Hemingway’s Final Steps: Read Eric Althoff’s article and journey

Read Eric’s Travels excerpted here. Best, Christine (some photos i added of the house and mountains.)

Tracing Hemingway’s final steps in Ketchum, Idaho

The author at the gravesite of Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho. (Eric Althoff/The Washington Times)
The author at the gravesite of Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho. (Eric Althoff/The Washington Times) more >
– The Washington Times – Saturday, October 7, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You drive for three hours from Boise, through largely empty high desert country, to come to the place where Ernest Hemingway spent his final years, and where, on July 2, 1961, he chose to silence the demons forever.

Ketchum, Idaho, is also where many of Hollywood’s elite have second or third (or however many in the ordinal list) homes. For it is said that in the surrounding Sun Valley community, they can be unbothered in a way that is perhaps not so viable in Park City, Utah, the other ski community known for the glitziness of its populace away from Tinseltown.

I am met at the Sun Valley Lodge (1 Sun Valley Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho, 83353, 800/786-8259) by Jim Jaquet and his wife Wendy, who together run Jaquet Guide Services, wherein the couple offers specialized tours of Sun Valley that include restaurants, galleries and the Hemingway sites. .

 

Interior of the Ketchum house

As we drive away from the Sun Valley Lodge, Jim and Wendy point to various homes that belong to the rich and famous. Time was when they would take pilgrims closer, but a sense of privacy now pervades in Ketchum, and so today I must enjoy the posh homes from afar.

What I can get up close and personal to, however, is the Hemingway Memorial on Trail Creek Rd., erected in 1966 by friends and family of the deceased wordsmith on what would have been his 67th birthday. The bust of “Papa” Hemingway sits in a quiet alcove above a creek bed, and at its base is an inscription:

“Best of all he loved the fall
the leaves yellow on cottonwoods
leaves floating on trout streams
and above the hills
the high blue windless skies
… Now he will be a part of them forever.”

After a quick jaunt through the heart of town, Jim and Wendy take me to a spot on the outskirts of Ketchum and pull over. Jim hands me a pair of binoculars to spy, far in the distance, the privately owned Mary and Ernest Hemingway House and Preserve, where the scribe lived in his final tumultuous years, anguished that he was no longer able to write as he once had.

As no tourists are allowed near the home (the road leading up to it is also privately run), Jim shows me photographs of what the cabin looked like when Hemingway occupied it. Eerily, the shotgun he used to end his own life is in one of the photos, which can’t help but give me a chill.

Mary Hemingway

Jim tells me that one of the accepted theories about Hemingway’s suicide was that it was brought on by depression, magnified by his decreasing ability to write to his own liking, as well as the rather copious amounts of alcohol he was known to consume. Furthermore, some have posited that both the physical and “invisible” injuries he suffered during his time in the ambulance corps during the First World War may have later reared their ugliness as Hemingway sank deeper and deeper into despair until he could take it no more.

Add to this a condition called hemochromatosis, or too much iron in the blood, his diabetes and various other problems.

The midcentury Hemingway cabin is now run by The Community Library, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today I shall get no closer.

Hem’s view while writing

It’s only appropriate that our next stop is Hemingway’s final resting place, the Ketchum Cemetery, located at 1026 N Main St. Papa’s grave is easy to find: Pilgrims leave pennies on the gravestone, as well as tributes like a half-finished bottle of Jameson today.

There’s also a journal, in which visitors can inscribe their thoughts. Not knowing precisely what to say, but knowing I must write something, I set pen to paper, allowing the ink to move me:

“One writer to another, may our language be the better angels of man. — EFA, May 14, 2017”

Friends and relatives of Papa are also interred here, including Margaux Hemingway, Hemingway’s granddaughter and a respected actress in her day. Unfortunately, like Ernest, Margaux was afflicted by depression and battled a chronic alcohol problem. She was found dead at her L.A. home July 1, 1996, the result of a sedative overdose.

Margaux and Hem’s son, Jack, Mariel on far right

Margaux was the fifth member of her immediate family to commit suicide, according to the IMDB. She is buried a few feet away from her grandfather.

Margaux’s sister, Muriel, is also an actress, and earned an Oscar nomination at the tender age of 19 for her role in Woody Allen’s 1979 film “Manhattan.” She still acts to this day.

Mariel
hem and Mary

From atop one of the lava cones, I look back to the northwest and the Sawtooth National Forest, whose accompanying mountain ranges enclose Ketchum and Sun Valley. My view from here is prosaic and inspiring — doubtless part of the reason Hemingway chose this central Idaho wonderland to try to re-stoke the artistic fires within.

It proved to be too large a task even for the glories of nature.

The house on a Hill: Hemingway’s home
 I enjoyed the article and the respect for Hemingway’s love of this area, this home, his legacy.  Best to all and hope your Thanksgiving was lovely.  Christine

Hemingway’s Last Home in Ketchum, Idaho

The house on a Hill: Hemingway’s home

Hemingway owned a house in Ketchum, Idaho at the time of his death.  He killed himself there and he was buried in Ketchum. He lived simply in that home with few adornments.

The ownership of the house after his death was gifted by his wife, Mary, to the Nature Conservancy.  It was a modest two story 2,500 square foot house which he loved.  The Nature Conservancy just transferred the house as a gift to the Community Library, a privately funded public library.  The library has indicated that an apartment in the house will be renovated for a residency program for visiting writers, scholars and artists.  The house still has many of Hemingway’s personal possessions and some will be put on display at the Sun Valley Museum of History.

Interior

Hemingway owned the house from April 1959 until his death, July 1961, at the age of 61.  The house was given by Mary Hemingway to the Nature Conservancy with the restriction that it was precluded from operating as a public museum.  The Nature Conservancy used the house as a field office before outgrowing it.  The property is 13.9 acres and while the property is worth millions, the house is “small and outdated compared with the mega mansions common in the area.”

Grave

The Carr Foundation supplied the money to make the purchase of the Hemingway house by the Community Library possible.  It appears that philanthropist Gregory Carr, who was born in Idaho and owns a home in the Ketchum area, made the donation.  Jenny Emery Davidson, who is the executive director of the library, noted that “people are interested in Hemingway but the people who have stepped up so far are people who care about Idaho.”  She also said the house is a perfect fit for the library, which has a regional history division, and is keen to promote the area’s literary icon.  The house will not be open to the public like Hemingway’s other homes in Key West and Havana, but there will be some access. (At this time people cannot enter the house in Havana but can view it from the outside.  It’s being restored and it is unclear if there will be access to the interior in time.)

Hem and Mary

Davidson noted that “we plan to treat it as a home.  Sometimes people invite small groups of people to their home.”

So time moves on but Ketchum, Idaho maintains its love and respect for the Hemingway property.

Hem’s view while writing

Hemingway Exhibit at the JFK Library in Boston

 In a post in November, 2015, I noted that the Hemingway exhibit was on display at the Morgan Library in New York City.  It has moved to Boston’s Kennedy Museum, where it will be until December 31st

Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic
JFK elected 1960
JFK elected 1960

As those of you who read this blog know, the largest exhibit on Hemingway’s writings, notes, memorabilia and displays is at the JFK Museum in Boston.  After Hemingway’s death, his widow, Mary, was permitted to return to their home in Cuba to gather up belongings and Hemingway possessions.  Fortunately, she took drafts of manuscripts, letters, notes and all that she could.  John Kennedy had been a fan of Hemingway and, after Hemingway’s death and then President Kennedy’s death, Mary and Jackie Kennedy met and agreed that the planned JFK Library would be the repository of the largest collection of Hemingway writings and memorabilia. 

Patrick Hemingway 2013 at Hemingway Collection
Patrick Hemingway 2013 at Hemingway Collection

I was able to get to the Morgan Exhibit but only briefly while I was in NY at a writer’s conference. I’ll be heading to Boston this summer to view the exhibit in a more leisurely fashion.  

JFK, Hemingway fan.

I’m particularly interested in the drafts of various endings to A Farewell to Arms.  Hemingway apparently penned forty-seven possible endings.  Eight of those are on display at the new exhibit.  I must admit to wishing that Catherine had survived along with the baby, but that’s not the ending Hemingway chose to go with. 

Patrick Hemingway, the only surviving child of Hemingway, was on hand on the opening day of the exhibit in Boston.  He presently makes his home in Bozeman, Montana.  

Jacqueline Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy

 

 

Interesting trivia:  John Kennedy wrote to Hemingway asking permission to use the phrase “Grace under pressure” in the opening of his own profiles in courage.  Hemingway agreed.  Hemingway was, however, too ill to accept President Kennedy’s invitation in January of 1961 to attend the inauguration.  During that year, he killed himself.

The real deal
In Idaho

 

Review of New Movie: Papa Hemingway in Cuba–Not too good

I am sorry to report that one of the early reviews of the new movie with Adrian Sparks as Hemingway and Giovanni Ribisi as Ed Meyers, a young journalist, was pretty sour. Beyond loving the Cuban scenery, the description of the movie as wooden is an “ouch” moment. Instead of flashing back to some of Hemingway’s allure and greatness, it sticks with his last two years, admittedly not his glory days. I would guess, given that time frame, that there is much drunkenness and fights with wife # 4, Mary. So disappointing. Below is the full review. Best, Christine

 

Review

Papa Hemingway in Cuba

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By DAN LYBARGER Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published April 29, 2016 at 1:53 a.m.

Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) can’t summon his muse in Bob Yari’s Papa Hemingway in Cuba, the first Hollywood feature filmed on the island since Castro’s revolution.

 Papa Hemingway in Cuba

68 Cast: Giovanni Ribisi, Adrian Sparks, Joely Richardson, Minka Kelly, Shaun Toub, James Remar, Mariel Hemingway

Director: Bob Yari

Rating: R, for language, sexuality, some violence and nudity

Running time: 109 minutes

Papa Hemingway in Cuba is reportedly the first Hollywood film to be shot on the island since 1959. The Almighty has blessed Cuba with captivating scenery, which belies over a century of human turmoil there. It’s too bad the people who stand in front of this scenery in this film aren’t that interesting.

In real life they might have been, but neither screenwriter Denne Bart Petitclerc, who actually knew the title character, nor director Bob Yari (better known as a producer of Crash and The Illusionist) has anything worthwhile to say about Ernest Hemingway or his time there.

Petitclerc has been dead for 10 years, and it’s easy to see why his script sat on the shelf until recently. If he had any unique insights into the Nobel Prize winner and his writing, none have made it into the final cut of this film.

As played by Adrian Sparks, Hemingway is a famous but drunken has-been. When he’s not fishing, he’s prone to bouts of paranoia and yelling matches with his wife, Mary (Joely Richardson). The writer hangs out with veterans of the Spanish Civil War and appears to have ties to the Cuban Revolution. He’s unable at this point in his 59 years to turn a blank sheet of paper into something magical.

Most of this stuff could be gleaned from a high school literature class or from listening to a barroom blowhard unable to discern truth from fiction. Without having samples from Hemingway’s clipped but often powerful prose, viewers are simply given the impression that he was an obnoxiously pompous bore who liked swimming naked. Petitclerc gives Sparks and Richardson plenty of excuses to yell at each other, but one quickly wonders why anyone ever sought these two out.

Instead of examining the author’s complicated life or re-creating the tension that surrounded the fall of Batista’s Cuba, Petitclerc and Yari decide to rehash the old cliche about never meeting your idols. In this case, Petitclerc’s stand-in for himself, Ed Myers (Giovanni Ribisi), writes Hemingway a fan letter and then hides it because he’s not sure if the note is worthy of the great writer’s time. Ed’s girlfriend (Minka Kelly) saves the letter from the waste basket and sends it to Cuba.

Much of the material seems to have been cobbled together from something that might seem more at home on The Hallmark Channel or Lifetime. On second thought, those movies are delivered with more subtlety and craftsmanship. Many shots seem stiff and clumsy, as if the only prerequisite for a successful take was that the actors were standing and breathing.

The folks behind those quickly made offerings might know better than to cast a 42-year-old as a cub reporter. It’s odd to hear Sparks and Richardson call Ribisi “the kid.”

The Revolution, which has been depicted in great films like The Godfather: Part II, Steven Soderbergh’s Che and Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba, is prime fodder for great drama, but when Ed has to tell Santo Trafficante (James Remar) to his face that he runs the mob in Cuba, it’s a sign that Petitclerc has no idea how to tell the audience who characters are without having to telegraph the fact.

At least we can see why Hemingway loved Cuba; whenever the stiff, profanity-laden dialogue ends and the people leave the landscape, nature reveals an island full of lush vegetation and gorgeous seascapes. It’s also great to see the distinctive architecture, like Havana’s Malecon seawall, and to hear the infectious music that comes from the island. If Yari were a more capable director (this is only his second effort in a 30-something-year career), he might have put the music more prominently in the mix to drown out Petitclerc’s drivel.

MovieStyle on 04/29/2016

Print Headline: Papa Hemingway in Cuba

 

Restoring the Finca Vigia outside Havana : Work to Begin

#HemingwayFincavigia

#Hemingwaycuba

Havana, Cuba (CNN)Ernest Hemingway’s home near Havana is expected to soon receive an infusion of badly needed building supplies from the United States.

 

Before it is too late, actual collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba is happening regarding the restoration of Hemingway’s beloved Cuban home. He lived there for about twenty years. As mentioned in previous posts, he and Mary left many papers and mementos when they were not allowed to return. Apparently, there remain many writings/notes of historical and literary interest even after Mary was permitted to remove some of them  post-Hemingway’s death.

Finca Vigia
Finca Vigia