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Vaughans Vocabulary Play is a play on words from Death of a Salesman

November 11, 2010


Three of my Theatre Appreciation students acted out a scene from the play I am writing.
The title is a line from Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”; Bernard tells the tired, frustrated Willy Loman, “Don’t take it so hard.” Vonda Eckford, the protagonist, becomes the manager of her late father’s radio station in Hays, Kansas. In addition to taking his death very hard, she is bitter over a breakup, which was as sudden as her father’s death. His reappearing in her life is as equally sudden.
My title also came from a Paul Revere and the Raiders song from the spring of 1968, the time of the story. The band is in concert at Hays State and stops by her station; the lead singer gives her advice.
I like the name Vonda Eckford. The name Vonda resonates with femininity. Eckford is the name of the doctor who brought me into this world on November 14, 1957.

1. Which one is not part of Death of a Salesman?
A. Biff Loman
B. Miss Forsythe
C. Happy Loman
D. Eddie Carbone

Carbone is the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge.”

2. The name Vonda means
A. fun loving.
B. loving woman.
C. strong voice.
D. spellbound.

I learned that the origin of the name Vonda is Czech, and its meaning is loving woman.

3. Who was the lead singer for the aforementioned rock band?
A. David Gilmour
B. Mark Lindsay
C. John Kay
D. Greg Munford

Gilmour, Kay, and Munford were lead vocalists for Pink Floyd, Steppenwolf and Strawberry Alarm Clock, respectively.

4. femininity (fem-uh-NIN-i-tee)
A. womanliness
B. strapping
C. intrepid
D. enceinte

The only noun above is the correct response.

5. decollete (day-kahl-TAY)
A. a characteristic feature or quality conferring prestige
B. wearing a strapless or low-necked dress
C. a tossed salad including romaine, garlic, anchovies
D. None of the above

A is a definition of cachet. C is a definition for Caesar salad. Johnny St. John tells Vonda, “The last time we were together, you were 20 and I was 20, the fall of 1958, Hays State. The only thing that’s changed about you is, you didn’t wear glasses and have your hair in a bun. Your beautiful brown hair used to cascade past your shoulders. I remember that decollete dress.”
Decollete was last week’s mystery word.
The first four letters in this week’s mystery word, which means an insatiable desire, are also the first four letters in the name of an evergreen tree whose seeds or beans are used to make chocolate. I give the accented syllable in the mystery word the “we” sound.

Contact Don Vaughan, Ph.D., at

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