Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-2

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The Man Who Loved Levittown

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pp. 3-22

YOU realize what I had to do to get this place? It was thirtyodd years ago come July. I'm just out of the Army. Two kids, twins on their way, a wife who's younger than I am, just as naive, just as crazy hopeful. We're living in the old neighborhood with my folks four to a room. All along I've got this idea. Airplanes. P-40s, these great big 20s. We're slogging through...

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If a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood

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pp. 23-38

THEY had lasagna for Thanksgiving dinner that year. The meatless kind. From a can.
"Nothing like the smell of a good bird in the oven," Mike Senior announced, scraping his boots on the doormat, inhaling.
"Uh, Pop?" Janet whispered....

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The Lob

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pp. 39-56

IF Richard Uncle Richard were a tennis shot, it would almost certainly be a lob. Tall, balloon-faced at thirty-four, he seemed, as he sat fussing with his racket off to the shady side of the patio, like someone drifting into an imminent and not particularly difficult smash....

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The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant

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pp. 57-64

THERE was a summer in my life when the only creature that seemed lovelier to me than a largemouth bass was Sheila Mant. I was fourteen. The Mants had rented the cottage next to ours on the river; with their parties, their frantic games of softball, their constant comings and goings, they ap~ peared to me denizens of a brilliant existence. "Too noisy by half,"...

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Nickel a Throw

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pp. 65-78

THESE are the things Gooden sees from his perch eight feet above the dunking tub at the Dixford Congregational Church's Charity bazaar.
The sun touching the ridge on the river's western shore. Orange, underlining of black....

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Why I Love America

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pp. 79-94

THE station was better. All he needed there was a bagthe bag that had come home to him when Rufus Junior was killed-and the transit goons would leave him alone. "Going on Washington," he would mumble when they shook him awake. "Going on Baltimore, going on D.C." They were too stupid to ask for his ticket. He would watch them slouch across the...

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Narrative of the Whale Truck Essex

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pp. 95-102

THE whale died somewhere in Kansas and it's a miracle we even got that far. The owners lost interest when attendance fell off and they began cutting back on the krill. The last shipment in Topeka had been a clear as weak consomme-its tail barely quivered when we pumped it into the tank....

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Volpi's Farewell

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pp. 103-112

THE sixth grade is doing La Boheme in English-an abridged version especially for children. Volpi sits in the principal's office waiting for the performance to begin.
"You have to be so careful in casting the students," the principal says, glancing down at a sheaf of test scores a secretary has just placed on his desk. "Your son is a good example of what I mean." ...

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North of Peace

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pp. 113-124

ARE there laundromats in Russia? Little machines that vend coarse Soviet soapsuds, changemakers for reducing rubles into kopecks, huge Socialist dryers? Sanders wondered about this every time he pulled the peace van into a new Wash N' Roll or Suds Bucket or Mr. Kleen. He'd like a crack at one...

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Spitfire Autumn

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pp. 125-146

THE funny thing is neither of us had even seen a Yank before much less danced with one. Here he was, a little dark man on crutches standing in the corner of the pub chewing a chocolate ice cream where what we expected was a tall dreamy cowboy with pistols and high boots. The very first Yank ...

Other Works in the Series, Back Cover

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pp. 147-BC