My Wife With Great Writers


 

More lurking. This time at Sherwood Anderson's place in New Orleans

 

In 2003, my sister took this photo of me outside a New Orleans apartment building where the author Sherwood (“Winesburg, Ohio”) Anderson lived in the 1920s.

We were on a car trip through the South with my mother. My sister dubbed it the “Thelma & Louise & Louise” tour.

I stress there was no gunplay, no Brad Pitt and no shenanigans with truckers. Had there been, you can bet your beignets we’d have taken photos of that instead of planting me behind foliage in a doorway off Jackson Square.

Anyhow, before we left home, my husband — originator of the My Wife With Great Writers photo series — suggested we pick up shots for him. Mostly we forgot.

When I stumbled on this photo recently, I couldn’t even remember which Great Writer it involved. The plaque on the wall indicates a literary landmark (I’ll wait here while you click to enlarge the photo) at an address I initially read as 510 St. Peter.

Google insisted that 510 was the location of an Aerosoles shoe store, an unlikely site for literary landmark designation although I was riveted by Web copy for a nifty pair of brown suede boots. (“Scrunch time in the boot department. Soft ruched suede from top to bottom make these pull-on boots an attractive and versatile choice for this season.”)

Dragging my eyeballs off the boot page, I squinted at the photo and realized that the number could be 540 and that some of the letters could spell Sherwood Anderson. Sure enough, Wikipedia confirmed Anderson had lived for a time at that address. In fact, he was visited there by, hold on, William Faulkner. Thus, I award us My Wife With Great Writers bonus points.

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Lurking outside the O. Henry House in San Antonio. Apparently I lurk a lot.

Here I am hanging outside the O. Henry House in San Antonio, Texas.

William Sydney Porter, aka O. Henry, lived and wrote in this house in the mid-1880s.

While O. Henry did not create the Oh Henry candy bar, he did coin the term “banana republic.” It was more or less accidental, in the way any experience that occurs after fleeing to Honduras to avoid prosecution for embezzlement is accidental. Who hasn’t been there? In an accident, I mean. I’ve never been to Honduras.

The journal that O. Henry edited was named The Rolling Stone. I don’t know if he ever made the cover.

The photo was taken by my husband, Chris, on a weekend jaunt to San Antonio with our daughter, at the time a student at Rice University in Houston. She’s not in the picture because she doesn’t like posing for family pictures on demand. She does like the clothes at Banana Republic.

William Sydney Porter aka O. Henry

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Outside Hemingway's house in Key West

These are some of the photos from the My Wife With Great Writers series by Chris Stanton, my husband. It started with the Hemingway house photos in Key West. Normal people might have stopped after posing at the sign outside the property.

Making Ernie's bed

But we make no pretense of normal behavior. Next thing I knew, Chris was saying “Pretend you’re making Ernie’s bed.”

Leaving Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis always wanted out of Sauk Centre, Minnesota. So Chris handed me a bag to hold as I came down the front steps of Lewis’ boyhood home, ready to head off to “Main Street” a few blocks away. Visiting the home, the author Pearl S. Buck wondered, “Why should that fiery, honest, impatient spirit have come from such a house…?”

More photos in this series, for another time!

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Disclosure: I spent two hours “shopping” WordPress blog themes, trying them on in the Preview dressing room, rejecting those that made my name look fat, felt constricting or didn’t seem like they would wear well.

Then I fell in love with “Connections” by Patricia Muller, vanillamist.com

Loved the name, the green, the evocation of the mysterious, almost primal thrill of travel through a tunnel. But mostly it was the eyeglasses (well, they look like eyeglasses to me) that suggest Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s billboard in “The Great Gatsby.”  Done deal. I’m a big Fitzgerald fan. Some day I may post a photo my husband took of me clinging like a shameless groupie to the statue of Fitzgerald in downtown St. Paul. It’s part of a strange, ongoing photographic series titled My Wife With Great Writers. Other highlights of his collection include me making Hemingway’s bed in Key West and me set to make a getaway, bag in hand, from Sinclair Lewis’ house in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Sorry, I don’t know you well enough to explain that yet.

Already I can tell this blog will become an undisciplined mix of musings, free of Twitter’s “140 or bust,” less professionally focused than my “PR Camp with Kathe Stanton” podcasts or the pickings at kathestanton.com

Onward, beneath the spectacles of Dr. T.J.!

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