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Photo of young Ernest Hemingway with fish he caught was taken the summer after his graduation from Oak Park (IL) High School.

HEMINGWAY RECALLED: Fans Celebrate 100 Years After High School Graduation

August 11, 2017       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Although the Hemingway birthplace museum in Oak Park Illinois is closing due to lack of attendance, fans of the famed author are accelerating their trips down Papa's memory lane.

The Michigan Hemingway Society is having its annual conference in October this year, at Bay View near Petoskey, and is planning a special event on Sunday afternoon with attendees re-creating an infamous party that Hemingway attended in one of the Bay View cottages.

The conference, Oct. 6-8, is themed "The End of Youth."

After graduating from high school in Oak Park, IL, Hemingway left the culturally rich environment of life there and the freedom of summers in Northern Michigan when he moved to Kansas City to become a journalist for The Kansas City Star. From there he joined the Red Cross as an ambulance driver in Italy during WWI, and finally, he returned to Petoskey as a wounded and decorated war veteran. At that point, he was no longer just a young boy enjoying carefree summers.

Keynote speaker this year will be Steve Paul, the author, and editor of several books. His newest, "Hemingway at Eighteen: The Pivotal Year that Launched an American Legend," will be published this fall. He recently retired from the editorial board of The Kansas City Star after 41 years of service there.

Starting out on the city desk, he was a longtime arts and culture editor, book critic, special assignment writer, projects editor and writer, mentor and coach to young writers and teachers, and producer of high-profile feature stories on culture, music, architecture, books, people and the city, and co-owner of a bookstore.

A reviewer comments: "In the summer of 1917, Ernest Hemingway was an eighteen-year-old high school graduate unsure of his future. The American entry into the Great War stirred thoughts of joining the army. While many of his friends in Oak Park, Illinois, were heading to college, Hemingway couldn't make up his mind and eventually chose to begin a career in writing and journalism at the Kansas City Star, one of the great newspapers of its day.

"In six and a half months at the Star, Hemingway experienced a compressed, streetwise alternative to a college education that opened his eyes to urban violence, the power of literature, the hard work of writing, and a constantly swirling stage of human comedy and drama. The Kansas City experience led Hemingway into the Red Cross ambulance service in Italy, where, two weeks before his nineteenth birthday, he was dangerously wounded at the front.

Award-winning writer Steve Paul takes a measure of this pivotal year when Hemingway?s self-invention and transformation began --from a "modest, rather shy and diffident boy" to a confident writer who aimed to find and record the truth throughout his life. Hemingway at Eighteen provides a fresh perspective on Hemingway's writing, sheds new light on this young man bound for greatness, and introduces a new a legendary American writer at the very beginning of his journey.

Conference headquarters will be The Terrace Inn in the Northern Michigan Chautauqua community of Bay View. Bay View was founded on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1875 and has maintained its historic buildings, homes, and charm. Hemingway was very familiar with the Bay View community when he lived in Petoskey for that last time. We will tour some of the old Victorian buildings and cottages, exploring their architecture and learning the history of the community.

If you are not a member of the Michigan Hemingway Society for the 2017 calendar year you may join online now and your conference fee will be reduced by $40. Online Conference Registration is now available.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
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