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Showing posts from 2012

Ernest Hemingway Fights Germans, adopts a Dog and a Cat, and Helps Michael Arlen, late 1930s and '40s

Ernest Hemingway put down the volume of Zane Grey he'd been reading. Well, in truth, he hadn't really been reading it, just turning the pages. His mind had been back in New York in 1937, and Max Perkins's office, and his acute feelings for Martha Gellhorn, and the huge need he had to get into Spain and discover the sort of mess the country was in since his last visit. What a pompous bastard he'd been to think he could go as an anti-war correspondent. Who the hell did he think he was? He'd spent far too much time pretending to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal, writing for such dead-beat magazines as, The New Masses, and thinking himself some sort of latter day John Reed. But he'd done nothing to help the poor and the homeless, and the out of work, except on a very personal level in Key West, where he helped many locals with hand-outs, but most of that he realised was probably spent on booze. Unlike Martha, and Leo Huberman before her, he'd not even tra…

Ernest Hemingway starts Islands in The Stream and Invites Buck Lanham and his Wife to Cuba, 1945

All Ernest Hemingway can see and hear is the death and destruction of the war. But he's looking at it as if it were a film, seeing himself as if from the back row of an empty cinema, and the film looks like one of those documentaries. He sees himself looking at the camera and smiling, but it's not really the camera he's looking at, no, Hemingway is looking at himself. And for a brief moment Hemingway knows, one day, he's going to shoot himself.
And with that thought Hemingway starts to cry, but there's no one to hear or see him. With Mary still away he's given the staff the day off. He pours himself a drink, not a big one, just a taster. He feels better as he climbs the stairs of the tower that overlooks the Finca, opens his writing book, takes a pencil from an old tin full of pencils, and writes:
Islands in the Stream. A novel
And for three hours without a break Hemingway leans on his sloping writing board and scribbles away with pencil after pencil until he has…

Ernest Hemingway Waits for Mary and Does Some Reading - Cuba 1945

Mary's first obligation on arriving in the US was to go to Chicago to see her elderly parents, and explain she was leaving Noel Monks so she could marry Ernest Hemingway. Ernest listened to Mary explain all of this over the telephone and then told her he couldn't possibly wait another two weeks before he saw her.
"I'm sorry, sugar, but I have to go and see the Elderlies, and explain. I really do.”
“ Sure, sure. Of course you do,” replied Ernest. “ Look I'll spend the time getting properly shipshape and Bristol fashion. All the folks here are looking forward to meeting you, and I've described you to them and they think you're real swell. And I've cut back on the drinking, not a drop until lunchtime, and only a small Tom Collins before lunch, and then only a half bottle of wine with lunch. And I do feel better, and the head is clearing real swell. Honey, please come home.”
“ I will. Just a couple of weeks. I have to see the Elderlies, and put their minds at res…

Ernest Hemingway Heads Home To Cuba, 1945

Early in 1945, after hearing that his son Jack was safe in a German POW camp, Hemingway went “shopping for transport” and found space for himself aboard a Super Fortress that was leaving on the 6th March from Orly. On the morning of his departure, at around 3am, he left a scribbled note for Mary:
My Dearest Pickle:
I will love you always. I am going to get our new life together started. Every minute that we are apart I shall be truly faithful. In my heart, in my heat, and in my body.
Your Loving Husband
The aircraft stopped over in London for refuelling, and Hemingway made his way to the Dorchester to look in on Martha – she hadn't yet moved into her new home - who was in bed with flu, and as miserable as sin about her relationship with Gavin. Hemingway didn't linger, just told her to get her hair cut, and to quit smoking. Martha yelled at him to get the hell out, and threw a vase of flowers at his departing back. On the landing outside he kissed a very unsuspecting …

Ernest Hemingway and Mary Drop in on Shakespeare & Co, Paris 1944

After breakfast, Hemingway and Mary headed toward the Luxembourg Gardens where they enjoyed listened to a French military band play a selection from Carmen. Then, after a coffee in the small café under the plain trees, they headed for the rue de Fleurus, which connects with the rue Guynemer that borders the western side of the gardens. Half way up the rue de Fleurus, on the left hand side, is number 27, and here Ernest and Mary stopped and rang the bell of Gertrude Stein's apartment. There was no answer. They tried again. Still no answer. After a while an elderly lady came out of a small dress shop opposite and told them that Miss Stein and Miss Toklas, having endured the hard years of German occupation, had, on a whim so to speak, taken a small house in the country, but where she did not know.
“ Perhaps Miss Beach at Shakespeare and Company could help, no?”
Ernest and Mary made their way back across the Luxembourg Gardens, past the gallery, and, after two left turns and a right…

Ernest Hemingway Saves Mary's Life - March and July, 1946

Ernest Hemingway's head is swirling, but he can't make out if he's asleep and dreaming, or awake and in a world he can't recognise, or has forgotten.
Then suddenly he's back in Nancy, two years earlier, in October1944 - a place and time that haunts him everyday - and he's trying to kill Colonel Park, and people are dragging him off and holding him and stopping him from tearing the Inspector General's throat out; and it needs tearing out because he has to be stopped from saying these things about him, stopped from questioning Hemingway's patriotism. Stopped! Stopped! Stopped!
Oh good, there's Mary. No, no, it's not, looks like her though, but obviously isn't her because she's walked straight past, didn't even look at me. It must have been her, I know Mary when I see her, don't I? I'll go after her, surprise her.
But Mary seems to have gone. No, there she is, over there, just going round that corner. Hemingway chases after her.

Ernest Hemingway gets the Bronze Star and Some Bad News - Cuba 1947

Throughout 1947 Hemingway was in a bad way both mentally and physically. Look at photographs of the man from this time and there is a far away, dreamy look in his eyes. But the novelist and Mary pretty much had the Finca to themselves in the early part of that year and were looking forward to Ernest's two youngest sons arriving. But on a visit to their mother both Patrick and Gregory were involved in a car crash. Although Gregory recovered quickly Patrick began to complain of headaches. Soon after the boys arrived in Cuba Mary was called away to Chicago where her father had been taken seriously ill with prostate cancer.

On the morning of the 14th of April Patrick was feverish and delirious, and by the evening had turned violent. Ernest quickly turned the Finca into a hospital and his staff into a team of nurses with each of them taking turns to watch over Patrick, with Hemingway himself taking the midnight watch. On the 16th Pauline arrived and took control of the Finca, and her …

Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky

Agnes Hannah von Kurowsky was a tall dark haired girl from Washington D.C. She was a dutiful daughter and for two years stayed home and nursed her ailing widower father.
When he died in 1910 she took a job at the Washington Public Library but soon became bored and applied to become a nurse at Bellevue Hospital. She was accepted.
Agnes was kind, generous and bright, full of energy, and fond of people, she made an excellent nurse.
With America's entry into World War One in 1917 she applied to join the Red Cross Nursing Service, and in late June 1918 sailed for Europe. After some additional training in France, Agnes and her companions were sent by train to Northern Italy where they were dispersed to various hospitals.
Agnes was assigned to the Ospedale Croce Rossa Americana, at 10 Via Alessandro, Manzoni, Milano. She soon settled into the beautiful old hospital - which had once been a large family home at the time of Garibaldi's uprising - with its ivy covered stone walls and big oak…

Ernest Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald meet and Go On A Trip, Paris 1925

In Hemingway's memoir, A Moveable Feast, he describes the first time he met F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Dingo Bar on the rue Delambre where, as Hemingway describes it, "...a very strange thing happened."
As Hemingway was sitting and drinking with some "completely worthless characters," Fitzgerald came in with a tall young man who turned out to be the famous baseball pitcher, Dunc Chaplin. Hemingway was no baseball devotee and had never heard of Chaplin, but recognised Fitzgerald, and took this chance to introduce himself, which went something like this:

Ernest Hemingway's Courts Martial During World War Two

Colonel Clarence C. Park, Inspector General of Patton's Third Army, was sitting at his desk in what had been a private dining room of a small hotel in Nancy, Northern France, near the German border.
All the hotels in Nancy had been taken over by the US military, and the one Park and his staff found themselves in was an early 19th century stone building with imposing views to east and west, and a proprietor who looked after them as if they were family. Park lit a Lucky Strike and poured another cup of strong black coffee - knowing full well his blood pressure would rise as a result - and read again the order he was about to send to Ernest Hemingway:

Ernest Hemingway and World War Two

Ernest Hemingway likened the New Orleans built LCVPs (Landing Craft Vehicles & Personnel) to "damned iron bathtubs" as his own LCVP - commanded by a young US Navy Lieutenant, Robert Anderson - headed relentlessly toward the increasingly smoke-shrouded Omaha Beach as a deadly assortment of high-explosive shells (fired from the guns of the old First World War battleships Texas, Arkansas, and Nevada) screamed overhead.
As Hemingway observed the beach activity through his field-glasses the pain in his head was excruciating. It was his own fault, he knew that, but to have gone back into hospital to have the fifty-seven stitches removed, as the doctor advised, would have meant missing the invasion.
And as he watched the almost continuous explosions of shells from the battleships hitting the German positions Hemingway vowed never again to take a car ride in a blacked-out London, especially with someone whose driving skills had proven to be inferior to their drinking skills. When …