Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ernest Hemingway Birth House and Museum

So thank goodness my 2:06 flight to Columbus, OH was cancelled today because now I have SO MUCH time to blog (ahem, note sarcasm).  Any way, one of the more defined Chicago literary sites is definitely the Ernest Hemingway birth house and museum (across the street).  $8 buys you admission to both and wow, do the ladies who run this historical landmark have a grand time keeping it looking the way Ernie's grandmother would have wanted it.  Connie, our tour guide, was kind enough to just take two of us around the birth house, and she was also willing to share her "Conneology," educated guesses about Hemingway's life that Connie has deduced. 

The entire house was covered in roses, because that's the flower that Hemingway's grandmother loved.  There is some beautiful rose molding on the ceiling in the dining room that was beautiful.  The house is also filled with family photos and memorabilia, though a lot of the things in the house are not authentic Hemingway family heirlooms, but they are authentic to the time period, as Connie kept pointing out. 

One of the most interesting things that I took away from the day was the fact that Hemingway's family was full of story tellers.  Young Ernie loved having stories read aloud to him and sometimes, for hours or days at a time after listening to a story, Ernie would refuse to answer to his own name, but would only respond when called "Captain Squirrel," or some other similar name that he heard in one of his story books. 

Something else really cool that was on display were the Civil War records/certificates that were on display.  Both of Hemingway's uncles served in the Civil War.  One was extremely successful, earning accolades and extending his military stint for many years.  The other, however, was injured almost immediately upon entering the army, after getting shot in the upper thigh.  The tour guide pointed out that Hemingway was definitely inspired by his uncles' stories, but, ironically, he did not gravitate to the war hero.  If you think about The Sun Also Rises, it is clear that Hemingway did not want to romanticize battle, but instead focused on the physical and psychological effects of it.  

1 comment:

Ms. Martini said...

remember that Connie said that Hemingway's mom wanted to have twins so she made Ernest's older sister stay back an extra year in kindergarten and high school so they could be together. dressed them the same and cut their hair the same which I thought was kind of crazy.