On this day in 1910, O. Henry died.
William Sydney Porter. O. Henry was his pen name. Born– and I know this for a reason having to do with Kat and her husband– in Greensboro, North Carolina. Lovely wedding it was.
According to that infallible source, his life was not dull. On the lam
b [stupid auto-correct] in Hondouras he wrote Cabbages and Kings in which he coined the term “banana republic, … a phrase subsequently used widely to describe a small, unstable tropical nation in Latin America with a narrowly focused, agrarian economy.” Just right, infallible source. That’s exactly what that term means.
Wife dying. Returned to Austin. Surrendered. Guilty of embezzling $$854.08 from his former bank job. Prison. Had trained as drugist. Prison night drugist w/ nicer digs than a cell. Starts writing under pseudonym– obs, he in prison. Released after three years for good behavior. Moves to NYC, starts really writing. Drinks way too much. Dies.
Daily Reading June 5
Restless, shifting, fugacious as time itself is a certain vast bulk of the population of the red brick district of the lower West Side. Homeless, they have a hundred homes. They flit from furnished room to furnished room, transients forever – transients in abode, transients in heart and mind. They sing “Home, Sweet Home” in ragtime; they carry their lares et penates in a bandbox; their vine is entwined about a picture hat; a rubber plant is their fig tree.
Hence the houses of this district, having had a thousand dwellers, should have a thousand tales to tell, mostly dull ones, no doubt; but it would be strange if there could not be found a ghost or two in the wake of all these vagrant guests.
Well. That infallible source alerted me to O. Henry’s surprise endings and I must say, I was surprised.
Stay well. Stay safe. Keep Reading.