Monthly Archives: January 2012

Papa, a Personal Memoir

I finished reading Papa, a personal Memoir.  To say that the Hemingway boys had an unusual childhood is an understatement. Perhaps their life wasn’t much different from that of other famous and well-to-do people’s children, but I sure wouldn’t know (my friends and family didn’t fit either category and that’s just fine).

Living with such an eccentric and unstable person had to take a toll on the boys. Ernest constantly needed approval from others, he had to be “The Best,” he needed the attention of younger, beautiful women to make him feel “like a man” leading to multiple marriages and affairs. Trying to win the love and approval of such a man left Gregory a very damaged person.

Gregory told a compelling, although not particularly well written, story filled with interesting anecdotes. It’s a short read and if you want a peak into their family life, I would recommend reading it.


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I know that yesterday I said that I only wanted light reading for a time, but I just couldn’t help myself. I don’t seem to be able to stop thinking about Hemingway so I have started reading, Papa: a Personal Memoir by Gregory H. Hemingway, M.D.  Not only am I interested in what it was like to live with the man, I am also curious about how this memoir was written.

We are very fortunate to have the talented Linda Loomis, a professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at SUNY Oswego, teaching writing classes here at the library from time to time. I have taken her memoir writing class and want to see what Gregory did with his story. I’ll let you know what I think. Have you read this?

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I finished The Paris Wife today.

I really liked the story and could hardly put it down, but found it to be a bit too maudlin. I’m not sure who was more needy, Ernest or Hadley? He needed constant praise and affirmation and she was a door mat. Add this to the time and place: 1920’s Paris with friends (mostly Ernest’s) who had little or no respect for family or fidelity. How could this marriage head anywhere but down the road to disaster?
I wonder though, how much truth there was to Hadley’s portrayal?

Next week, after the Book Klatch meeting on Thursday 1/26, I am off on a Hawaiian vacation. Need some suggestions for relaxing, poolside reading. Any suggestions?

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What a difference a day can make. Yesterday I could hardly breathe at the Information Desk (it was so busy); today we have had our first real snow of the season and I am waiting to help someone, anyone!

Speaking of waiting, I am waiting for someone to comment on this blog. I was crazy excited about creating it so, of course, I believed everyone else would be thrilled to participate. But not a soul has liked, commented, or contributed yet.

When I’m reading and thinking about writing, stories, and characters, I want to share what interests me or things I think other people might enjoy knowing (and may not have the time or desire to seek out). Anyway, I am still waiting and hoping that someone will someday discover this blog and get as excited about it as I am. Until that day, I will happily record my thoughts and items that interest me and live in hope that someone will eventually share my enthusiasm. What a great day that will be!

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The Hemingway Children

Ernest Hemingway is such a complex person; I’m finding everything about him interests me. I got thinking about his children when reading the parts concerning his doubts over Hadley’s pregnancy. Here’s some information about his 3 sons:

John “Bumby” Hemingway (1923- ) was the only child of Ernest’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson. Jack Hemingway, as he now prefers to be known, physically resembles his father. During W.W.II, he was reconnoitering behind enemy lines in France when he was wounded in a German ambush. He waited out the war as a POW, remained in the army for about 10 years, then pursued a business career. Retired in 1967, he returned permanently to Ketchum, Ida., his father’s last home, to teach languages. His two daughters have updated the family name with their own accomplishments, Joan as a writer and Margaux as a model and actress.

To his father’s delight, Patrick Hemingway (1928- ) became a professional white hunter in Africa after attending both Stanford University and Harvard. Since 1964 he has taught courses at Tanzania’s College of Wildlife Management. The mother of Patrick and Gregory was Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway (1894-1951), Ernest’s second wife.

Dr. Gregory Hancock Hemingway (1931- 2001) has come closest to emulating both father and grandfather in vocations. Now a practicing physician in Montana, he is also the author of a 1976 autobiographical account–Papa: A Personal Memoir–the only book thus far produced by a Hemingway son. Gregory became bitterly estranged from his father in 1951 and never saw him again. The youngest son, like Patrick, worked as a professional game hunter in Africa for a time, but tired of trying to become a “Hemingway hero.” When Ernest died, he said, “I confess I felt profound relief when they lowered my father’s body into the ground and I realized that he was really dead, that I couldn’t disappoint him, couldn’t hurt him anymore.”

Gregory Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s youngest son, dies in jail cell at 69

ASSOCIATED PRESS October 4, 2001

MIAMI – Novelist Ernest Hemingway’s troubled youngest son died of natural causes in a jail cell. He was 69.

Gregory Hemingway, a former doctor also known as Gloria Hemingway, was found dead at 5:45 a.m. Monday, said Janelle Hall, a spokeswoman for the county corrections department. He had been arrested last week, at least his third arrest in the county.

He often dressed as a woman, and Hall said jail officials had classified him as a woman and believe he had undergone a sex change operation. He died in the women’s section of the jail.

Police said family members, whose names they did not make public, confirmed the deceased was Ernest Hemingway’s son.

The elder Hemingway killed himself in 1961. A book Gregory Hemingway wrote about his father, “Papa: A Personal Memoir,” was published in 1976. It had a preface by Norman Mailer.

In 1997, Hemingway joined with his brothers, Jack and Patrick, in battling the organizers of the sometimes rowdy Hemingway Days celebration in Key West. They said they wanted a more dignified gathering and royalty payments. The celebration was canceled but then revived. Jack Hemingway, who also wrote a memoir of his father, died last year.

Gregory Hemingway’s daughter is Lorian Hemingway, author of such books as “Walk on Water: A Memoir.”

But alcohol and other problems stalked his life.

“My mother suffered severe brain damage as a result of a car accident directly related to her addiction,” Lorian Hemingway has written. “My father lost his medical license for the same reason.” Gregory Hemingway had been arrested last week on Key Biscayne, charged with indecent exposure and resisting arrest without violence after a park ranger reported a pedestrian with no clothes on.

He appeared to be drunk or otherwise impaired, said the arresting officer, Nelia Real. “He had no shoes and he had a dress and high heels in his hands,” Real said.

“I feel really bad that that happened. He was a very nice guy.”

Homicide detectives ruled the death was due to natural causes. The autopsy report listed hypertension and cardiovascular disease, officials said according to Miami-Dade police spokesman Juan DelCastillo. Miami-Dade court records show that he had been arrested in 1996 on an aggravated assault charge and in 1995 on a charge of battery on an officer. The outcome of those cases was not immediately available.

Hemingway, son of the author and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, was born in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 12, 1931.

In 1999, Hemingway spoke at the dedication of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer museum in Piggott, Ark., in what had been the Pfeiffer family home. He remarked that his father “is quite fortunate in having just about every place he ever lived in immortalized.”

Ernest had no children with his fourth wife Mary Welsh. Ernest ended his life in their home with a shotgun blast.

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Central New York Reads, The Book Thief

The Book Thief is the 2012 CNY Reads selection for 2012. The kick-off event will be held at the Erie Boulevard Barnes and Noble on Thursday night, January 12 at 7 p.m.

Local celebrities will be reading out loud from the book. County Executive Joanie Mahoney, news reporter Chris McGrath, local actor Frank Fiumano, and others will each take a turn. Chocolate and live accordion music (accordion playing relates to the book) are also part of the evening.

The Book Thief has been very popular with both adult and YA readers and the Klatch participants read it as one of our selections last year.

In case you read the book and are interested, After Dinner Books, also at the Liverpool Public library, will be discussing the book with the author!  On April 5, author Markus Zusak will be beamed into the Carman Community Room via Skype to talk with us. He will be coming to us live from Australia. Check the Events Calendar at or use the link below.

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