I guess I forgot, or never knew, that there is a connection -- albeit tenuous -- between Hemingway and my hometown, Lakeland, Fla.
Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, died in Lakeland on Jan. 24, 1979 (the year I graduated from high school). Hadley, the first of Hem's four wives, was with the writer during his Paris years, and was the mother of John Hemingway, AKA "Bumby." Married to Hemingway from 1921-1927, she married American poet and journalist Paul Mowrer in 1933.
Bernice Kert, author of The Hemingway Women, first published in 1983, wrote that she traveled to Lakeland to interview Hadley.
I was reminded of Hadley's residency in Lakeland while perusing The Book Lover's Guide to Florida, edited by Kevin M. McCarthy.
I picked up the book -- for free, no less -- on Saturday, at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading, held on the campus of USF St. Petersburg.
While there, I dragged my 11-year-old son along to seminars/readings by John Leland and David Amram, who talked about Jack Kerouac; and crime writer Michael Connelly. My son dragged me along to a talk by superstar children's author R.L. Stine, and, later, a panel featuring Stine and three other children's authors.
More on this later.