Luxe Beat Magazine MAY 2015 - Page 106

Hemingway to Cash By Karin Leperi A rkansas usually is shortshifted when it comes to recognizing cultural geniuses of the past. What most Americans do not realize is that Ernest Hemingway came to Arkansas via his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. In the 1930s, Pauline’s parents converted the barn on their property into a place where Hemingway could write while visiting. He completed parts of A Farewell to Arms and several short stories here. Johnny Cash and his family moved from Kingsland to Dyess, Arkansas in the 1935, and occupied a house in the Dyess colony through 1953. Arkansas was the influence and roots of his budding beginnings as a musician and singer. When we think of one of America’s literary greats - Ernest Hemingway - a genius of staccato phrasing and the short story, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, seldom do we evoke a vision of Hemingway in Arkansas. Yet this is where he penned one of his greatest works, A Farewell to Arms. Nor do we think of Arkansas when we hum Johnny Cash’s famous songs, “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Blues” or “Ring of Fire.” But we should. For Dyess, Arkansas is where the future singer and song writer spent his impressionable years growing up. The Dyess Colony was part of a Roosevelt experiment designed to provide homes and jobs to poor farm families during the Great Depression. And though the Cash family worked hard and had little, Johnny Cash remembers a childhood that was happy. While Ernest Hemingway was not a native son, Johnny Cash was born and raised in Arkansas. Nevertheless, both spent significant time in Arkansas and both were influenced by their Arkansas life. To put it succinctly: Arkansas impacted both men, and it was reflected in their writings and their songs. Hemingway’s forgotten haven Original piano that belonged to Johnny's mother is on display in his boyhood home 106 Piggott, Arkansas is a long way from nowhere; You have to want to go there as you won’t accidentally stumble upon it. Located in the upper part of northeast Arkansas, about 10 miles from the Missouri border, you can expect about a Hemingway’s desk and chair three-hour drive if you are coming from Little Rock. However, any fan of Hemingway will find that it is well worth the journey. The Pfeiffer House, located at Tenth and Cherry Streets, belonged to Hemingway’s wealthy in-laws, Paul and Mary Pfeiffer. Their daughter Pauline was Hemingway’s second wife, once a good friend to both Hemingway and his first wife. He was married to Pauline from 1927 to 1940, and during this time the couple frequently came to stay at the white house estate. In addition to coming from a wealthy family, Pauline came with quite a set of credentials. Graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1918, she worked for the Cleveland Press and Vanity Fair in New York before accepting a job as editor for the Paris Bureau of Vogue Magazine. She met Hemingway and his first wife Hadley in 1925 at a party in Paris. So that Hemingway would feel at home and could be productive during his time in Piggott, the Pfeiffers converted the red carriage house on their property into a working apartment and studio for him. Here he could have the privacy he required to write. And write he did. During his time he would pen his famous A ALL PHOTOS ARE BY KARIN LEPERI Arkansas Literary and Musical Past