Thomas Wolfe Thomas Wolfe

(for cover of "The Thomas Wolfe Journal", Winter 2006)
Pen and Ink, 2006
15" wide x 23" high

Growing up relatively near Asheville, I KNEW of Thomas Wolfe by the time I was in sixth grade or so. To be honest, there weren't really a lot of local places where bored&underpaid-school-teachers could haul a busload of kids off for a "field trip"....but the Thomas Wolfe house in Asheville was one of them. I think I went through the place about ten times by the year I was 16.

I recall that, during tours of the house (at which time, thank you, you were still likely to find Wolfe's last surviving brother doing something vaguely proprietary at the front door), we'd all have to stop and have it forcefully impressed on us that THIS WAS THE ROOM WHERE THOMAS WOLFE'S LITTLE BROTHER DIED OF PHNEUMONIA AND THAT'S WHAT MADE HIM WRITE THE FAMOUS BOOK ABOUT THE ANGEL IN THE GRAVEYARD! Then, we were told that his mother was short-on-money and was Very Mean, but that's why he became a famous writer in New York City, right?....Then?... we'd be shepherded into a room where we could view Actual-Copies of his books.....all displayed under a long glass-topped table, and each the weight of a large ham.

In short?...it was a place where a teacher could easily creep-out a group of 14 year-olds and make sure they all stayed quiet on the bus back to Johnson City..

An arsonist burnt down the house ("the Old Kentucky Home") a few years ago, but I hear they've built it back up again.

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