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                                                             The Vernacular

In a March 14, 1939 letter John O'Hara complained to New Yorker editor William Maxwell:

Then the next proof has a query about cribs. Now how many people know that a crib meant a kind of whorehouse? They exist in only a few places - Reno, New Orleans ... on the other hand ... crib is a derogatory term for a night club, like flea-bag for hotel. I wish to hell there would be an end to this quibbling about my use of the vernacular. Even if people don't get it at first, they will. I was the first person ever to do a piece about double talk, and God knows a lot of people still don't know what it is, but that was several years ago that I did a piece (in The New Yorker), and several things in that piece have become established slang. It is a point of artistry with me. I like being first in these things, but you-all make me nervous.

On March 14, 1964 "The Victim" was published. The New Yorker. The Horse Knows the Way. Gibbsville, Pa.

Here's the opening paragraph.

One night Leonard J. Kanzler was on his way home from work - he was a pharmacist at Smith's drug store and it was his turn to close up on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays - and a man stepped out from behind a chestnut tree and blocked his path. "Put up your hands," the man said.

Cathy Fiorillo, Professor of Theatre at Penn State (Schuykill Haven) adapted and directed this short story and three others as one act plays. In July 2008 Jenny and I saw this production at a dinner-theatre event in Pine Grove, about twelve miles southwest of Pottsville. We loved it.

The three other stories were "Afternoon Waltz," "The Hardware Man," and "The House on the Corner."

Cathy Fiorillo also condensed the 847 page From the Terrace into a ninety minute play. We haven't seen it.

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