In Memoriam: Art Buchwald 1925 – 2007

Posted: January 19, 2007 in Literary Passages

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Art Buchwald wasn’t supposed to have lived to see 2007, but for whatever reason, whether blind fate or just sheer cantankerousness, survive he did for almost a year after he’d checked into a hospice to die in February of 2006.

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After cheating death, Buchwald spent a summer on Martha’s Vineyard working on what would be his final book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye. Seizing his opportunity, in true dedicated journalist fashion, he wrote about his life and a lot of people who’d been a significant part of it. Knowing full well he was on borrowed time, he made jokes at his own expense. As Tom Brokaw wrote:

” What we have here is a national treasure, the complete Buchwald, uncertain of where the next days or weeks may take him but unfazed by the inevitable, living life to the fullest, with frankness, dignity, and humor. ”

Art Buchwald died January 17, ultimately losing his battle with his failing kidneys. After being given a reprieve from death he’s quoted as having said, “So far things are going my way. I am known in the hospice as The Man Who Wouldn’t Die. How long they allow me to stay here is another problem. I don’t know where I’d go now, or if people would still want to see me if I weren’t in a hospice. But in case you’re wondering, I’m having a swell time – the best time of my life.”

More on Art Buchwald’s life and contributions to American letters can be found at Wikipedia. An article on his passing was printed in the New York Times yesterday.

” Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got. ”

– Art Buchwald

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