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Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the Road with Ernie Pyle

OK, maybe Kerouac met Slim Gaillard on his road travels, but my choice for a coast-to-coast travel buddy would have to be Ernie Pyle. I had always dismissed Ernie as that "There are no atheists in foxholes" WWII correspondent, until I read his travel dispatches that appeared in 24 newspapers across the country from the mid thirties until the early 40s. He wrote six days a week, a thousand words each, telling amazingly simple stories about American all over the country. His specialized in the misfits who lived life their own way. And I guess Ernie was one of them.

No links here, but if you're wanting to get a feel for the soul of America in the 1930s, get a copy of "Ernie's America: The Best of Ernie Pyle's 1930s Travel Dispatches".


Evan said...

Good for you, Ange. When people talk about Ernie Pyle (if they talk about him at all), they only seem to mention his war correspondent years. His earlier writing has been sorely neglected.

Pyle once suggested that a sign should be erected near his hometown of Dana, reading, “Three Miles South is the house in which E. Pyle, Indiana’s great skunk-trapper, jelly-eater, horse-hater and snake-afraider-of, was born. In his later years Mr. Pyle rose to a state of national mediocrity as a letter-writer, a stayer in hotels, a talker to obscure people, and a driver from town to town.”

He also suggested that six life-size statues of himself be placed across Highway 36, so that when tourists ran into them, they (or at least their heirs and assignees) would know whose hometown they were near.

Yeah. I'm a fan.