plant. The cover photographs are of the Fletcher/Munson cabin and Dr. May Cravath Wharton’s lakeside bench. The reconstructed arch pictured here was originally commissioned by nurse Alice Adshead and was the site of the wedding of Virginia Phipps and Denton Cole in 1936. These historic relics still exist in Pleasant Hill and would have their own stories to tell if they could.

This collection includes poetry and prose in myriad forms giving the reader glimpses into the lives of characters — sometimes sad, sometimes playful, but always meaningful. His writings are peopled with those who have passed on such as Dr. May, Ray Page (Polly Page’s husband), Sherry Treadway Smith (Smith’s store), teachers Josephine Martin and Jim England, his brother Herman Jr., his mother Sherdie, his father Herman Sr., Roger Knight, Ruth Bohrer and Belle Gunness. Some are family members, school classmates or more recently acquired friends.

Several of the selections end with a named dedication, which no doubt pleases the recipient. Mitchell’s favorite selection is “Significant Other.” The one most people seem to relate to the most is “Terror” about his 2 1/2-pound Schnauzer. One of Mitchell’s most heartrending poems is “Job Well Done.”This is about a mailbox that stood by his Grandma Kemmer’s house in Grassy Cove. His mother brought it to Pleasant Hill, where it has stood across from the family ranch/home for 55 years.

Mitchell describes the messages of hope and anticipation that have passed through its premises. Letters from girls in boarding school, boys in the service, letters from movie stars, box top prizes, “And delivered to us the world.” It has survived attacks by baseball bats, cars, animals and most recently smashed again by joy riding youth. Although rusty and dented he wouldn’t dream of replacing it.

Although Mitchell is a quiet, rather retiring man, he has read some of his work aloud at the Pleaseant Hill Writers’ Group and other events. He was asked to read his poem, “Ghastly Dream” from Dilemmas at the Upper Cumberland Jewish Community’s Day of Remembrance Ceremony in Cookeville. He has participated in the open mic presentations at the Shanks Center and with the Invisible Poets at the Palace Theatre. His books can be found at Pioneer Hall Museum in Pleasant Hill, the Homestead Tower Museum, and Duplicate, 2193 N Main St., #101 in Crossville. The Pleasant Hill Community House where Mitchell will be signing books on May 30 is on Main St. across from the Pleasant Hill Post Office. You may contact Mitchell at 277-3427 as he welcomes your questions or comments.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Thursday, May 29 — the Count of Monte Cristo by Will Rabert at 9 a.m. at Wharton’s Dougherty Home and 10 a.m. in Fletcher House. Call 248-0021.

Friday, May 30 — Pioneer Loop, Cumberland Mountain State Park Hike. Meet at 10 a.m. in the Pleasant Hill Community Church parking lot at Main and Church Sts. Call 277-3518, ext 103.

Friday, May 30 — Benefit for Sherry McCloud, LPN. Spaghetti dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Pleasant Hill Community House, Main and Church Sts. Call 277-3344 or 787-4217.

Friday, May 30 — Talk by author Jeanette Keith. Potluck at 5:30 p.m. and program at 6:30 p.m. in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House. Call 248-3165.

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