Ernest Gaines awarded National Medal of Arts

Photo by Jim Santana from the archives of Gus Blaisdell

Photo by Jim Santana from the archives of Gus Blaisdell

Photo of Ernest Gaines by Edward "Ned" Springs

Photo of Ernest Gaines by Edward “Ned” Springs

 The guy in the picture with me is Edward "Ned" Spring.  He was a very good friend of both Gus Blaisdell and me.  We were at Stanford together back in the late 50s.  We used to listen to a lot of Jazz together, drink wine and discuss literature.  Ned use to write liner notes for 33 rpm dust jackets.  He could be extremely funny...He died young.  I think Gus was at his bed side when he died,  Gus called to tell me he had gone to the big PAD in the sky.  He left a wife and two children.  Gus and I were at the memorial. It was very quiet.  Betty, Ned's wife,  wanted it that way.  Just a few close friends.  I think that was the only time I was ever seen to cry.  Ned was quite thin, and Gus always called him The Snake.  He called me Prez, because I wore a hat like the one Lester Young, the great jazz musician, wore.  Gus was good at giving people different names.  "Hey, Prez, the snake has left us "  We had been out drinking at the No Name Bar in Sausalita only a couple of weeks before he died--Me, Gus and Ned.....Ernie>

The guy in the picture with me is Edward “Ned” Spring. He was a very good friend of both Gus Blaisdell and me. We were at Stanford together back in the late 50s. We used to listen to a lot of Jazz together, drink wine and discuss literature. Ned use to write liner notes for 33 rpm dust jackets. He could be extremely funny…He died young. I think Gus was at his bed side when he died, Gus called to tell me he had gone to the big PAD in the sky. He left a wife and two children. Gus and I were at the memorial. It was very quiet. Betty, Ned’s wife, wanted it that way. Just a few close friends. I think that was the only time I was ever seen to cry. Ned was quite thin, and Gus always called him The Snake. He called me Prez, because I wore a hat like the one Lester Young, the great jazz musician, wore. Gus was good at giving people different names. “Hey, Prez, the snake has left us ” We had been out drinking at the No Name Bar in Sausalita only a couple of weeks before he died–Me, Gus and Ned…..Ernie>

5 thoughts on “Ernest Gaines awarded National Medal of Arts

  1. Hey Nick,

    I am Ernie’s step-daughter (when he was with Linda Lawrence), and I remember Ned and Gus and that whole cast of characters.
    My mom and I were actually with Gus and Ernie at Ned’s funeral. It was at the Zen Center in SF, and though it was quiet, there were other folks there. I must have been around 7 or 8 years old. I used to play with Ned & Betty’s kids, and would spend the night over there after Ned passed away.
    I always thought that Fran Ortiz took the pic of Ernie in the paisley Viyella shirt (which my mom had bought for him as a gift). They really all wonderful photos, and I remember Ned and Gus very fondly.
    Just thought I’d pass that along 🙂

    Roz (Rozzie) Arbel

    • Roz,
      Great to hear from you. Thanks for the added information. That paisley shirt on Ernie looks great. As far as the photo credits go, I emailed with Ernie and Marcia Gaudet. She was director of the Ernest Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at the time. She wrote, ” The one with the beret and cigarette is the author’s photo for the First Edition of Bloodline (1968). The photographer is Edward Spring! ” But when I Iook at the shots more closely I believe the paisley shirt shot is later than ’68. It looks different than the Bloodline author photo in many ways. So you may very well be right.

  2. I think it was Beulah Korty (John Korty’s wife) who photographed Ernie in the paisley shirt and beret – when Miss Jane Pittman was being filmed as a television movie, mid ’70’s. The top photo came later. It could be Fran Ortiz’s photo (the top one) but my hunch it was a photo that accompanied a story about Ernie at some point, in the early ’80’s.

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