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                                                       Emotions and Memories

John O'Hara was born in 1905, I was born 35 years later in 1940, yet in this passage from Imagine Kissing Pete we both share the exact same emotions and memories - his from the early twenties, mine from the late fifties. Thank you, Mr. O'Hara.

After I became reconciled to middle age and the quieter life I made another discovery: that the sweetness of my early youth was a persistent and enduring thing, so long as I kept it at the distance of years. Moments would come back to me, of love and excitement and music and laughter that filled my breast as they had thirty years earlier. It was not nostalgia, which only means homesickness, nor was it a wish to be living that excitement again. It was a splendid contentment with the knowledge that once I had felt those things so deeply and well that the throbbing urging of George Gershwin's "Do It Again" could evoke the original sensation and the pictures that went with it: a tea dance at the club and a girl in a long black satin dress and my furious jealousy of a fellow who wore a yellow foulard tie. I wanted none of it ever again, but all I had wanted to keep. I could remember precisely the tone in which her brother had said to her: "Are you coming or aren't you?" and the sounds of his galoshes after she said: "I'm going home with Mr. Malloy." They were the things I knew before we knew everything, and, I suppose, before we began to learn. There was always a girl, and nearly always there was music; if the Gershwin tune belonged to that girl, a Romberg tune belonged to another and "When Hearts Are Young" became a personal anthem, enduringly sweet and safe from all harm, among the projected memories. In middle age I was proud to have lived according to my emotions at the right time, and content to live that way vicariously and at a distance. I had missed almost nothing, escaped very little...

On February 13, 1937 The New Yorker published the short story Give and Take. It appears later in Files on Parade. You can access all these from the magazine's website.

On February 13, 1970 the author began the sequal to his novel The Ewings. It was never finished, as he died two months later.

Thanks to member Richard Rabicoff for sending me this about Margaretta Archbald Kroll: Born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on April 29, 1899 to James Archbald and Margaretta Thomspson. Married Frederick Kroll. Died 2000 in Kirkland, Washington. Note the birth date makes her six years older than John O'Hara, not four as we all were told.

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