13 April 2011
The Death Of Tom Wolfe
I can't help but think of Tom padding around his room at the Chelsea Hotel in slippers and a proper dressing gown of the period. His affair with Aline Bernstein ended badly but they kept in touch and you can read their letters here.
Wolfe didn't know he had 18 weeks to live when he wrote this check. He left for a tour of the West and 11 national parks on June 19th. During the two week trip, "Wolfe pounded through two pairs of good pants; his beloved new brown gabardines wore through on the eighth day, and another pair, into which he hastily changed, gave out on the next to last day of the trip." The Death of Tom Wolfe by Elizabeth Nowell, Esquire Magazine, April 1961.
Wolfe died September 15th, 1938 just 18 days before his 38th birthday. His last letter was to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Scribner's whom he had fought with and left for Harper and Row.
"...I had this 'hunch' and wanted to write you and tell you, no matter what happens or has happened, I shall always think of you and feel about you the way it was that fourth of July day three years ago when you meet me at the boat, and we went out on the cafe on the river and had a drink and later went on top of the tall building, and all the strangeness and the glory and the power of life and the city was below. Yours always, Tom"