More than a footnotePTSD Patrol
April 20, 2020
My buddy Gunny likes to try to top me on discovering things I did not know. Well, he succeeded this morning. He told me about Martha Gellhorn. Funny thing is, he stumbled on her looking for something else.
As I listened to him tell me a little bit about her, I thought it would be a very inspirational story to share, especially while most of the country is under shelter at home restrictions. We all need something to inspire us, and yes, that includes me too.
It is very hard to even attempt to find something inspirational to share, when you do not even want to get out of PJs. Lately either I have been on Facebook sharing videos on cats, dogs or other animals from my sweet friends...or really sick jokes I am usually embarrassed by how hard I am laughing.
Anyway, before I get too carried away with that, back to Martha. She was married to Ernest Hemingway. Noteworthy as it is, they met while she was a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War. She was on the beach on D-Day after being a stowaway and got her hands on a nurses uniform. The list of accomplishments in her life goes on and on, but the thing that got me was, for all she accomplished, she still felt like a footnote in Hemingway's life.
That is exactly how my buddy Gunny found her story...as a footnote.
Martha Gellhorn, Daring Writer, Dies at 89
New York Times
By Rick Lyman
Feb. 17, 1998
Martha Ellis Gellhorn, who as one of the first female war correspondents covered a dozen major conflicts in a writing career spanning more than six decades, died on Sunday at her home in London. She was 89.
Ms. Gellhorn was a cocky, raspy-voiced maverick who saw herself as a champion of ordinary people trapped in conflicts created by the rich and powerful. That she was known to many largely because of her marriage to Ernest Hemingway, from 1940 to 1945, caused her unending irritation, especially when critics tried to find parallels between her lean writing style and that of her more celebrated husband.
''Why should I be a footnote to somebody else's life?'' she bitterly asked in an interview, pointing out that she had written two novels before meeting Hemingway and continued writing for almost a half-century after leaving him.
As a journalist, Ms. Gellhorn had no use for the notion of objectivity. The chief point of going to cover anything, she felt, was so you could tell what you saw, contradict the lies and let the bad guys have it.
"Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival."Martha GellhornRight now, it is hard to get through all of this but that quote is something we should hang onto. "Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival." No matter how bad it is right now, when you think about all the things this woman went through, she survived all of it and lived to a good old age.
If it sucks for you right now...like it does for most of us, try to think back about other times when it sucked. When you didn't know how you would get passed it and then suddenly you did. We will get passed this too and there will be joy again. We will see our family and friends again. We'll be able to hug our kids and grandkids. We will get through this because right now there are angels moving all around us to make this world a better place in whatever way they can.
Enjoy the following about Martha and trust me, you jaw will go back into place when you are done with this.
A Memorial for the Remarkable Martha Gellhorn
The New Yorker
By Sam Knight
September 18, 2019
The writer Martha Gellhorn, who reported on the Spanish Civil War for The New Yorker, and from the beaches of D Day in a nurse’s uniform. Photograph from AP / Shutterstock
Gellhorn was born in St. Louis, in 1908. She moved to Paris when she was twenty-one, to write novels, and found her journalist’s voice during the Depression, while reporting on the lives of textile workers for the Federal Emergency Relief Association. She became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, who invited her to live at the White House for a while.
Her first war was the Spanish Civil War, which she went to cover in 1937. “I was always afraid,” she wrote, “that I would forget the exact sound, smell, words, gestures which were special to this moment and this place.” Gellhorn’s writing was percussive and intimate. She was an exceptional witness. In an early piece, for The New Yorker, a convoy of tanks in the dark outside Madrid looked “as if six boats, with only their harbor lights showing, were tied together, riding a gentle sea.” She married Ernest Hemingway, in 1940; they divorced five years later.
On D Day, Gellhorn stowed away on a hospital ship and reported from the beaches in a nurse’s uniform. Her stories of war were populated by anonymous stretcher bearers, exhausted truck drivers, German prisoners of war, Vietnamese mothers, female prisoners in El Salvador. “I always liked Tolstoi’s crusty remark that ‘governments are a collection of men who do violence to the rest of us,’ ” Gellhorn wrote in the 1986 introduction to “The Face of War,” a collection of her reporting. “But now I think the old Russian was a prophet.”
Twenty years after her death, Gellhorn’s young chaps remain protective of her achievements. Since 1999, the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism has been awarded for work that exposes what Gellhorn called “official drivel.”