Sherry-Go-Round: Acquaintance’s life motivating
by Sherry Kughn
Oct 29, 2013 | 2087 views |  0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A friend told me last week about an interesting program on National Public Radio. A woman named Trisha Coburn performed for The Moth, a live storytelling venue. Trisha’s story is about growing up poor in Anniston.

From the past, I remembered a girl named Trisha Mitchell from Norwood Elementary School who went on to become a famous model. After I spent a few minutes on the Internet, I discovered that Coburn is Trisha’s married name.

According to her website,, Trisha moved to New York City when she was 18 years old; worked for the famous agency, Wilhelmina; and modeled for 11 years. Then, she married, raised a family, and pursued many interests.

At this point in her life, Coburn is an artist, an interior decorator, a businesswoman, and, now, a writer and storyteller.

Her story, which listeners can hear at, is a sad one of a child raised in a large family of children by a mother who liked the bottle and men too much. In a stroke of good fortune, an Anniston businesswoman, Macy Harwell, once spotted Trisha when she worked at a local theater. Trisha was tall and beautiful. Harwell, owner of a local charm school, gave her the one thing all children need – encouragement.

As I read Trisha’s biography on her website, I remembered reading accounts in The Anniston Star of Mitchell’s growing-up years. One story is about how she first realized she liked the attention of an audience when she attended what was then Norwood Baptist Church. I forget if she quoted Bible scripture during Vacation Bible School or sang a song, but the experience made her want to grow up and be noticed. Eventually, she achieved that goal on a national stage.

Mitchell’s performance on The Moth is delivered in a Southern voice. She tells of her family’s hardships, her determination to overcome adversity, and her adoration of Mrs. Harwell. Listeners will both laugh and cry as she speaks.

After I updated myself about Trisha, I posted a couple of comments on her website. I hoped I could talk with her and perhaps interview her for this column. According to her blog, though, she has just returned from Europe and may not be available just yet. However, I would like to talk with her in the future and find out if she has written a book. If not, I would think her interesting life would make a good one.

As a child from the Norwood community, where I also attended the same Baptist church, I am always proud of the success of many of my childhood friends and acquaintances. I vaguely remember Trisha, but I never knew of all her struggles. Her achievements make me especially proud.

As a teacher of teenagers, I hope I can encouragement students who need a helping hand along the way and perhaps help them form a vision of how successful they can become.

As a woman, I take inspiration from Trisha’s life story. It is important to keep developing new skills and talents and to share the truths of our lives through words – my favorite medium.

As a writer, I surely hope that Trish will continue sharing her story, especially with those of us from her hometown. Her friends and teachers would enjoy learning more about her latest accomplishments.

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Sherry-Go-Round: Acquaintance’s life motivating by Sherry Kughn

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