Sunday, January 31

Hemingway was a Cat Lady

Hemingway was sort of a cat lady. At his home in Key West, he lived with a few dozen cats, including some polydactyls--ones with extra toes. Hemingway was given a polydactyl, or mitten cat, by a ship's captain. It was said to bring good luck. Perhaps it did, but it also brought polydactyl descendants, and today, about half of the 60 cats on the property have this genetic trait. Visit The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum's cat page for an informative Q&A, and for headshots of the kitties, many of which were named for writers and celebrities.

Above, a cat on cool tiles...below, me with a cat. Cats, cats, cats... Cat on Hemingway's bed...

Some cat decor (See? Cat Lady!). The embroidered curtains depict cats and plants.

The cats retreat to cat houses all over the property. In the back, behind the gift shop, I stumbled upon this multi-family residence, a very good replica of the Hemingway house. It has screen doors. Below, another cat house in the garden, along the trails.

A polydactyl. And my favorite, the impressions of polydactyl paw prints along the concrete.

Friday, January 29

Hemingway's Bedroom

Last month for the holidays, I met my family in Miami. We took a trip down to Key West, where Ernest Hemingway once lived. His house is now a museum filled with tourists wearing sun visors, Hawaiian-print shirts and cameras around their necks (including me). And it's crawling with descendants of the author's six-toed cats, like the one napping above on Papa Hemingway's pillow.

I have photos of many of the rooms, so I'll post them this week, but I wanted to start with the bedroom, because I loved the story about the bed. Hemingway had a thing for Spanish antiques, and fine furniture in general, so when he couldn't find a bed big enough to comfortably fit his brawny bod and his wife (this was before the rage of the king-size bed), he bought two twin mattresses and used as a gate from a Spanish monastery as a headboard. Below, pics of the gate (painting above by Henry Faulkner), the bedroom, and views from the veranda...

Wednesday, January 27

View From my Dorm Room

I'm back from Bennington, Vermont, where I was at a writers' residency for the low-residency MFA program I'm doing in nonfiction writing. Here's a photo from my dorm at Bennington College. Amazing, right? I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the room itself, especially since I shipped myself a cozy bear rug for the floor and a wool throw to use on the bed instead of the old, scratchy flannel one that was there. It looked so cute! My envious classmates even said so.

I have a ton of new material to post... Sorry for the big pause, but the travels were worth it! Soon: more from Michigan (my grandparents!), Hemingway's house in Key West, a handsome architect in Soho...