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A ‘MILKMAN’ WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT \(Hugh Russell Fraser, whose piece on the Texas Press in Harper’s recently stirred a good bit of interest, sent the Observer this “Inside Texas” interview with the presidential candidate who lives in SAN ANTONIO True, I had a little difficulty finding the man. However, since he was the only life-long resident of Texas ever to run for the presidency,I was determined to see him. It isn’t every year that a Texan is defeated in a bid for the White House. Every conceivable ob stacle seemed to be thrown in the way. First, I discovered that few living San Antonians ever heard of the street he lives on. A voice on the phone told me go out Broadway, one of the city’s main drags, and I would find Marcia’s Place. Actually, I located it only after hiring a grocer’s boy to lead me to it. It turned out to be a street less than a block long, nestled in San Antonio’s fashionable Alamo Heights. With a sigh of relief, I found the number 121. There I was told I would find Dr. H. M. Shelton, a naturopath and the Vegetarian Party’s candidate for President. At the door I was greeted by a black-haired, buxom 17-year old girl, a picture of health if I ever saw one. She invited me to sit down in the living room while she herself perched on the arm of an upholstered chair. presume you are Dr. Shelton’s daughter”, I began rather awkardly, “and you are going to high school?” At this she burst into laughter, then stood up holding her sides and finally fell helplessly into the chair, still laughing. I wondered if it was possible that vegetarians don’t go to public schools, and that I pulled some terrible boner. I started to apologize when she straightened up, and managed to gasp out: “I am twenty-seven years old.” A victory for vegetable, doubtles, I thought, but henceforth I decided to be more cautious. “You voted for your father, I assume?” “That I did,” she said gaily, “and early.” “Early?” himself on the arm of an upholstered chair. It was obvious he didn’t think much of the idea of delivering milk to my house. As to the law, however, he said it was only against the law in the city. Beyond the city limits I might find some dairy where I could easily get raw milk. “But you deliver it to Dr. Shelton,” I protested, “why can’t you do the same for me? And by the way, I have an appointment with Dr. Shelton now. Wonder where he is …” “I am Dr. Shelton,” said the Man. “You!” I exclaimed, “Why, this … this girl said you were the milkman!” “0, I know,” he replied, smiling, “she likes to call me that.” “So you were the vegetarian Hugh Russell Fraser Party’s 1956 candidate for president?” He nodded. I looked at him sharply. He was a small man with black hair, partly bald in the Ei. 7 senhower manner. He had bushy black eye-brows and deep-set eyes. While his face had many fine lines, it appeared to radiate health. His voice was loW and he spoke clowly. The manner of the man interested me. It was one of sympathy. Somewhere along the line, the thought passed through my mind; he had encountered pain, whether physical or mental or both I could not decide. Apparently, he was now about 62 years old. “WHAT do you think of the election result?” I began. “Well, of course I didn’t expect to win, yet people forget there are some 3,000,000 vegetarians in the United States and if they ever get together …” He left the sentence unfinished. “I know,” I replied. “But how much of a vote did you get, all told, I mean?” , “That’s just it,” he said, sadly.. “We don’t know. We never know. We never will know: It’s that way. The vote is counted, but not reported.” “You mean,” I said, “the total is never computed?” “0 yes, it may be counted, but if it is not reported at the pre cinct and district level, how is anybody going to know?” His voice was sad and a trifle exasperated. “This is not my first experience running for office,” he continued. “The first was back in 1932 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was winning in. a landslide. I was running on the Socialist ticket for state representative. Right here, in my own district, they counted me outofficially, I mean. I know I got at least 400 votes in this precinct, but they reported me as getting only 4 votes here: Why, there are more than that number in my own family who voted for me!” I brought him back to the 1956 election. “Did you make any campaign this time?” I asked. “0 yes, if you call it that. I was in California and CBS had me on the network for three minutes. My running mate, Symon Gould of New York, was on, too. He deals in rare books and has an office at 117 West 47th Street” “But,” I asked, “how did the nomination come to you? How did they find you way down here in San Antonio?” “Well, you see,” he replied, “I used to write for Bernar MacFadden’s old New York Evening Graphic. I wrote articles on health and such. A lot of folks read me, and they are still writing me about things I used to write. So in July when they held a convention, or might call it a meeting, of vegetarians in New York, they sent me a wire and asked me if I would run for president. They told me that the vicepresidential candidate would be Symon Gould. I wired them that I would accept, and that was that.” “In what states,” I asked, “is the main strength of your party?” “Well, judging from letters and reports that come from the leaders in New York, I would say that the main states are California and New York, with Michigan, Illinois, and New Jersey next in that order. You see vegetarians are everywhere and they are very individualistic people.” “How old is the Vegetarian Party?” “We are fairly young,” he said, “only twelve years old. Our first candidate for president was in 1948 when Brig. Gen. H. C. Holdridge ran.” “But a true vegetarian,” I protested, “doesn’t drink milk. You drink milk. How do you explain that?” “Well, I guess,” he laughed, “you would have to call me a ‘deviationist’ on that.” AS I AROSE to go, I asked him jokingly if he could still deliver raw milk to my house. “I wish I could,” he said, “but I have to go too far to get it myself.” His answer saddened me a little. There was something intriguing about the thought of having milk delivered to one’s door by a presidential candidate. “Of course. You see Margaret Truman always did that.” “So you have something in common with Margaret Truman.” “Something.” she replied in mock indignation. “I told daddy he had one qualification for the presidency. Like Margaret, I am a singer, too. I sing in choirs and at concerts, and I thought of taking it up professionally.” As she spoke, in the open front door walked a coatless man, wearing a blue sport shirt and dark trousers and carrying what appeared to be an old-fashioned three gallon can of milk. “Here comes the milkman!” exclaimed the girl, as the man walked straight back into the kitchen. “Why can’t I get raw milk delivered to my house?” I asked the girl. “0, but it’s against the law!” she said. With that she jumped up, looked at me uncertainly for a moment, then with a quick “Glad to have met you,” she disappeared out the front door. I never saw her again. Meanwhile, the milkman emerged from the kitchen and stopipng for a moment perched Religion in Small Town… a Country Road A Line in the Family Bible ‘In the Sw-e-e-e-e-t Steal not this Book for Fear of shame Heare in you finde the owners name she had written in what was now a battered copy of the King James translation of the Christian Bible. Since my grandmother had attended school only two years, the spelling didn’t surprise me, but her owning a Bible did. For my grandmother, a strong-willed woman of seventy-six, the product of the marriage or a Jewish peddler, Isaac Garmann, and a Cherokee g i r 1 improbably named Emma Highfoot, apparently never even thought about religion. When a neighbor or a relative \(most of our family were nominal Christians by the early she didn’t seem to hear, walked to her treadle sewing machine, and began to work furiously. If she wasn’t working on a dress or a shirt, she would sew away at scraps for quilt top. That always enraged the Christians even more, and furthermore they could be heard muttering, she wouldn’t even read the Christian Bible. Although there weren’t any of our Jewish relatives around to protest, she ‘didn’t read or practice Judaism either, and as far as any of us knew she never mentioned the Cherokee religion at all. When I was growing up, I would try to decide whether she was a pagan or an atheist. Unfortunately, she didn’t give any clues. One time the Baptist ladies decided she was secretly one of them. After my grandfather died, my grandmother moved from the ranch to the small town of Sanos. The only house for sale was next to the Baptist church, and during the early Texas spring she spaded her whole yard and outside her fence towards the church and planted hundreds of phlox, cosmos, zinnias, marigolds. By June her yard was as bright as the vest of Chaucer’s young squire. A delegation. of Baptist ladies came to express their thanks, but before they could get pious, my grandmother announced that she just liked to grow flowers and started sewing. My father when relating the incident never left any doubts about his feelings, for he prefaced almost every statement he ever made by saying he was a Marxist. He did say, pulling the economic mote from his eye and inserting a Freudian beam, that my grandmother had not been interested in growing flowers until after her two young daughters had died of diptheria. She was eventually to the same, and she never pretended they were. Flower gardening was a considerable task in unirrigated Texas, and each of the sons had a quota of stocktank water to carry each day, for well water was not good for flowers. Since the pond was a quarter of a mile away and the quotas were high during the summer, it is understandablie that not ‘one of my grandmother’s sons are now interested in flowers. I saw the copy of my grandmother’s Bible last Christmas when she consented to show snapshots and family pictures she had been saving for sixty years. Always before, when anyone asked about old pictures, she ignored the request and brought out recent snapshots. But on Christmas Eve, after I asked three times, she unaccountably agreed. But it was with reluctance, as if she wanted no violation of the past. She brought out a huge blanket box filled with albums. Turning the pages, she identified the long dead cousins, small Indian girls posing on the desolate reservation, immigrant Jews, the dead daughters, baby pictures of the five sons. About 1920, ten years after her daughters had died, the albums began to contain newspaper clippings also. They always concerned strange or unnatural births and deaths of girls Siamese twins, or even more freakish events. Whatever private release she realized from reading such articles remained her own secret. She didn’t comment on the clippings until she came to the pages given to the death of Emilie Dionne. “That little girl was on identifying pictures. A few minutes later, I picked the Bible from the box. It had been well read, and on a back page, written in pencil, was a note in my grandmother’s hand, dated four years after my grandfather’s death: “Dear Children as I sit here all a lone thinking of all of you and youre dad and the happy days we had together may the gods bless you and when I am ded just lay me by my husband and my girls the ones I love so dearly.” I looked several times; the statement did say gods. She would have ignored a question and started sewing. GEORGE HENDRICK “Isn’t poor old Lydia Goss looking old?” His grandmother spoke as George and his grandmother and grandfather drove home from church on a summer night. The big Buick jolted easily a n d swiftly along the deserted road, past the familiar-looking motts of dark oak trees, and as George sat between his grandparents, with whom he had so often traveled in the Buick, many times along this same country road \(“I thought Brother Breihan did right well he felt quite at ease, even exultant. They paised Louie Stevens’s where the lights were out. “I wonder why they didn’t come tonight?” said his grandmother, and his grandfather who had now taken off his hat and whose neck looked strange above the starched shirt after the blue one he had worn in the pasture all day replied that they were probably tired from shearing. He said no more but drove looking somewhat sombrely down the road. George knew it wasn’t bad temper, but the same look that came over him when he sat looking into the fire or rode meanderingly in the pasture. George’s grandmother paid no attention to it. Up ahead in the lights of the car on animal streaked gracefully across the white adobe road, corning from the bushes and disappearing into them again. “Was that a ringtail?” George asked. “Looked a little like a fox,” his grandfather said. George was usually mistaken, it seemed, when he discussed a thing with his grandfather. He was pleased to hear him answer so politely. “Why don’t you lean your head on my shoulder if you’re sleepy George?” his grandmother asked. The long car moved more ponderously over the mounded pasture road, and though it shook George from side to side he never opened his eyes as he thought of the women singing in high voices “In the sweeeet bye and bye” … “We’ve got to let those calves out tonight,” in the calmest voice of his grandmother’s with just a note of strain on the word calves. He awoke once with his mind smoothly peaceful from the ride that had been filled with the even lulling stream of their voices and the motor of the car, and he asked where they were. “We’re nearly there,” his grandmother said, and he felt the Buick slipping quietly through the walls of shinoak brush at an even strip of road with an occasional limb knocking faintly at the fenders outside. “Well, we’re home,” his grandmother said to him. The car had stopped in front of the house and in the headlights he could see the dogs leaping frantically at the fence with wagging tails and shaking heads. WINSTON BODE THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 Dec. 19, 1956 have five sons, but they were not an epileptic,” she said and went