Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Estrellas de Gigi

A fantastic story about Ernest Hemingway, his two sons, about a dozen boys from the Havana barrios, and a couple summers of pickup baseball in the early 1940s:
He lived and wrote for more than 20 years here at Finca Vigia, a farm on a hill about 30 minutes outside Havana. His two sons from his second marriage, Patrick and Gregory, lived with their mother, Pauline Pfeiffer, in the United States. But in 1940, the boys traveled south to spend the summer with their father.

Not sure what to do with a 12- and an 8-year-old for that long, Hemingway rounded up a dozen boys from the barrio to play baseball with them. And just inside the black and white gates of the farm, Hemingway set up an odd little ball field where he would pitch for both teams as they whiled away the hot afternoons . . .

. . . It was during this endless sandlot game that the local children came to know a man who loved baseball, who would praise them and tease them. They never saw the brash, hard-drinking Hemingway. All they knew was that Papa had given them a ball field, and he was their pitcher.

Of course the following summer he made the kids all fight bulls. That didn't go as well.


Michael M said...

Please tell me you're kidding.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I'm kidding.

He actually enlisted the kids in a brigade of freedom fighters in Spain, where they were subsequently killed.

Sad story, really.