Literary Nonfiction. California Interest. MARK TWAIN'S 88 DAYS IN THE MOTHER LODE uncovers a long-neglected portion of Sam Clemens' life with a crucial turning point that made him famous. His transition from an obscure regional writer into a nationally known humorist is portrayed in this historical narrative and documentation of Twain's sojourn in the Mother Lode. Fletcher uncovers the story behind Twain's escape from a tense situation in San Francisco to an 88-day adventure that did not exactly suit his fancy, but inspired and launched his career, storytelling style, and literary influence.
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James Fletcher was born in the logging community of Vernonia, Oregon, in the heart of cool and rainy Douglas fir country. He graduated from Vernonia High School and attended what is now Western Oregon University, receiving his education degree in 1966. He came south in search of sunshine to teach at Turlock High School where he met and married his wife of 35 years, Sandra Neubauer Fletcher. In 1972 he took a position as Vice Principal at Roosevelt Junior High School in Modesto, California. He moved to La Loma Junior High in 1988, and returned to the classroom as an instructor of 7th grade social studies and language arts where he remained until his retirement in 2005. Jim has two sons—Eric, who lives in Modesto—and Robert, living in Oakland. His first wife Sandra passed away in 2004. The family loved the mountains and spent many winters at Bear Valley skiing, hiking, and enjoying snowy or sunny days. Every summer they spent a week at the Ridge Tahoe, a place he still loves to visit today. For him, like Mark Twain, there is something energizing about mountain country and lake vistas. Jim married Kristin Cromwell in 2006 and they reside in Angels Camp, California. He was a docent at the Angels Camp Museum for many years and helped put the pole barn and hard rock mining exhibits together. Jim loved to talk to groups of kids and adults about geology, gold panning, and hard rock mining. Now, he loves spending wonderful days leading tours of the North Grove of Calaveras Big Trees State Park, just up the road on Highway 4. As "Miner Jim" he continues his weekly programs at Camps Restaurant, sharing the life of Mark Twain and those very special 88 days he spent on Jackass Hill.Author City: ANGELS CAMP, CA USA