Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hunter S

The front page of the Williamsport Sun Gazette had a story about Hunter S. Thompson. Apparently, he worked at the newspaper in Jersey Shore, PA. Jersey Shore PA is the teeny tiny town where I grew up. The article said he worked at the newspaper; at the same time my uncle worked there. Therefore, my uncle was there when Hunter S began....

For some reason, the Williamsport Sun Gazette will only let you view the picture and not the actual article, so here is a pretty interesting link to a short biography about him. Below is the part that talks about Jersey Shore:

Hunter began his career in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, where he served as a sports writer for the local paper. From there, he took to the road as a correspondent for such diversified publications as Time, Cock-Fight Journal, the New York Herald Tribune, Rolling Stone and a bowling tabloid in Puerto Rico. It was a magazine article in The Nation, at a time when Hunter �couldn�t even get wino�s work,� that prompted the initial book offers. In 1966 he published his first book, Hell�s Angels, and Hunter�s role as demented observer of America�s seedy underbelly was cast.

OK, so he only talks about it for like 2 seconds, but still. In Hunter's book "Songs of the Doomed: More news on the Death of the American Dream" the first chapter is about Jersey Shore.

6 comments:

Mal said...

I've been trying to place the dates Hunter actually worked at the paper in Jersey Shore. As best I can tell it was probably around 1958 when he left the Air Force. My family lived in Jersey Shore for generations so that brief chapter of his had me rolling on the floor laughing when I found it some years ago. If you grew up there before 1989 you probably saw my great aunt on the porch in her wheelchair at the old mansion, Grey Wing Hall, at 320 S. Main. I imagine her as probably having met Hunter though it's unlikely. My uncle probably missed him by a few years, living there in the early 1960s and involved in poilitics - he probably knew your uncle. I'm curious if the Williamsport paper had much to say, or cited people who remembered him, or if your uncle remembered him. By Hunter's own account he was probably only there a month or two, if even. But his story in his book captures the essence of how dead Jersey Shore always seemed to me when visiting even years later in the 70's and 80's and it was hilarious to see his connection there and his story of hightailing it out of town after his disastrous date with a co-worker's daughter.

ShellBug526 said...

Wow, I know the house you are talking about and I think I even know your grandmother. I will not mention her name on here though. From 1987- 1989 I delivered papers with my brother and I remember delivering there. She was sweet, I really liked her. I have not yet seen my unle to ask him if he knew Hunter S. I loved the way he described the place, it is 2005 and hasn't changed a bit. The paper didn't really say much, just showed the place where he lived and talked to the people who live there now.

mal said...

Thanks, it's cool to think you remember her. She was actually my great aunt, she died around 1990 at age 91. Anyone who drove around Jersey Shore probably knew her by sight at least as she seemed to spend a few hours a day sitting on that porch watching the world go by.

Did it say where HST lived? My grandfather was born in the brick house across the street long since turned into run down apartments. I think of Jersey Shore as the typical dead small town America people probably can't wait to leave behind.

Hunter apparently slandered other small towns too - there's an editorial reprinted from 1964 attacking him for his view on Butte at http://www.mtstandard.com/articles/2005/05/21/featuresbigskylife/hjjejeiejbeeja.txt

ShellBug526 said...

Yes, he lived on Alleghany Street. Do you remember the dumpy little bar called the Hole in the Wall uptown near Weis? He lived on top of there.

Sorry, I actually did read your post and saw that it was Great Aunt. She was very sweet to me when we went to collect, she always invited us inside. The house is falling apart now, it is really sad, I used to dream about living there.

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