I have written here more than once about my being born in Barcelona in 1935
That was less than 12 months before the grim clouds of Spanish fascism morphed into a officer led rebellion against the liberal socialist Republic that had been voted into power in a recent election in the seesaw battle between all the opposing political forces in Spain pre-WW II.
It is with some pleasure that I read “Hemingway Reports Spain Part I” in TNR book section this morning:
It was a lovely false spring day when we started for the front this morning. Last night, coming in to Barcelona, it had been gray, foggy, dirty and sad, but today it was bright and warm, and pink almond blossoms colored the gray hills and brightened the dusty green rows of olive trees.
Then, outside of Reus, on a straight smooth highway with olive orchards on each side, the chauffeur from the rumble seat shouted, “Planes, planes!” and, rubber screeching, we stopped the car under a tree.
“They’re right over us,” the chauffeur said, and, as this correspondent dove headforward into a ditch, he looked up sideways, watching a monoplane come down and wing over and then evidently decide a single car was not worth turning his eight machine guns loose on.
Hemingway’s clear prose style gives me an indelible picture of the Spain of 1938 when my father was deciding, while enduring the onslaught of daily bombings in Barcelona by Italian aircraft from Majorca, when to leave that beleagured city.
Less then 12 months later he and the rest of our family were in Paris, which was clearly in the way of Hitler’s helter skelter plans to defeat the armies of the European democracies before undertaking the final fatal battle against the USSR.
It’s odd how writings from that time, like Hemingway’s don’t go away, They just keep popping up when and where I least expect. These writing only remind me about my unfinished writing job.
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