20 facts about Ernest Hemingways
1. His mom was quite stubborn. Many believe his mother wanted another girl, and so until Ernest was four his mother dressed him up like a girl. Ernest’s hair was as long as his sisters’ hair. She later wanted Ernest to be a musician, and she forced him to play the cello. Having little interest, Ernest was neither good nor fond of it. His stubborn mother once kept him from school for more than a year to get him to play. We all should know the ending; no one is more stubborn than Hemingway. In Ernest’s own words, he said: “That cello—I played it worse than anyone on earth.”
2. He wanted to fight in World War I, but was denied due to his wretched eye sight. However, he convinced the military to make him an ambulance driver. Unfortunately, during the war he was wounded from mortar fire.
3. There’s a popular tale circulating about Hemingway betting fellow writers that he could write a short story in just six words. The story goes that Hemingway gave them: “For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn,” and he won the bet. They cite that the tall tale was introduced in 1991, and the story is more likely written by William R. Kane.
4. Ernest once examined F. Scott Fitzgerald’s… gentleman parts in a cafe bathroom and informed him it was “of normal size.”
5. On the topic of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Scott wrote Hemingway a ten-page letter where he advised that he should end A Farewell to Arms with the passage: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” Hemingway wrote him three words back: “Kiss my butt.”
6. Ernest stole a urinal from his favorite bar claiming that he had “pissed away” enough money into it that, as a result, he should own it. He ended up sticking the urinal in his house.
7. Ernest Hemingway once published a recipe for apple pie in his column. In fact, he had a lot of recipes for food, and some of them even ended up being museum pieces like his hamburger recipe below.
8. In the 1940’s, Hemingway worked closely with the Soviet KGB. He went under the cover name “Argo.” Edgar Hoover and many FBI officials spied on him for much of his later life. Some even claim this added level of pressure deepened his depression and later led him to take his own life.
9. After World War II, he was accused of War Crimes by Geneva surrounding an event where Ernest lead a group of French Militia against the Nazis.
10. His six-toed cat was a rather busy cat in Key West. This is why there is no shortage of six-toed cats in Key West.
11. During his 62 years, he married four times and divorced three times. Martha Gellhorn never liked being Hemingway’s third wife and required that interviewers not mention the man.
12. Hemingway was checked in to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota under the name Saviers, and the press believed he was being treated for hypertension.
13. During his life, Hemingway survived exposure to anthrax, malaria, skin cancer, and pneumonia. He lived through diabetes, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, hepatitis, a ruptured spleen, a fractured skull, a crushed vertebra, and the only thing he could not stop was himself. Ultimately, Hemingway took his favorite gun and went to the foyer where he put two rounds into his head after returning from the Mayo Clinic.
14. His death was found to be self-inflicted, but the newspapers called it “accidental.” Five years later, Mary, his wife, publicly disclosed that the cause of death was suicide.
15. Ernest killed himself with his favorite shotgun, purchased from Abercrombie & Fitch.
16. American actor Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway became great friends after getting into a fist-fight with each other in a theater.
17. Francis Scott Fitzgerald once showed Hemingway his penis and confessed his worry that it was too small to satisfy his wife Zelda. Hemingway kindly reassured him it was ok.
18. Ernest Hemingway’s brother founded a nation off the coast of Jamaica that consisted of a raft and 7 citizens. It had currency, postage, and a constitution.
19. Ernest Hemingway used to hunt German U-Boats in his fishing boat with direction-finding equipment, a machine gun and hand grenades.
20. Hemingway’s wife lost a suitcase at a train station in 1922. In that suitcase was just about every piece of writing Hemmingway had completed up until that point. Having lost it all, he essentially had to start from scratch