May 2012

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Several days ago the partners who currently own the John Updike Childhood Home at 117 Philadelphia Ave. in Shillington signed an agreement of sale that  the Society signed last week. So we now have a deal in place to purchase the home with funds generously provided by a foundation to be named once the deal is closed. The sale is contingent upon the Society being able to obtain a variance to operate the house as a historic property.

Here is the article that appeared in this morning’s Reading Eagle:

“Deal reached on Updike home sale”

Another that more recently was published in The New York Times:

“John Updike Society Buys Author’s Boyhood Home for $200,000”

And a view from “across the pond” in The Guardian:

“Have we fallen out of love with John Updike?”

Short answer? No.

If he’s able, senior Boston Globe sportswriter and columnist Bob Ryan, who knew Updike, will address Society members after their tour of Fenway. The Red Sox have made special arrangements for the Society tour to end in the Royal Rooters club, so that we can hear Ryan’s remarks. He’s told us he would like to address the group, but much depends on how deep the Celtics go in the playoffs and when and where games are scheduled.

Updike attended Red Sox games with his college roommate and continued to take in games at Fenway, which turns 100 this year, throughout his life. He made sportswriting history with “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” in describing Ted Williams’ last at-bat in an essay that many have called the best piece of sportswriting ever.

Ryan has covered all of Boston’s sports teams since 1968 and is a regular panelist on ESPN’s Sunday morning roundtable, The Sports Reporter.

It’s not too late to register for the conference, though registration will have to close soon because of the need to confirm a final count for buses and food.

The Second Biennial John Updike Society Conference will be co-sponsored and hosted by Suffolk University from June 12-16. Joyce Carol Oates is the keynote speaker, and in addition to the Fenway excursion, conference attendees will visit Salem, Updike sites in Ipswich, and Updike sites in Cambridge—including a look inside Updike’s freshman dorm room and a tour of Lowell House, where Updike lived his sophomore and junior years. And if you attended the first conference and heard from Updike’s children how he used to take them to Woodman’s of Essex for clams, you’ll know why our concluding dinner is a clambake at Woodman’s (with ribs on the menu as well).

If you still plan on registering, contact James Plath ( as soon as possible.