A young man from Oak Park, Illinois, volunteered to serve as an American Red Cross ambulance driver, stationed at Italy in the First World War. Another young man, from New York (who spent his adult life in Barrington Hills), signed up, too. Ernest Hemingway and Bill Horne were teens, and they joined more than 100 other men on the ship to France, then by land to Italy.
Ernest and Bill returned to the United States and became roommates in Chicago for a while. They remained lifelong friends, seeing each other in Wyoming, in Key West, and in Cuba. A mystery remains whether Ernest ever came to Barrington. If he did, Bunny and Bill Horne’s children report they never saw him there, though that may have been the idea—that no one was to find him. We may never know. What we do know is that Ernest Hemingway was one of the most influential, famous, and important writers of the 20th century. Yet he inherited and experienced trauma, and resulting mental health issues, that would plague his adult life and be passed on to some of his children and grandchildren.
In June, Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel, came to Barrington. She embodies the family legacy—yet has spent much of her life re-examining that legacy. For Mariel, the mission has been to find the balance between loving and embracing her extraordinary family yet breaking with the painful elements of the past. She joined Victoria Di Iorio and the Chang family as a celebrity ambassador at the official opening of a new Healthy Home in town.
“A Farewell to Arms” is Hemingway’s novel that echoes his time in Italy. It is one of the most-read war novels of the 20th century. No survivors of World War I remain, though there are a few veterans who are with us from the Second World War. In Barrington, VFW Post 7706 held its last Memorial Day Ceremony on May 31. It will disband as a group of Foreign War Veterans, possibly to reorganize in another way. No matter what, we will never forget them.