I watched the “Chicago Tonight” segment on Thursday regarding a new Hemingway book from the editor of the Oak Park, IL newsletter “Oak Leaves” the co-author (Robert K. Elder) it seemed had unlimited access to a treasure trove of Hemingway articles, letters, and all other sorts of paraphernalia. And really did not have too much to say regarding Hemingway or I should say anything new. Most of what he stated during the interview I heard during my tour of the Hemingway birthplace, in fact, the tour guide at the birthplace was more informative!!!
During one part of this interview, the co-author mentioned Hemingway’s famous line describing Oak Park, as the place of “wide lawns and narrow minds” as maybe Hemingway describing his parents this to me sounds like one of those “company line” kind of statement. The general one, like a big corporation, tells its employees to use when discussing matters of controversy to the public. The co-author even mentioned that he was not sure that Hemingway said it, but then states that Hemingway was referring to his family, not Oak Park, IL.
So which one is it? If you state Hemingway did not say this, then who did? Find out, because if you are writing a book and this is a question that comes up a lot, research it, thoroughly. If this statement is false in refereeing to Oak Park, IL as the co-author states then prove it. But then that means every other Hemingway quote is up for reinterpretation as well, and with access to all this material regarding Hemingway’s life the answer should be easy to find.
Just because Hemingway spoke at events at his alma mater (Oak Park High School) does not mean that he did not feel or change the fact about how Ernest felt about Oak Park, IL. Montgomery Ward fought for years to keep the Chicago lakefront clear for public usage, but after the 20 years and against the wishes of the Chicago public (at that time) he doubted if do it again. Meaning that even though Ward like Hemingway gave back to his community they both felt a certain way that does not fall in line with the positive outlook that is associated with these two or they had an opinion that worked contrary to their actions.
Although both men contributed to their communities and they felt a certain way afterward making their statements in the case with Montgomery Ward, public opinion nowadays, has changed and sides with him, and Chicago seems to agree with him, accept it and move on. In Hemingway’s case regarding his statement we have the exact opposite (being denied) and there is no acceptance of how he viewed Oak Park, IL or argument, presented with actual facts, that such attitudes have changed since then.
Here the co-author with access to so much material written by Hemingway could have made an argument either way about this statement but could not. The interview did give us insight in maybe Hemingway sleeping around with his sister in law, keeping hate mail, etc., but it did not really sell me on buying the book or promoting the upcoming Hemingway week. I think instead one of the Hemingway guides should have been interviewed as well, to help present Hemingway in a more authentic light. This interview though had interesting tidbits it just was confirmed how self-delusional people out here think of themselves, on a highly narcissistic level than would make any Grad level Psychology student salivate at the potential case studies that could be done with some of the residents in Oak Park, IL
This article covers the Chicago tonight interview and covers a couple more swipes that Hemingway took against Oak Park, IL in the last three paragraphs, will give you a great laugh.