Hurley to sign books at the Red Caboose

April 1, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Former area elementary school principal Jerry Hurley, author of “Wildcrafting: Stories I Share Only with My Friends,” will read and sign books at the Red Caboose, Heritage Station, Huntington, from 1 until 3 p.m. Monday, April 1.

The author, who is also a playwright and published poet, held the principal position at elementary schools in Cabell and Putnam counties before retiring with his wife, Charlotte, to the Florida panhandle town of Apalachicola.

Hurley’s book largely recounts his growing up in and around Mammoth, Kanawha county, West Virginia. His stories evoke “images and memories so thick it was like a fog” he had to navigate. He went “wildcrafting” with his mother in hills and hollows. In the spring they gathered wild mushrooms, in late summer blackberries and in the fall they uncovered hidden patches of ginseng.

Hurley’s recollections hark up his great-grandmother, Wills-Mullins, who sold moonshine and outwitted an armed robber with her quick tongue. The author also recounts hijinks such as blocking a country road on Halloween with fellow teen pranksters until they almost stopped an ambulance rushing a patient to the hospital.

In Apalachicola, Hurley is active in community theater, heads up a group called Writers of the Forgotten Coast, and reads to kindergarten students as part of the local “Bring Me a Book” program.