Three Stories


On October 7, 1967, publication of "Barred." The Saturday Evening Post. And Other Stories. Gibbsville, PA.

Gibbsville, probably in the twenties. College student Jimmy Bresnahan makes a date with Nora Muldoon but she stands him up. Jimmy learns that the reason is that she knows he got caught in the local whorehouse. Enraged, he plots his revenge. Nice ending.

Before he asks Nora out, he seeks advice from a co-worker:

   Jimmy discussed the problem with an older man, the chief of the surveying party, who had lived all over the world and had what he called his own personal League of Nations - his recollections of the women he had slept with. "Well, if she's as pretty as you say," said McDowell, "you can ask her anything, provided you ask her in the right way. The pretty ones you don't have to worry about. The homely mutts are the ones who sic the dogs on you. Now this kid knows you were pinched in a whorehouse, so she isn't expecting any saint. If it was me, I'd go right up to her and say, 'What about
it?' But I don't live here, and you do. I can afford to put it all on one roll of the dice, because I'll be getting out of here after Labor Day. Don't be shy. One time in Mexico City I made a play for my boss's wife, expecting to get fired and sent home. It turned out quite the opposite. She said if I hadn't made my play when I did, she was going to make the first move herself. You never know what's in their minds."

October 7, 1961, publication of "Call Me, Call Me." The New Yorker. Assembly. The New York Stories. Joan Hamford is an older actress. She's insulted by the small part offered her in a Broadway play. She rejects it. There are other John O'Hara stories about aging actors who realize they are on the way out.  

On October 7, 1939, publication of "Avast and Belay." The New Yorker. Pal Joey.
A Pal Joey story. War has just broken out in Europe. An acquaintance advises him to join up when America gets in and make lots of money entertaining the troops, like what famous band leader James Reese Europe did in 1917.

From an October 7, 1927 letter: I have with me only the clothes on my back, shaving kit and one toothbrush and a towel. I also have a Penn State banner for my back . . .

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