On May 27, 1961, publication of "The Girl from California." The New Yorker. Assembly.

Barbara Wade was born in Montana and moved to Los Angeles when she was two years old. She made  it big in film, and so did Vincent Merino. They are now in their early twenties and newly married and being chauffeured in a limousine from New York to Trenton, New Jersey to meet Vince's family, who live in a working-class neighborhood "  a detached white frame house which (has) a front porch, a front and back yard, and a one-car garage in the rear."

"We're gonna both of us eat plenty of fat  where we're headed for. Today you forget about the calories. And don't be nervous. Take it easy. My fathernmother are no more different than your fathernmother. My mother ain't even Italian."
"The meal proceeded, and since they were all good eaters, the conversation was incidental to the enjoyment of the food .... "

   "Let's go sit in the front parlor," said Kate Merino (Vince's mother). "It's nicer in there."
   "What's wrong with here? I like sitting around the table," said Vince.
   "The dirty dishes. Come on everybody. Andy, bring two chairs for the Appolinos."

The story, with its descriptions and dialogue (mostly dialogue) captures the setting perfectly -  O'Hara the social historian at his best.

On the way back to New York Barbara and Vince have this conversation:

   "You knew it was going to be like this?"
   "It could have been a lot worse," said Barbara. "You showed good sense leaving. They hate us, they all hate us. Either way, they hate us. If we're nice, they hate us just as much as if we treat them like dirt. ... Families...They're just like everybody else..."

No comments: