|Posted: 12 July 2006 at 10:18am | IP Logged
I have just returned from the Hemingway Society Conference in Ronda where I met a most amazing man, Hemingway's 'Cuban Son'.
Rene Villarreal was EH's major domo for many years at the Finca Vigia. Mary Hemingway's book THE WAY IT WAS makes frequent mention of Rene from the day he was hired as a teenager until Ernest left Cuba in 1959 unaware he would never return. Mary describes Rene as quiet, well-mannered, and gentle with the the animals; her Cuban Son who worked with goodwill and devotion.
Mary was right. Rene Villarreal is a consumate gentleman. Today, in his mid-eighties, Rene's memory is as clear as a bell and his knowledge of Hemingway is personal and intimate. Somewhere along the way he picked up Papa's skill as a storyteller. Rene attended the Hemingway Society Conference and participated in several discussion groups. With his son Raul interpreting, he told us about daily life at the Finca...hearing Ernest wake in the bedroom above his basement quarters, counting while Ernest did his mornmg exercises, the night Batista's soldiers killed Muchakas..the ghost in the baseball field, fascinating stories told with warmth and humor.
Rene was kind enough to grant me an interview for my book GOTT MIT UNS about Hemingway's Nazi belt buckle. He was able to confirm my research and include additional facts that will make it a better book.
But it is Rene's book I want to tell you about.With Raul's help, Rene Vallarreal is writing a book about life with Ernest and Mary at the Finca Vigia. Watch for it! I think it is going to be an excellent addition to the Hemingway collection.
Edited by GOTT MIT UNS on 12 July 2006 at 9:09pm
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