In Oklahoma , September means football season. We do not have a major league football team in this state, but that’s fine because our college teams are just as good. Almost everyone here either follows college football, or lives with someone who does. In my home both of us avidly support our alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, aka OU.
The University of Oklahoma Sooners
In Oklahoma , September means football season but that may not be true of September 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined all sports, forcing the coaches and athletic directors into a “huddle” to find a safe game plan for return to plan.
Almost everyone here either follows college football, or lives with someone who does. In my home both of us avidly support our alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, aka OU.
The OU Sooners football program has won 7 national championships and 7 players have received Heisman trophies. More importantly the team never fails to show their fans exciting, hard fought games. Even when they lose, they do so with plays that keep us guessing what’s going to happen next and wondering how such talented athletes can end up with the losing score. No wonder their motto is “Boomer Sooner”.
The OU campus in Norman Oklahoma has a state of the art stadium and houses the Barry Switzer Center. The center was named after OU’s all-time winning-est head football coach, who led his Sooner teams to three national championships, 12 Big Eight Conference championships and eight bowl wins in 13 appearances.( He went on to coach the Dallas Cowboys, winning a Super Bowl championship. )
At the center is the LegendsLobby, a museum of OU football memorabilia. If you visit the center in Norman Oklahoma, here are a few things you will see. (Due to an NCAA regulation, the center is not open on game days.)
“Stay in your books,” he said. “If you have even a glimmer of a dream of what you want to do later in life, don’t be afraid … if you want to do X, don’t let somebody tell you you should do A, B and C,”
Darrol Ray, retired professional football player
Barry Switzer’s autobiography is an interesting read. It’s calledBootlegger’s Boy.
” Taking a decade-by-decade approach to the University of Oklahoma football tradition, this collection brings together over 40 stories from the most outstanding voices of the program.
The spirit of Sooners football is not captured by just one phrase, one season, or one particular game; instead, the student-athletes and coaches who made the magic happen over the decades blend their experiences to capture the true essence of their beloved school.
Sooners fans will relish the intimate stories told by the figures they have come to cherish.” Amazon
If you buy at these links, with our thanks, this blog can earn a small commission for support.
The University of Oklahoma is not just about sports. The school excels in the fine arts and has a first class medical school, among other disciplines. See more of what the campus offers –
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This past summer my husband and I visited Michigan for the first time and stayed in a charming little town, Boyne City.
Raymond and I at the marina
hardware, art, and dancing
Old City Park
“where life meets lake”
While visiting friends there, we learned that Ernest Hemingway’s family owned a cottage on near-by Walloon Lake. Unlike his home in Key West Florida, the Michigan property is a private home and in recent years was purchased and renovated into a beautiful modern structure which still preserves the spirit of the original home, where Ernest’s mother Grace lived. Here is a link to an article about the new house with photos that show how beautifully the new owner has honored the Hemingway family.
Working with local builders, the new owners “set out to modernize the cottage while making every attempt to take it back visually to the early 20th century, when Grace Hemingway summered here—and her son Ernest would row over from Windemere, the family cottage across Walloon Lake to work on the farm.
For recreation, he’d hike down Sumner Road to the tiny hamlet of Horton Bay where he became friends with the Dilworth family. Hemingway readers will remember the Dilworths from the Nick Adams stories that Hemingway penned in Paris where he and his new wife, Hadley, moved after their wedding in Horton Bay. And after they’d spent their first night as newlyweds in Grace Cottage. ” (from the article by Lissa Edwards)
The discovery was interesting none the less, and we understand why his family enjoyed living in the area. The towns are old and historic, the architecture quaint , the landscaping beautifully tended, and the lakes and boats beckon even land lubbers like us. Here are a few photos from this recent trip, followed by a past post where I explain what I learned from visiting Hemingway’s Key West home.
The house, on the National Register of Historic Places, has been preserved as it was when he and his wife Pauline lived there and is open to visitors, like myself, when I visited there a couple of years ago.
This entire house, and especially the narrative of his life (as related to us by our verbose tour guide) is itself a study of a man whose life and career was largely shaped by mental illness.
Ernest Hemingway displayed mood swings and abused drugs and alcohol. Despite numerous psychiatric hospital stays where he was treated with ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, he struggled with chronic depression.
He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head in 1961.
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The challenge of mental illness
Mental illness often runs in families. Ernest’s father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, a gynecologist, suffered from manic-depression and died by suicide. Ernest and his siblings likely inherited it from their father.
Sadly, it did not end with him. His granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway, a fashion model and actress, dealt with depression, alcoholism, and bulimia.
She died from an apparent intentional drug overdose at age 42.
Her sister Mariel reflected on her family’s troubled history in
Ernest Hemingway could not attend the ceremony to receive his Nobel Prize. He wrote a short speech which was read by John C. Cabot, the Ambassador to Sweden. In that speech he wrote,
“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”
At least 40 to 50 cats live on the grounds of the Hemingway House; many of them are descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cats. They live peaceful, serene lives, far different from the people who lived there long ago.
This house was built for the cats who live at Hemingway’s home in Key West
This is is named Humphrey Bogart, after an actor who played in one of Hemingway’s movies
“Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers or individuals themselves begin to recognize small changes or a feeling that “something is not quite right” about their thinking, feelings or behavior before one of these illnesses appears in its full-blown form.”
“Excitement about the huge range of opportunities has led to a burst of app development. There are thousands of mental health apps available in iTunes and Android app stores, and the number is growing every year. However, this new technology frontier includes a lot of uncertainty. There is very little industry regulation and very little information on app effectiveness, which can lead consumers to wonder which apps they should trust.” (affiliate link used)
“The most important thing to remember about suicidal thoughts is that they are symptoms of a treatable illness associated with fluctuations in the body’s and brain’s chemistry. They are not character flaws or signs of personal weakness, nor are they conditions that will just go away on their own. “
Thanks for joining me to tour the unique home of Ernest Hemingway, using photos I took myself.
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