My wife Sherry and I were recently at a Viking Pools conference in Key West and had the opportunity to tour the Hemingway's Key West winter home.
Earnest Hemmingway and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, lived in this house from 1931-39. The house was paid for by Pauline's uncle.
In 1937, Earnest informed Pauline, his dear wife of 10 years, that he was headed off to be a correspondent in the Spainish Civil War. Earnest also told Pauline he’d be traveling with Martha Gellhorn, who he married 3 years later after divorcing Pauline.
As the story goes, Earnest had thought from time to time,about building a pool in Key West but had discarded the idea as too expensive. While Earnest was gone with Martha, Pauline proceeded with the pool project and located the pool on the site of Earnest’s boxing ring. The pool was a 30'x60’, 80,000 gallon pool which was the ONLY pool in Key West at that time.
When Earnest returned to Pauline from the Spainish Civil War, and as the story goes, Earnest was dumbfounded at the new pool and said to Pauline, “You have spent all my money on a pool so you might just take my last penny too!” And he threw a penny at her, apparently to her delight. She had the penny imbedded in the concrete pool deck and delighted in telling her friends that she had taken Earnest’s last penny!
Earnest went on to marry Martha Gellhorn in 1940 and lived in Cuba for winters and built his own swimming pool there.
And I found myself in 2012 touring Earnest’s Key West house at the tail end of the Viking Conference! Clearly, this pool would never have been built but for the emotion of revenge! This is a bad reason to build a pool, but then again, Pauline did have a point and she had some very real emotions to work out.
What do you think?