Small Talk: Letters and Chatter About Columbus Monthly

From the August 2014 edition

A City Jewel

To the editor:

During my early years of teaching at Upper Arlington High School, I was stunned to learn that one senior class president, Cameron Mitchell, would not graduate with his class. UA had never seen such an anomaly.

Previously, I had observed Cameron in the halls as he expertly organized mischief and mayhem, including clandestine parties which excited his peers much more than their college acceptance letters.

As many of the school’s adults mumbled about his unconventional behavior and scruffy appearance, I saw even then a creative and passionate teenager whose iconoclasm made waves rarely seen in the halls of this highly regarded school.

He left the school while I reassessed my dutiful and conformist early years. And then I thought of Cameron and our different strategies for success. I had succeeded by teaching students the prescriptive grammar rules but not the writing. He had “failed” because he could write, but memorizing the rules apparently made no sense to him.

I evolved, and so did he. What always linked us, though, was that passion and creativity—two qualities which subsequently guided my career and transformed my teaching and educational philosophy.

And now, Cameron has returned to Upper Arlington with Hudson 29, a monument to the courage and passion and creativity which he had once applied to his drug dealing. All these years later, we should all thank him for staying in Columbus and helping us sculpt a city which once thought the Short North was not worth saving. He soared. The city did, too. And yes, the once-grungy Short North is a city jewel. Much like Cameron Mitchell himself.

James Allen

Upper Arlington

More on Mitchell

Beth Stallings’ story about Columbus restaurant king Cameron Mitchell (“Yes Man,” July 2014) drew lots of attention from Mitchell’s friends, customers and current and former employees. “Every word is so true,” Bill Ferguson wrote in an online comment. “I have learned a lot over the past eight years mostly by just saying yes! Glad to be part of their team!” Tom Twitty wrote: “I actually trained Cameron to cook at the Cork ‘n Cleaver on Henderson Road. He is a great guy … I wish I still had the Polaroid of him in his Frankenfurter Halloween costume. Might be worth a few bucks!” And long-distance reader Robin Lynn wrote to say, “I’m reading all the way from Tampa Bay, Florida. Lived in CMH for many years. Always loved his places. What a wonderfully warm, informative, refreshing article on him! Loved every word of it.”

Going to the Dogs

The fur really flew in our photo studio one afternoon in July, when we invited four dogs in for a fun shoot spotlighting their summer grooming routines. Photographer Tessa Berg has a way with people and, as it turns out, with animals, persuading even an enthusiastic little Morkie (Yorkshire terrier-Maltese cross) to connect with the camera. Human companion Hayley Carducci tweeted this photo of Dean Martin (see him again on page 31) at the office: “My Dean Martin at his photo shoot for @ColumbusMonthly magazine! #professional #puparazzi #nofiltereverneeded.”