Hemingway's parents: Clarence Hemingway and Grace Hall Hemingway.
Hemingway in Love
Hemingway returned to
Illinois in 1918 after spending about two years working as a cub reporter for the
Kansas City Star and serving as a Red Cross volunteer on the Italian border during
the war. (See Italy.)
Though he did precious
little writing in Chicago, Hemingway made two very important friends. It was here
in 1920 that he began his first real love affair after the unrequited romance with
his nurse in Milan (the inspiration for "A Farewell to Arms").
He met a woman called Hadley Richardson,
eight years his senior. He was drawn to her both as attractive woman and uncensorious
drinking companion and, according to Hemingway's first biographer, Carlos Baker,
she was impressed, among other things, "by the way Ernest made cigarette
smoke pour from his nostrils." They married in September 1921 and lived
briefly in an unglamorous apartment on North Dearborn Street.
Hemingway met first wife Hadley Richardson in Chicago in 1920.
Around the same time, Hemingway met
and was befriended by a writer called Sherwood Anderson, fresh back from Paris,
who persuaded Ernest that the French capital was the only place for an aspiring
writer to be. Attitudes to life and art were much more liberal and, because of
the post-war exchange rate, it was dirt cheap.
Though it may well have been a desire to escape the close
proximity of his mother that counted most in the final decision,
Hemingway needed little more encouragement to head for Europe.
On December 8, 1921, he and Hadley left New York for Le Havre on the Leopoldina.
She was thirty, he was twenty-two. Hemingway's travels had begun. He would be on
the move for the rest of his life.