THE JAMES JONES LITERARY SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

Vol. 10, No. 3,
Spring, 2001

Editor
Thomas J. Wood

Editorial Advisory Board
Dwight Connelly
Kevin Heisler
Richard King
Michael Mullen

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
wood@uis.edu.

Writers guidelines available upon request and online.

The James Jones Literary Society
http://jamesjoneslitsociety.vinu.edu/

Online information about the James Jones First Novel Fellowship
http://wilkes.edu/~english/jones.html


 

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, not walk.

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!

--Carl Becker

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 Sackrider

(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.


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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 Youngs presiding.

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 Symposium
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 Country Club.

7 p.m. Board Dinner at Quail Creek (Pre-registration and payment required). Entertainment: The Sunshine Sisters.

Saturday, November 10

8-8:50 a.m. Registration at Lincoln Trail College

9-9:50 Annual Society Board Business Meeting

10-10:40 Awards Recognition

First Novel Fellowship Award

George Hendrick Research Award

James Jones Creative Writing Award for Crawford County students

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 writing.

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), talespress@comcast.net .

 

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