Salinger, St. Paul, and Stalking: Mr. Tempone Talks Authors

Brianna Yang Staff Writer IMG_3783 Photo: Carli Kovel If you’ve heard that Mr. Tempone stalked J.D. Salinger when he was younger, you would only know half of the truth. He did not follow Salinger around but actually drove to Salinger’s house by following the cryptic directions of a biography. For all the adventure seekers out there, finding Salinger’s house is pretty tricky. Mr. Tempone had to get past the covered bridge, make a left, then pass the Saint-Gaudens Historical Site, the old Cornish Colony, the Blow-Me-Down Mill, and turn right at the Chase Cemetery. As Mr. Tempone’s wife read aloud that the house should be through the trees on the hill in front, he looked up and saw Salinger’s house through the trees on the hill in front of him. It’s a giant house that’s matched by an equally giant mailbox. In an alternate universe, Mr. Tempone would have carefully placed his manuscript into the box and addressed it to Jerry because only friends call him Jerry, and Jerry would have read the manuscript, loved it, and published it. But Mr. Tempone lives a spontaneous life. To him, it’s not about the carefully planned out casual bump-in with a famous author at their local Starbucks or the specific day he should set aside to find Salinger’s house and deliver his manuscript, it’s more about drinking in the atmosphere and experiencing life like his favorite characters. In fact, Mr. Tempone does stuff like this all the time. During the last project week, Mr. Tempone lead a group to St. Paul to experience the city from the eyes of F. Scott Fitzgerald. When he lived in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, he did a reading in the house and barn of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. He hopes to visit the Oak Park house of Ernest Hemingway or travel from Oklahoma to California like characters in John Steinbeck’s novels. If he weren’t a teacher, Mr. Tempone would be a curator of a literary museum and delve deep into the life of one specific author. He mused over his retirement plans, hoping to do tours in the future because “the people who most excite [him] are ones who talk passionately, kind of the crazy people who [have great stories].”]]>