Ping Pong with Henry Miller

 

Many know of Henry Miller's years in Big Sur, but few are aware that his first home on the coast was in the Log House, above Nepenthe. Novelist Lynda Sargent took in the penniless Henry Miller and gave him a place to set up his typewriter during the day and lay his head at night.

It is rare to meet the person who has heard the story of novelist Lynda Sargent, who lived in the Log House after it was the Trails Club and before Lolly and Bill bought it and built Nepenthe, and who took in the penniless Henry Miller and gave him a place to set up his typewriter during the day and lay his head at night...

Miller and Sargent didn't get along so well, but they say you could hear the sound of their two typewriters clacking away from the highway!
Miller eventually found his own place on Partington Ridge, but he came back frequently after Nepenthe was built. Bill Fassett liked to tell the story of Henry's mid-night dreaming that brought him to his door late one winter night.

"Damn it, Fassett," Henry raged. "My astrologer came to me in a dream and said I'd beat you at ping-pong tonight, and damned if I won't!"

Daddy Bill said he trounced Henry with little fanfare, while Lolly sat quietly by and knitted. "Time to get yourself another astrologer," she commented as Henry went back into the night.

Henry Miller and Bill Fassett play Ping Pong one night at Nepenthe

From Henry Miller's Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

"There is another family I cannot pass over without a word or two, since here, once again, the children dominate the scene. I mean the Fassett family whose abode is "Nepenthe", one of the show places along the Coast.
Lolly and Bill, the parents, are busy seven months of the year running the establishment, which specializes in food, drink and dancing. The kids - - up until recently, at any rate - - specialized in raising hell. All five of them. The point about the Fassett youngsters is this - - they give the impression of playing at being children. They revel in the fact that they are just kids, and that it's the business of kids to have a good time.
For inventiveness they are hard to match. Entering their quarters, if it's an unexpected call, you have the feeling of being introduced to a simian world. It's not only the chatter, the monkeyshines, the acrobatic, hair-raising stunts they put on, it's the pandemonium they know so well how to create, and delight in creating - particularly when papa and mamma are not hitting it off so well. But who would think of raising the word discipline in their presence? Discipline would be the death of them.


NEPENTHE

48510 Highway #1, Big Sur, California 93920

(831) 667-2345

Fax: (831) 667-2394

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