At the Hemingways: A Family Portrait

At the Hemingways: A Family Portrait

At the Hemingways: A Family Portrait

At the Hemingways: A Family Portrait

Excerpt

In the Autumn of 1940, shortly after the publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls, I was on a lecture tour in the Middle West; and at Oak Park, Illinois, where I was to speak about the importance of some of the new books, I gave first place to the Hemingway novel. I was unaware of the fact that this was the novelist's birthplace, and at the conclusion of my talk it was something of a surprise when the chairman introduced me to Mrs. Hemingway, Ernest's mother, a tall, white-haired, imposing figure. Mrs. Hemingway said that she was glad to hear that I was such an admirer of her son's work, but as we talked it was not quite clear to me whether or not she had read his latest book.

Some years later when I was speaking at the Town Hall in Detroit I had an agreeable meeting with Hemingway's older sister, Marcelline Hemingway Sanford; I sat beside her at the luncheon which followed, and it was there that I got her talking about her parents and their family life at Walloon Lake, Michigan, where they had their summer cottage, and about Oak Park, where she and Ernest had graduated from high school in the same class. Her description of her doctor father, rugged, dark-haired, and so fond of hunting and fishing, and of her talented mother, whose . . .

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