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Hemingway's last home in Ketchum, Idaho.

Ketchum, Idaho

The best way to find the plain marble tombstones of Mary and Ernest Hemingway is to look for the three tall spruce trees that stand above them. Around the horizontal grey slabs many other graves bear familiar names. His grand-daughter Margaux (spelt "Margot" on her gravestone), also took her own life and her epitaph, "A free spirit freed," could almost be his as well. George Saviers, Hemingway's doctor, lies a few yards away, and beside him the grave of his son Frederick Saviers, who died of a viral heart disease at the age of sixteen. One of Ernest Hemingway's last letters was to this boy. Hemingway was having treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester when he heard Saviers' son was ill but still found time, on June 15, 1961, to write him a cheery letter. It ended:

Like his father before him, Hemingway commits suicide by shooting himself in his home in Ketchum. The adventure ends in a Ketchum cemetery.

"Best always to you, old timer from your good friend who misses you very much."

Not a bad way to sum up my feelings about this journey and the man whose footsteps I have followed from Oak Park to this graveyard in Ketchum - Ernest Miller Hemingway, July 21, 1899-July 2,1961.


Photo credits: © Basil Pao, 1999. Text excerpt: "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure" by Michael Palin © Michael Palin, 1999 Used with permission of Cassell & Company. Buy the book in the Palin Store.