A man named Ernest

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

So much has been written and said about this man named Ernest. Let’s first acknowledge he was born. Got to start his life that way only because there isn’t any other. So here goes – born on July 21, 1899 in Illinois.

Doesn’t sound too glamorous, does it? But this man would become famous, also a world-renowned womanizer and a lover of famous celebrities in many fields. Movie stars of his day loved him. Being dated by Ernest was a well-publicized event.

Have you got enough yet to put a last name to that Ernest? I’ll help you – exciting writer Hemingway. Lover of women, lover of war. He lived in Spain and was photographed at bullfights daily. A famous novel of his &uot;The Sun Also Rises&uot; dealt with bullfighting and was a steamy love story. It became a famous movie. Bullfighting became a love of Hemingway’s life and he lived in Spain becoming friendly with well-known matadors of Spain. This gave credence to his writings about that life. With all this going on Ernest found time to marry twice.


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Always looking for excitement he drove an ambulance in WWI in Italy. Left Italy went to Paris and associated with the famous writers of the day. While enjoying the friendships and drinking almost to excess he still declared, &uot;No friend is as loyal as a book.&uot; Try that on a cold night with someone – someone friendlier than a &uot;friend.&uot;

Hemingway’s world was war-torn Europe, the cafes in Paris, an African safari, Cuba where he lived late in life, and the bullfights of Spain. Writing brilliantly but never finding peace.

&uot;The Old Man and the Sea&uot; – famous book, famous movie (Spencer Tracy) written in Cuba. At his death every fisherman in Cuba donated one brass fitting from his boat. This was melted down and a famous sculptor sculpted a head of Hemingway. A second time this took place – another head sculpted. One remains in a museum in Cuba – second head in Key West. Cuba and America have him. Both deserve him.

Note: I wrote that Hemingway died – did not mention by his own hand – a suicide. Just hated to say of one who wrote of brave men and brave deeds lacked courage to face life himself. Tragic!

Florence Arena is a resident of Hillcrest Retirement Center and a regular News-Herald columnist.