Montag, 2. Juli 2018

Trespassing at Ernest Hemingway’s House / Dave Seminara In: Lit Hub Daily July 2, 2018

The signs couldn’t have been clearer. PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO TRESPASSING. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED. I had been looking for the dead-end street in Ketchum, Idaho where Ernest Hemingway took his life on July 2, 1961, and reckoned I had found it. Thanks to fierce opposition from affluent neighbors in the Canyon Run neighborhood that has sprung up around what was once a very isolated 22-acre property on the Big Wood River, the home has never been open to the public and the address isn’t advertised.
Hemingway and his (fourth) wife Mary bought the Idaho house in 1959, and it has sat empty since his death, save for spells when caretakers resided in the basement. Although I have a deep respect for Hemingway’s work, I’ve long been even more fascinated with his peripatetic life. As someone who has traveled to 70-odd countries and has moved more than a dozen times in the last twenty years, peripatetic Hemingway is something of a kindred spirit. He never sat still, never seemed satisfied, and frequently sought to cure what ailed him with a change of scenery—I’m the same way.
For years, I lived a short walk away from his birth home in Oak Park, Illinois, and when I learned that Hemingway’s Ketchum home had been preserved as a kind of time capsule, I resolved to try to see the place. I wanted to know why it was still closed when so many of the other places Hemingway once called home are open to the public. And, perhaps more important, I wanted to understand what had brought the restless author to a remote valley in the Idaho wildnerness to live out his final chapter.
Many writers have grappled with this question, but none more perceptively than Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote three years after the Hemingway’s death, “Anybody who considers themselves a writer or even a serious reader cannot help but wonder just what it was about this outback little Idaho village that struck such a responsive cord in America’s most famous writer.”
The Ketchum that the pioneer of gonzo journalism discovered in 1964 had just one paved street and was “no longer a glittering, celebrity-filled winter retreat for the rich and famous, but just another good ski resort in a tough league.” Thompson thought that Hemingway had returned to the Gem State because he had lost his way and was pining for the good old days he’d spent there during and after WWII. Hemingway, he surmised, wanted a place that hadn’t changed where he could “get away from the pressures of a world gone mad,” and live among apolitical people who loved the outdoors as he did.
Eager to understand it myself, I left my home in Bend, Oregon, along with my wife, Jen, and two sons, Leo, 10, and James, 8, on a bright Tuesday afternoon in late October (2017) to see what we could find. The eight-hour drive took us through desolate Malheur County, site of the 2016 armed Oregon Standoff, sprawling, ever-expanding Boise, now America’s fastest growing city, and forlorn cowboy hamlets like Fairfield, Idaho, home of the Wrangler Drive-in, where gluttons can feast on two-pound jackalope burgers, which come with six slices of bacon, three onion rings, six slices of pepper jack cheese, and secret sauce among other things. ... [mehr]

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