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Many Pottsville residents did not like Appointment in Samarra. They were angry with John O'Hara for what they perceived to be direct references to real-life people. Here's some dialogue at the end of "A Case History," Assembly (1961).

               "Like that piece of tripe Dr. Malloy's son wrote a few years ago," said McHenry.
               "Oh, but that was a novel. Fiction. He made that all up."
               "But he certainly gave this town a black eye..."

O'Hara stayed away from Pottsville for many years. The few times he did visit were in such a way so as to avoid recognition as much as possible. But forty-one years later he did return in broad daylight:

Here's an except from a March 21, 1968 letter:

In December I went back to Pottsville to a party which was attended by the people I have known all my life, in a club where my father once lived, on the street where I was born. For the first time since 1927, when I left Pottsville, I had a good time there, recalling people's middle names and old sweethearts and so on. On our way back to Princeton I said to Sister that I enjoyed the feeling of rediscovering my roots, indeed of really discovering them for the first time. At twenty-two I was too young to have anything but roots; at sixty-two the tree had become (I fancy myself as a sturdy oak type) was something more than a stick pushed hapohazardly into the ground.

Selected Letters, page 508.

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