Literary North Carolina: Carl Sandburg
This is a photo of Carl Sandburg’s home, Connemara, in Flat Rock, North Carolina, which is south (I think) of Asheville, not too far, and is apparently now a retirement community. I can see why–it is quite beautiful and peaceful and charming.
I never knew that much about Carl Sandburg, except for the "fog creeping in on little cat feet" poem, and, of course, he was pretty much a household name when I was growing up. But he was a social activist all his life, and a musician and a poet and biographer of Lincoln. He won two Pulitzer Prizes.
He married his wife Paula in the 1920s and she could well have become a typical wife of the era, not doing much except supporting her husband in his endeavors. However, she became interested in raising goats and she was the one who instigated the family’s move from Michigan to North Carolina, because she wanted more room to raise goats. And I love this–she became a world-renowned expert on goats. The farm today still raises goats.
The Sandburgs had three daughters, only one of whom married and had children. The other two lived with their parents all their lives. One of them had epilepsy back in the day when nobody knew how to deal with it, and the other was mildly retarded from being hit by a car.
But what a place to live–the house perches at the top of a green hill that flows down to a pond and Sandburg loved to hike the trails around the house. On his 87th birthday he partook of his favorite kind of exercise besides walking–lifting an Adirondack chair above his head multiple times. The house is full of books–thousands of volumes–which are all being painstakingly taken care of, down to preserving his bookmarks in them. Sandburg’s other love was music, and that is much in evidence in the house also, with his grand piano and guitars. Also many stacks of old magazines. My kind of place!
Connemara is well worth a visit if you are in the area.