by Edward Ellis
for the Havelock News
Havelock makes an appearance — albeit brief — in the June 12, 2006 edition of The New Yorker. Former Marine Corps Corsair pilot Samuel Hynes is featured as author of an article in the nationally distributed magazine in which he describes his tenure at Cherry Point during the early 1950s.
“No. 12 Kimes Street was a house in Married Officers’ Quarters, outside the main gate of the air station,” Hynes writes in the lengthy story Meeting E.P.: A Marine Pilot’s Literary Mission. “The address was Havelock, North Carolina, but there wasn’t much of a town there.”
Kimes Street is located in the Hancock Village housing area off Fontana Boulevard. When Hynes lived there, he says “every house on Kimes Street was exactly like all the others: a one story cube with two bedrooms, a picture window that looked across the street at an identical picture window, and a screened-in porch on the side.”
Hynes observes that the houses “were all painted the same color, inside and out-Marine Corps cream.” The writer, who later in life was a professor at Princeton University and a prolific author, writes that the families who lived in Hancock Village “were identical: one captain, one captain’s wife, and two captain’s children.” He describes the common backyards, the swings, slides and sandboxes, and notes the big drainage ditches necessary because the “land had been a swamp before it was an airbase.”
Hynes tells of his Cherry Point service with a Ground Control Intercept squadron and his experiences flying the famed “gull-winged” Corsair. He says that at Havelock he and his family shared “a comfortable, everyday life, such as a grocer or a dentist might live in any American suburb.”
The bucolic existence in Havelock, punctuated by the thrill of flying, serves as the launch pad for the tale of Hynes’ transition to the literary world.
The article traces his introduction to the “E.P.” of the story, none other than Ezra Pound, the American expatriate poet, musician and “modernist” social revolutionary. Hynes interviews Pound in an insane asylum near Washington, D.C. The writer’s connection with Pound leads to his introduction to the world of European literary elites and his further success after his service in the Marine Corps.
A citation at the Penquin Publishing Web site says Samuel Hynes “is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of several major works of literary criticism, including The Auden Generation, Edwardian Occasions, and The Edwardian Turn of Mind. Hynes’s wartime experiences as a Marine Corps pilot were the basis for his highly praised memoir, Flights of Passage. The Soldiers’ Tale, his book about soldiers’ narratives of the two world wars and Vietnam, won a Robert F. Kennedy Award. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in Princeton, New Jersey.”