A Mended Vessel
By Pearl K. McCulloughamendedvessel@gmail.comBlog: amendedvessel.wordpress.com
This article appeared in the Monterey County Herald
Carmel writer's autobiography a story of healing
he Appalachian Mountains are where Pearl Katherine McCullough's childhood memorieswere formed. Some are as warm as her grandmother's loving embrace. Others are sohorrifying that, at age 87, she still sees them in an occasional nightmare."A Mended Vessel" is McCullough's first book and tells the story of her early years inthe remote mountains of Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina."I've been planning this book for 44 years. I had 10 boxes of notes when I finallystarted writing," says the Carmel resident. "I feel like the book has taken a great burden off my shoulders because I no longer have to worry that people will find out about me, that they'll judge me, that they won't like me. I only wrote it to let people know they can overcome their problems, whatever they are."In vivid detail, she describes her upbringing in Appalachia's dense, magical forests, anda childhood among its mountain people — unique, colorful relatives and acquaintances — who taught her about life.The book is simultaneously the story of unspeakable acts of abuse that shaped the restof her life.She was one of seven siblings, two others died, in tiny Tom's Creek, Virginia, and only6 years old when her mother summoned all the children to her bedside to say goodbye. Shetold them the story of another mother who loved her children, but had to go away and leavethem with their guardian angel.Pearl’s mother died a few days later, leaving the kids with their father, Harrison Gilbert,who McCullough describes as a harsh man whose philosophy was that girls and women brought unpleasant things upon themselves by the way they acted.