Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hemingway Home and Museum

As I mentioned in the last posting, a cold front came in Monday night, but by Tuesday the cold wind had abated and we were quite comfortable touring the town wearing our light jackets.We really can't complain about the weather when it warms up so nicely during the day!  Hemingway's home was built in 1851, Hemingway and his second wife Pauline were the second owners and moved into it in 1931. Hemingway and Pauline lived there for 10 years, after which he found wife number three and moved to Cuba. He was a complex man and our tour guide for the house had quite a few fascinating stories to tell about him. Below is the entrance to the famous author's Spanish colonial home.
While Hemingway lived here,  a good part of his day was spent hanging around numerous townspeople. Their conversations with him provided Hemingway with material for his writings while residing in Key West. During his lifetime he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as a Nobel Prize for Literature. Below is the room he occupied while writing, it is on the second floor of a carriage house next to the main building. His fishing and hunting trophies are still on the wall. Most of the original Hemingway family furniture is still present in the home.
Any discussion of the home is not complete without mentioning the 45 cats who reside there, most of whom are six-toed. They are descendants of  the first cat given to Hemingway's son by a sea captain. We were told that they are the second most costly expense of the museum. The one below, I believe his name is Archibald Macleish, is snoozing on Hemingway's bed. Each cat is given the name of a famous person. When we toured the cat cemetery on the grounds we noticed that there had been a Spencer Tracey and a  Betty Davis. The headboard of this bed is quite unique. It was made from a 17th century Spanish monastery gate.
 The grounds of the home are small and include an in-ground swimming pool. Hemingway was so irate with Pauline for installing it while he was away, that in retaliation he took a urinal from the bathroom of his favorite his favorite bar and made a fountain with it. The large jar is a Spanish olive jar from Cuba. Pauline decorated the urinal with mosaic tiles to improve the look of the urinal. We found this house tour to be as interesting as Hemingway himself!

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