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Hemingway Adventure

Ketchum, Idaho (second day)

Ketchum, Idaho, USA 
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Wrought-iron work above gates of Ketchum cemetery.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureNext morning. It’s a beautiful July Sunday in Ketchum cemetery, on the far side of the Big Wood River from the house. It’s a small cemetery, whose wrought-iron gates over the only touch of flamboyance. The graves are modest, some marked by nothing more than a metal tag with a single word inscription - ‘Baby’ or ‘Unknown’. The well-trimmed grass around them has been cut from the wild sagebrush scrub that covers the foothills behind and would, if it were allowed, push its way through the fence and reclaim the cemetery. This is still a hard land to live in.

The best way to find the plain marble tombstones of Mary and Ernest Hemingway is to look for the three tall spruce trees that stand above them. Around the horizontal grey slabs many other graves bear familiar names. His grand-daughter Margaux (spelt ‘Margot’ on her gravestone), also took her own life and her epitaph, ‘A free spirit freed’, could almost be his as well. George Saviers, Hemingway’s doctor, lies a few yards away, and beside him the grave of his son Frederick Saviers, who died of a viral heart disease at the age of sixteen. One of Ernest Hemingway’s last letters was to this boy. Hemingway was having treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester when he heard Saviers’ son was ill but still found time, on 15 June 1961, to write him a cheery letter. It ended:

‘Best always to you, old timer from your good friend who misses you very much.’

Not a bad way to sum up my feelings about this journey and the man whose footsteps I have followed from Oak Park to this graveyard in Ketchum - Ernest Miller Hemingway, July 21, 1899-July 2, 1961.
Ketchum, Idaho, USA 
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The end of the journey. Hemingway's grave at Ketchum. Mary, his wife for fifteen years, lies beside him under the spruce trees.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Ketchum, Idaho (second day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Ketchum, Idaho
  • Book page no: 251

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