Remembering James Thurber

Whenever we are in Columbus, we try to visit the childhood home of James Thurber, one of America’s wittiest satirists and someone we have both always enjoyed.

On this trip, the sweet not-so-little Thurber house was dressed up for Halloween – for reasons that would have escaped him, and certainly baffled us.

All New Yorker faithful know Thurber. Just seeing some of his drawings and dog effigies makes one smile. And in the center garden on his street, which has only been half ruined, there is the unicorn that features in his story, “The Unicorn in the Garden.”

The inside contains mostly period pieces rather than Thurber family furniture, but the effect is charming overall – except for the Halloween cobwebs and other paraphernalia.

The house has always been a mecca for other writers, many of whom have left their photos and inscriptions behind to mark the moment. (Many have also gotten to sign the inside of James’s closet – a great honor.) There is also a writer-in-residence program that allows the anointed to live on the third floor of the house, where one assumes they hear things that go bump in the night, seals barking and have Walter-Mittyish dreams on occasion. What fun.

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