Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hemingway Days

This week is the 30th Anniversary of the Ernest Hemingway Festival in Key West. "Papas" come from all around to compete in the look-alike contest held in July to honor what would have been the author's 110th birthday this year. In addition to the look-alike contest, there is a fishing tournament, a one-man drama depicting Hemingway's life, and the announcement of Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.

And what Hemingway festival would be complete without a "Running of the Bulls" down Duval Street?

Ernest Hemingway is easily Key West's most famous resident, having lived here with his wife Pauline at their Spanish Colonial residence on Whitehead Street from 1931 until their divorce in 1939. This was the most prolific period of Hemingway's writing, as he found great inspiration in the turquoise waters and the variety of characters who live in Key West. Hemingway owned the home until his death in 1961, and many of the couple's furnishings from their time here, as well as descendants of Hemingway's well-known six-toed cats, are still at the home, which is now a museum.

Pauline had been an editor at Vogue magazine when she met Hemingway in Paris. Her sense of style and wealthy upbringing led to some budget overruns which may have contributed to the end of the marriage. After hearing that she had spent $20,000 to have a swimming pool installed, Hemingway tossed her a penny saying that she might as well have his last cent! To which Pauline responded by having the penny set in the stone around the pool.

No doubt the Hemingway House in Key West houses the most famous cat drinking fountain in the world; The top of the fountain is an old Spanish olive jar that was brought from Cuba. The trough at the base of the olive jar came from Papa's good friend Joe Russell's joint "Sloppy Joe's." It is actually one of the bar's urinals. Pauline added the decorative tile to disguise it

Happy birthday Papa!

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