Every year I make the trek to Torcello....an island in the Veneto.
It takes a little over an hour from San Zaccaria vaporetto stop in Venice..with two changes.
I love the leisurely trip...a trip back in time!
In two words...Locanda Cipriani.
It's the restaurant that Hemingway would visit...staying in the rooms above.
The staff was very interested in my story about Paul boxing with Hemingway.
When Paul was 15 he worked out in Brown's Gym.
Here's the story....I'm quoting from one of Paul's old mailbag columns....SI August 23, 2003.
"Now the questions about my past. Did I really box with Ernest Hemingway?
Yes. My best friend in high school was Paul Lansky, whose father was, well, you know who. We wanted to be fighters, so after school we used to to go down to George Brown's gym on West 57th Street in NYC to train. Brown had been the trainer for the old middleweight champ, Harry Greb. It was kind of a celebrity gym and Hemingway was the No. 1 celebrity. He liked to get in the ring, and they'd put me in with him because we were about the same size, although I was only 15 and 16 at the time. Brown's instructions to me were always the same. No right hands. He didn't want some wild-assed high school punk driving away his best customers. I have to laugh when I hear descriptions about how good a fighter Hemingway was. Actually he was a big, burly guy who liked to try to maul you in the clinches. You had to watch yourself. What the experience did for me was to develope a good left hand, since, as I mentioned, I couldn't use the right.
Hemingway was a well-liked figure in the gym. A nice, friendly guy. He'd come in there hungover a lot of the time, and wrap himself in some sort of rubber thing and get into the steam room to sweat out the booze. Then he'd get into the ring. His nickname at Brown's was Broadsides. Paulie, my buddy, became captain of the West Point boxing team. A fine little lightweight. I never did much, although I was never knocked off my feet. Oh yes, what's my favorite of Hemingway's writing? Has to be a short story, since I've always felt that he was better at story-length than novel-length. Probably a story called 'The Light of the World', about two prostitutes. of of whom claimed to have known Stanley Kitchell, the middleweight champ."
You never know in life...when some past experience will come in handy. The strokes left Paul initially with no use of his right hand. Maybe some of his old training helped him get used to using his left hand? We start 'restraint therapy' tomorrow. You have to limit the use of your strong hand and use the weaker one....over and over.....and over....
Wish us luck...yes I'm saying us. I have to actively participate.
So not only wish us luck...wish ME patience!
Here's a link to Locanda Cipriani.
ps The top photo is the view from our table in the dining room.
It is a lovely way to spend an afternoon....an old-world experience with a lovely staff...and a room full of memories!!
It is one of Paul's fondest Venetian memories!