"Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" and "Just Before the War with the Eskimos" "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut"
A woman named Mary Jane has just arrived at the house of her friend and old college roommate, Eloise. Neither of them ever graduated, the narrator tells us. Eloise left college mid-sophomore year “after she had been caught with a soldier in a closed elevator on the third floor of her residence hall.” Mary Jane left around the same time to marry an “aviation cadet.” (The marriage didn’t last long: the cadet “spent two of the three months Mary Jane [was] married to him in jail for stabbing an M.P.”) Mary Jane and Eloise share gossip and reminisce about the old days, drinking highballs in the living room. We learn that Eloise’s husband is named Lew. Mary Jane asks Eloise how she is “getting along” with Lew’s mother. “Don’t be funny,” Eloise responds. The alcohol flows, Eloise plays cop in a joking stick-up – “Don’t nobody move” – and the talk shifts to Akim Tamiroff, a movie actor whom Mary Jane claims to have seen last week in Lord & Taylor’s, and to former college roommates the two women have recently run into. Ramona, Eloise’s daughter, arrives. Eloise beckons her over to speak to Mary Jane. Ramona has an imaginary friend, whom she calls Jimmy. After an ellipsis, we find Eloise and Mary Jane deep in conversation about a man named Walt. We learn that Walt was a former love of Eloise, who tries to explain to Mary Jane just how funny he was. “Once,” she says, “I fell down. I used to wait for him at the bus stop, right outside the PX, and he showed up late once, just as the bus was pulling out. We started to run for it, and I fell and twisted my ankle. He said, ‘Poor Uncle Wiggily.’ He meant my ankle. Poor old Uncle Wiggily, he called it…” Mary Jane asks if Lew has a sense of humor. Eloise shrugs: “I guess so. He laughs at cartoons and stuff.” It is clear that she is unhappy in her marriage, and the memories of Walt have stirred her in some profound way. She...
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