Ernie Pyle home

Imagine my surprise when I found an Ernie Pyle book at the Clarkdale, AZ library. Oh wait. You can’t. I don’t often talk about my fondness of Ernie Pyle’s work, and unless you are an Indiana newspaperperson or read the newspapers during World War II, you might not have heard of him.

Years ago I visited this famous Hoosier’s home in Dana, Indiana, which as I remember was Northwest of Terre Haute. But his home in town was not his true boyhood home–he lived in the country during his earlier years. And years before ever visiting Dana, I planned my future destiny by imagining myself writing news copy at Ernie Pyle Hall at Indiana University’s campus. When in high school, I did spend a week at Ernie Pyle Hall during a journalism conference. When I was a freshman at IUB, I started as a journalism major but changed over to Slavic Studies. It was a dumb move on my part and I suffered four years of hard studying because of it. But then, I digress.

I own an original copy of Ernie Pyle’s War, when the journalist served behind the lines writing about the soldiers he met and lived with during those terrible years. Now I can read Ernie’s take of his stay in the southwest. His “nephew” Bob Bales penned the book’s illustrations. All this feels like discovering an old friend among the stacks of books in the little Clarkdale library.

I will leave you today with this quote from Ernie:

“Phoenix and Tucson do not seem to me to be part of the southwest. They are too Chamber-of-Commerce, too resort. You might as well go to Miami Beach as to Tucson.”