Deal Reached On John Updike Home Sale

John Updike giving the 2008 Jefferson Lecture ...

John Updike giving the 2008 Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Found via USAsearch.gov]. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The John Updike Society has signed an agreement to buy for $200,000 the late author’s childhood home in Shillington, Pa.

James Plath, president of the 250-member society, said in a press release Wednesday that the agreement is contingent upon receiving a zoning variance to operate the house as a historic site.

Updike lived in the two-story home at 117 Philadelphia Ave. for the first 13 years of his life before moving to a family homestead in Plowville.

The author, who died in 2009, was heralded for his literary style and prolific output, including the four “Rabbit” novels, which often evoked Berks County places and geography. The last two, “Rabbit is Rich” in 1981 and “Rabbit at Rest” a decade later, won Pulitzer Prizes for fiction.

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Poe Fans Call An End To ‘Toaster’ Tradition

1848 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe at 39, a...

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BALTIMOREEdgar Allan Poe fans waited long past a midnight dreary, but it appears annual visits to the writer’s grave in Baltimore by a mysterious figure called the “Poe Toaster” shall occur nevermore.

Poe House and Museum Curator Jeff Jerome said early Thursday that die-hard fans waited hours past when the tribute bearer normally arrives. But the “Poe Toaster” was a no-show for a third year in a row, leaving another unanswered question in a mystery worthy of the writer’s legacy. Poe fans had said they would hold one last vigil this year before calling an end to the tradition.

“It’s over with,” Jerome said wearily. “It will probably hit me later, but I’m too tired now to feel anything else.”

It is thought that the tributes of an anonymous man wearing black clothes with a white scarf and a wide-brimmed hat, who leaves three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe’s original grave on the writer’s birthday, date to at least the 1940s. Late Wednesday, a crowd gathered outside the gates of the burial ground surrounding Westminster Hall to watch for the mysterious visitor, yet only three impersonators appeared, Jerome said.

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