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Nash, Edith / Practice the here and now: selected writings of Edith Nash

Nash, Edith
Homework excuse,   pp. 16-17

Page 16

Homework Excuse
 I was a senior at Oak Park and River Forest Township High School in 1928-29
and my favorite teacher was Miss Essie Chamberlain. My 16" birthday came
just after graduation in June, 1929. One time I met my best friend Carol's
fabulous brother when I went to have supper at her home — and I did
not get my homework for English done. So I wrote Miss Chamberlain a letter,
a homework excuse.
 Many years later, at a 65th high school reunion I got to read this letter
in the Hemingway room at the High School. I was glad I save everything.
To Miss Chamberlain for her personal (very) perusal — Please read it
(but not carefully) for it is spontaneous
 I had imagined he would either be silent and contemptuous of family, friends,
and Oak Park, or else loquacious and dogmatic, He was neither. He was brotherly;
he was sonly; he was fatherly; he was comfortable; he was courteous; he was
funny; he was a laughing, happy kid.
 He was showing some pictures, snaps of his friends. "This is John Dos Passos,"
he said. "The only thing I remember about him is his ' Lines to a Lady,"
he laughed. "The only part of that I read was the last couple of verses in
italics, and the only reason I read those was because I sang them to him
one night in a tent in Spain." Mr. Forever-The-Fond-Parent (Dr. Hemingway)
broke in with, "How do you like Lord Jim?" He said, "Darn good book," and
added in a voice so low that only the rug and I heard, "Better book than
I'll ever write."
 He insisted on fist fights with everyone. He loved to throw his small niece
up into the air and in a gruff tone say, "Do you love your Aunt Ernie," to
which she would always reply, "Yes," and she would be brought down to earth.
He told about Ford Madox Ford and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his small son,
Bumbie (John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway), and barracuda

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