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Showing posts from 2017

A Merry Christmas, Mr Hemingway - A Short Story

The snow lay deep and crisp and even. In fact it wasn't that deep, or crisp, and after the morning's shelling by a couple of German 88s it was very uneven indeed, and in places, many places, still  crimson from the battering the US 4th Infantry Division had been taking over the last few days.
But at least I'm still alive, thought a shivering, exhausted Private Ernie Miller, even if I'm freezing to death in this cesspit of a foxhole that any self-respecting fox would have given up years ago. But Captain Cotton says it'll soon be Christmas, so things can't get much worse can they?
They got much worse almost immediately when those same two 88s, plus a couple of their Krupp kameraden, opened up with an accuracy that Ernie had to admit was pretty good, for Krauts. Several shells landed within a few feet of his foxhole as dozens of others in the forest took direct hits. Trees were split in half, or completely uprooted in the ferocity of the barrage, and the screams of …

Mr and Mrs Hemingway - Christmas 1945 and getting Married

Christmas 1945, with Hemingway now officially divorced from Martha, was an emotional watershed for Hemingway and what he called "...the cooling-out period from the bumps and rigours of the war."
He seemed to have found a new source of energy, and was eager to spread the legend of his wartime exploits. He publicly announced that General Lanham was one "...of the finest, mostskilful, and most intelligent infantry officers he'd ever known." Hemingway was also quick to suggest that he'd been at Lanham's side during the weeks "...of the bitter fighting in September, November, and December of 1944."
Christmas was a quiet affair that year with Ernest, Mary, and Jack exchanging presents, drinking beer, and singing carols sitting on the terrace in the hot, clear sunshine of Cuba.
Hemingway was also working well on his new novel about his artist invention Thomas Hudson, who was really Hemingway. Everyday Hemingway wrote at least 1,000 words standing at his…

Hemingway and Pelkey 'take' the 'City of Stoves', then Hemingway Goes on Holiday to Mont-St-Michel - 1944

On the 31st of July,1944, at Villebaudon, Hemingway acquired a captured German motorcycle and sidecar (plus a badly shot up Mercedez-Benz convertible).
And a driver – courtesy of Barton – called Pelkey.
Private Archie Pelkey, known as 'Red', was a 29 year old cigar-chewing grade school drop-out from Potsdam, New York. As his nickname suggests he had red hair. He also had sharp blue eyes, and a broken front tooth. Pelkey had already done two stints in the regular army before the war and hated military discipline. Hemingway ignored military discipline completely, which suited Pelkey down to the ground. By the time Hemingway and Pelkey split-up some months later the New Yorker was under the care of an army psychiatric unit. Many years later Pelkey died in front of his TV set drinking beer. It would be two days before they found his body. But on July 31st 1944 'Red' Pelkey was the first recruit of Hemingway's private army, with their opening offensive starting just thr…

Hemingway, Mary, the Ritz, and Life in Paris, 1944

Oblivious to the courts martial he would face just a few weeks hence, Hemingway couldn't believe how, after four years of German rule Paris showed few outward signs of change. It was as if the City of Light had existed in a time capsule, which it had in effect, with the Allies and the German's agreeing not to bomb or shell the city, or at least no more than was necessary.
Life in Paris had gone on pretty much as usual between 1940 and 1944, with The Moulin Rouge, and the Folies Bergere, along with most of the other clubs, bars, and restaurants - plus the swank stores and boutiques - open and doing good business. Think of London, New York or San Francisco and ask yourself what they might have done in the same circumstances. International French singing stars such as Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, and jazz musician Django Reinhardt, had decided to remain in the city and perform in front of German audiences. Contradictions on every corner, in every home.
Chevalier found it a hard c…

Hemingway Finds His Band of Irregulars - World War II

A week after his holiday at the Hôtel de la Mère Hemingway and Pelkey - this time in a commandeered jeep, and on official reconnaissance business for Lanham -  found themselves on the outskirts of the town of Maintenon, half way between Chartres and Rambouillet, some twenty miles
south west of Paris. Here they located the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the 5th Division of the US Army resting in a patch of woodland. Hemingway asked a young lieutenant what news he had of any advancement toward Paris. The young officer knew very little - although he'd heard rumours that his own company was about to be replaced by one from the 7th Division - and directed Hemingway to a regimental outpost near Épernon, just a few kilometres closer to Rambouillet.
When Pelkey and Hemingway reached Épernon they encountered a bunch of irregular French fighters, under the command of a tired looking man called Tahon Marceau. This '..fierce looking bunch' of young men were stripped to the waist in the Aug…