Hub Fan Bids Updike Adieu
He was by no means my favorite writer.
For the most part, I could take or leave his novels.
I enjoyed reading his short stories, but there was a sameness about them that I eventually grew weary of, the same affluent, suburban, Ivy League WASP adulterers appearing time and again. And, to me, the stories had an evanescent quality. I would finish reading one, then have to ask myself what was it that I had just read.
But for all that, I absolutely loved his writing, and I don't think that there was ever a sentence of John Updike's that I found less than perfect, that I didn't love reading.
Years ago, I had a minor squabble-debate with my husband over the importance, the merits, of literature. Ever the pure economist, he was on the side of unimportance. I left in a minor huff, heading over to Cambridge - probably for a writers' workshop - and there, on the Red Line, in the very car where I was sitting, was John Updike.
Just seeing him there, I felt vindicated, as if I had won a no-win argument with Jim. I smiled all the way to Cambridge and back.
I was not at Fenway Park the day "The Kid" played his final game for the Red Sox, but in July of that year, my father had taken us to a game so that his kids would be able to say that they'd seen Ted Williams play ball.
The Red Sox - a hapless team that season - did manage to beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4. And Ted Williams, "The Kid," hit a home run.
Just as he did in his last at bat in September, 1960, with John Updike there to witness it.
He wrote about the event for The New Yorker, in what has to be one of the greatest essays ever written about baseball: "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu."
Adieu, John Updike, adieu.