RARA-AVIS: Hemingway & Willeford

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 15 Jul 2003

In a message dated 7/15/03 4:02:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time, owner-rara-avis@icomm.ca writes:

 Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 22:56:54 -0400 (EDT)
 From: William Denton < buff@pobox.com>
 Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Willeford, the Georgian Terrace Hotel & Hemingway's brother
 On 14 July 2003, Moorich2@aol.com wrote:
 : Some months ago I picked up the book HUNTING WITH HEMINGWAY by Hilary
 : Hemingway and Jeffry P. Lindsay (Riverhead Books 2000). Hilary is the
 : daughter of Ernest Hemingway's younger brother Leicester and Jeffry is
 : her husband. The book is presented in part as an evening's backyard
 : conversation with several guests as Leicester tells stories (some
 : certainly fanciful) about his brother. A participant in these
 : "conversations" is Charles Willeford, who Hilary refers to as "Uncle
 : Charlie." While the stories by Leicester openly stretch the truth, the
 : portrait of Willeford rings true.
 Willeford was friends with Hemingway's brother and his family? No-one's
 ever mentioned that before. Thanks for the mention of the book--I'm going
 to track it down.
 Bill >>

I enjoyed the book but how much is history and how much fanciful is anyone's guess. The setup is that Hilary Hemingway on the death of her mother in 1997 of cancer opens her safety deposit box and in an envelope marked for her there is a tape of a backyard social gathering at the Hemingway's. Hilary sticks the tape in her daughter's tape player and hears the voice of her father Leicester Hemingway. She also quickly recognizes the voice of Charles Willeford.
"There was the deep laugh of Charlie Willeford--Uncle Charlie was what my sister and I called him. Willeford was a Miami novelist whom I remember most for his warm good cheer and walrus mustache."

Also present is a professor that Willeford brought to the gathering and he represents all the professors everywhere mining the Hemingway vein. During the course of the tape Leicester tells several stories about hunting adventures with his brother Ernest. It is clear that some of these are fanciful and the book does not presume otherwise.

I only receive the digest version of Rara so if Betsy has weighed in with details of Charlie's friendship or relationship with Leicester I won't know until the next digest is sent out.

Richard Moore

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