…and full of rum. Today’s Soup du Jour today is rum, with ice croutons!
We got off to a slow start, barely making the hotel’s breakfast. Once underway, what developed was a literary tour. Between Tennessee Williams and Earnest Hemingway, Key West was the go to retreat for 20th-century American authors.
Our first stop was with Tennessee Williams. His museum was certainly the lesser of the two. It is in a building with no connection to the author and shows mainly second sourced material. He hailed from St. Louis, but hated it. Though, his most famous play, Glass Menagerie, was from there. We regaled the woman proprietor with our own “Stella” moment, from years ago, when the girlfriend of a neighbor’s boyfriend showed up one night, drunk and with a gun. The woman was suitably mortified. The Lou has got to keep up its rep.
The Hemingway house was fantastic. It was also fantastically crowded. Still, the largest single family home in Key West, Hemingway only lived there for about eight years, but wrote 70% of his library in that time. His study, a former barn loft is a highlight of the tour. Then there are the cats. Many of these cats have more than the normal five digits on their front paws and four on the back. This genetic trait is called polydactyly. Some cats there sport 24 toes.
Though a great author, Hemingway was also a deeply flawed man. Ask any of his many wives. When he announce that he was to cover the Spanish Civil War, he neglected to tell his then wife that he would be accompanying his soon future wife. A pattern that he would repeat.
While off to war, his then wife got wind of things and tore down his beloved boxing ring and built a swimming pool. Her uncle originally paid $8,000 for the property, but she then spent $20,000, at the height of the depression, on a pool.
Returning, Hemmingway was infuriated. He confronted his still wife with a penny. Shaking it in front of her, he exclaimed, “You have taken me for all my money. This is my last penny.” Then he threw it at her and stormed off. The next day, she impressed the penny into new patio concrete, where it remains.