THE JAMES JONES LITERARY SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
Vol. 10, No. 3,
Thomas J. Wood
Editorial Advisory Board
The James Jones Society Newsletter is published
quarterly to keep members and interested parties apprised of
activities, projects and upcoming events of the Society; to promote
public interest and academic research in the works of James Jones; and
to celebrate his memory and legacy.
Submissions of essays, features, anecdotes,
photographs, etc., that pertain to author James Jones may be sent to
the editor for publication consideration. Every attempt will be made to
return material, if requested upon submission. Material may be edited
for length, clarity and accuracy. Send submissions to:
Thomas J. Wood
Archives/Special Collections, LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
P.O. Box 19243
Springfield, IL, 62794-9423
Writers guidelines available upon request and online.
The James Jones Literary Society
Online information about the James Jones First Novel Fellowship
On the Trail of Jones and Prewitt in Hawaii:
JJLS Members Becker and Thobaben Recreate their Kolekole Hike
[Carl Becker and Robert Thobaben are
veterans of the Pacific Theater in WWII and now teach at Wright State
University in Dayton, Ohio. They first recreated Robert E. Lee
Prewitt's fictional hike to Oahu's Kolekole Pass in 1991. Earlier this
year they again made the hike. Here is Carl Becker's account of their
adventure. - ed.]
As many members of the Society know, Bob Thobaben and I went
to Schofield Barracks in Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands in 1991 and there
recreated Robert E. Lee Prewitt's hike to Kolekole Pass, as
immortalized in James Jones's Eternity (Captain Dana "Dynamite"
Holmes, commanding G Company had meted out the hike as punishment for
Prewitt's insubordination). We also visited a number of sites in Oahu
described by Jones - Wu Fat's, where the men of the company had Won-ton
soup; Keemoo Farm, where they often had breakfast; Makapuu Point, where
the company dug gun emplacement on the eve of the attack on Pearl
Harbor; the Waialae golf course, where Prewitt died in a sand trap; the
Secret Cove, where Milt Warden and Karen Holmes argued; and so on. We
made a video of our peregrination and later showed it at the 1991
Symposium [check]. Our venture, I should note, was an outgrowth of our
visit to Schofield in 1990 when we met Herb Garcia, then curator of the
museum of Jones's Twenty-fifth Division. Garcia had questioned the
accuracy of Jones's description of the Japanese attack on Schofield.
In any case, we returned to the islands in 1991
and have been returning ever since. In the past few years we settled
down in a condominium in Hawaii, the "Big Island," for a month or so.
Last year I casually mentioned to Bob that we should return to
Schofield in 2001 and recreate the hike again. It would mark, I said,
the sixtieth anniversary of Prewitt's hike and the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor, the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Eternity,
and the tenth anniversary of our hike. Returning home, we discussed the
proposal again and tentatively decided to try the hike again. (I think
we were influenced by all the hype about "The Greatest Generation," of
which we were members.)
Next we decided that we would invite Andy
Rooney of CBS to join us. After all, he had served in the Army during
the war and had written a book (My War) about his experiences.
We did not receive a response from him for many months. When he did
write, it was to decline our invitation: he said he preferred to run,
But we had sent a copy of our letter to Jim
Baldridge, the news anchor of WHIO-TV, the Dayton affiliate of CBS. Jim
was a Vietnam veteran and had been in the islands on several occasions.
He was intrigued by our proposal and considered coming along but could
not. But he did get in touch with a friend at KITV, the ABC station in
Honolulu, and arranged for the station to cover our hike. Baldridge
then intended to use material from this coverage for a segment on his
newscast in Dayton.
We still were a little tentative about
recreating the hike. We would have to bear the expense of flying from
Hawaii to Oahu and renting an automobile there. But soon after we
arrived in Hawaii, we received an e-mail from Jim Baldridge asking us
to call Paul Udell of KITV to fix a date for the hike. So now we had to
go - and we did. On January 18 we met him, his cameraman Rex, and Amie
Alie, a media relations person from Schofield. For nearly five hours
Rex chronicled our hike, taking innumerable shots of us at many stops
where we recited appropriate passages from Eternity and Bob
played his bugle - indeed so many stops that we did not have time to
cover the entire hike (at one point, Rex shot our reflections in Bob's
bugle). We then drove about thirty miles to the Secret Cove and Makapuu
Point, where again Rex made detailed shots of us. Altogether, he spent
more than seven hours with us. We assume that the two stations split
the cost of following us.
I returned home early in February, but Bob
remained in Hawaii. Soon after my return to Ohio, KITV in Honolulu ran
three short segments of our hike in about five minutes. That hardly
seems worth the effort of seven hours of camera work, but we are told
that that is a substantial amount of time for a newscast. I have not
seen these segments.
Then on February 28, Baldridge ran his edited
version for about five minutes on WHIO in Dayton, which is the dominant
TV station in the region. He integrated film of the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor, clips from the 1953 Eternity film, a picture of
the novel, and so on. But largely he followed us, noting that we were
old soldiers on the "long side of seventy." Bob spoke about the power
of Jones's book, and I said that we intended to repeat the hike in 2011
when we would be eighty-six years old. Jim also gave us a plug for a
course that we'll be offering at Wright State on the Japanese-American
war in the Pacific - "The War without Mercy."
The segment has earned good "reviews." I have
received a number of phone calls from friends asking me for my
autograph, which for a fee I am willing to provide!
January 18, 2001: Bob Thobaben and Carl Becker began their
hike at Quad B at Schofield Barracks. A cameraman from KITV, Honolulu,
records the scene.
Thobaben and Becker at one of the gun emplacements set into
the volcanic rock at Makapuu Point. Jones and Company F manned these
emplacements after the raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Becker and Thobaben at the lookout at Kolekole Pass.
Hendrick, Howe and Sackrider Book Now Available
James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony
By George Hendrick, Helen Howe, and Don
(Southern Illinois University Press, 180 pages,
$17.95 paper, $39.95 cloth, released April 25)
James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony
by George Hendrick, Helen Howe, and Don Sackrider is the story of one
of the most unusual writing colonies anywhere, any time. A first-rate
human-interest story, the book is also a valuable folk history of the
Handy Colony for writers in Marshall, Illinois, its founders, Lowney
and Harry Handy, and its star pupil, James Jones.
Even before his wound at Guadalcanal landed him
in a Memphis hospital in 1943, Jones suffered profound personal
tragedy: he experienced Pearl Harbor, his mother died, and his father
killed himself. Lost, aimless, Jones drank heavily, often picking bar
fights. A concerned aunt took him to see Lowney Handy, and unpublished
and unconventional writing teacher who virtually controlled his life.
Lowney and her husband Harry (a local oil refinery superintendent who
supplied the cash) took Jones into their home. Lowney, Jones's writing
teacher, evolved into his lover.
Lowney instructed young writers to copy the
works of successful writers to copy the works of successful writers
before she let them begin their own works. It was an eccentric theory
that gained credibility because of Jones's fabulous success with From
Here to Eternity and Some Came Running. James Jones and
the Handy Writer's Colony (180 pages, $17.95 paper, $39.95 cloth,
released April 25) is the story of the colony, which continued until
Lowney's death in 1964, even though Jones withdrew his financial
support when he and Lowney ceased to be lovers. It was a dangerous
break-up: When Jones married the beautiful Gloria Mosolino, Lowney
tried to stab the bride with a knife.
In James Jones and the Handy Writer's Colony,
the right authors tell a fascinating story: Helen Howe knew all the
people in the colony, Don Sackrider was the second student at the
colony, and George Hendrick edited Jones's letters. They have at their
disposal a splendidly eccentric cast of characters, from Jones and
Lowney Handy on down.
George Hendrick served as first president of
the James Jones Literary Society, and edited To Reach Eternity: The
Letters of James Jones.
Helen Howe taught American literature,
composition, and creative writing at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson,
Illinois, before her retirement. Her husband, Tinks, was a childhood
friend of James Jones.
Don Sackrider, a retired airline pilot, was
born in Robinson, Illinois and became the second student of the Handy
Colony (James Jones being the first).
James R. Giles, Jones scholar, wrote: "[This
book is a] valuable folk history of the Marshall, Illinois, Handy
Colony for writers and of its founders, Lowney and Harry Handy... The
story of Lowney Handy and the Marshall colony for writers, while
forgotten now, was in fact an important moment in Illinois, Midwestern,
and American literary history."
--Dan Seiters, Southern Illinois University Press
James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony
is available at an introductory 20% discount. The following form may be
used to order copies directly from the publisher.
Business Department . Southern Illinois
P.O. Box 3697 · Carbondale, IL 62902-3697 ·
800-346-2680 · FAX: 800-346-2681 www.siu.edu/~siupress
Please send _____ cloth copies of James Jones and the
Handy Writers' Colony @ $32.00 each
Please send _____ paper copies of James Jones and the
Handy Writers' Colony @ $14.50 each
SHIPPING: Please include $4.50 for domestic shipping for the
first book, $1.00 per book thereafter; Illinois residents include 6.25%
sales tax. Overseas customers should include $5.00 for international
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JJLS Society Board Member Margot Nightingale dies.
Margot Nightingale, former secretary and membership chair of
the James Jones Literary Society, died on Friday, April 20, 2001, in
her home in Robinson, Illinois. The memorial service was held at
Pulliam Funeral Home in Robinson on Saturday, April 28, the Rev. Louis
The family asks, in lieu of floral tributes, that memorials be
made to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, 27001 Agoura
Road, Suite 150, Calabasas Hills, CA 91301-5104.
She is survived by her husband, David Nightingale, also a
charter member of the Society. The body will be cremated, and the ashes
scattered at the Carrowkeel neolithic burial site in County Sligo,
Ireland, a place beloved by the Nightingales
Tentative Schedule Set for 2001 James Jones Literary Society
in Robinson, Illinois.
The James Jones Symposium Committee met at
Lincoln Trail College May 7 to set the program for the event, scheduled
for November 10, 2001. JJLS Board Members Jack Morris, David
Nightingale, Diane Reed, Maxine Zwermann and Ray Elliott were present;
Jo Wachtel, the LTC contact, and Arden Sackrider also attended. Times
and program are tentative and subject to change.
Friday, November 9
3 p.m. Pre-symposium board meeting at
Maxine Zwermann's home.
6 p.m. Cocktail hour at Quail Creek
7 p.m. Board Dinner at Quail Creek
(Pre-registration and payment required). Entertainment: The Sunshine
Saturday, November 10
8-8:50 a.m. Registration at Lincoln
9-9:50 Annual Society Board Business
10-10:40 Awards Recognition
First Novel Fellowship Award
George Hendrick Research Award
James Jones Creative Writing Award for Crawford
10:45-11:15 Mike Lennon presents First
Novel Fellowship Award winners and runner up..
11:20-Noon To be announced.
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch at the LTC cafeteria
Book signings for authors (John Bowers, George
Hendrick, Helen Howe, Kaylie Jones, Jon Shirota, Don Sackrider et al.)
1-1:50 John Bowers (former colony
member, author of The Colony and other books) address and insights
about The Colony
2-2:50 Panel discussion by former Colony
members/friends with John Bowers, Helen Howe, Jon Shirota and Don
Sackrider on the effectiveness of the Colony in teaching creative
3-3:50 To be announced.
6 p.m. Cocktail hour at the Elks
7 p.m. Dinner at the Elks
(pre-registration and payment required)
8 p.m. Dramatic reading of "The Last
Retreat" by Jon Shirota
Sunday, November 11
9 a.m. Post-symposium board meeting at
Maxine Zwermann's home.
Please address questions, comments and
suggestions for the program to Ray Elliott, (217)244-6145, (217)
333-9882(fax), email@example.com .
Have you moved? Planning to move? Send us your
change of address!
Please send changes of address to:
James Jones Literary Society
P.O. Box 68
Robinson, IL 62454