Baytown Leaving work late the other night, I walked down the near-deserted street when from behind me came the roar of two racing cars. They shot past, one driven by a girl, the other, open-topped, occupied by two young males, their long hair aripple like pennants in the rush of air. Streaking axle to axle, inches part, they hurtled past an amber light, jounced with syncopated head-bobbing on the railroad track, and roared away, maintaining their intimate and dangerous proximity. Driving home, I rode much of the way behind a rickety, too-heavy house trailer with an inverted pyramid of glass forming the small rear window. Inside could be seen the silhouettes of two embattled children. The taller, a girl, rained blows at the head and shoulders of her antagonist. Her blows, the downward clubbing motion peculiar to feminine pugilists, were plainly visible, but the counter-attack was not. It seemed to consist of more orthodox straight-from-the-shoulder punching and so probably came from a younger, shorter brother. That night at home I read of 15,000 motorcyclists descending on Laconia, N.H., for the 44th Annual New England Tour and Rally. During the height of the festivities passing cars were overturned and burned, police waded into rock-hurling rioters with clubs whirring, 70 were injured and 34 went to jail. Police confiscated stilettos, switchblades, and bicycle chains which had been employed by some of the visitors as brass knucks. The transient commingling of ecstasy and agony known as youth causes its victim to perform in curious ways. It’s the times, we tell each other, nodding sagaciously. Who knows when the nuclear holocaust is coming? They’re just living it up while they can. But are the times really more uncertain? Does anybody remember getting out of school during the depression and finding out that nobody nowhere wants to hire any kid to do anything? Or walking straight out of sophomore English class into an induction cen MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each the Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. MONDAY LUNCHEON CLUB meets on 3rd floor, McFarlin Auditorium, S.M.U., Dallas, each Monday at 12:00 noon. Join us if you are in town. WORK PARTIES every Sunday afternoon in Austin, 2:00 p.m., Texas Society to Abolish Capital Punishment, 3014 Washington Square. ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a word. We must receive them one week before the date of the issue in which they are to be published. ter, brief recruiting weeks, and the meat grinder known as World War II? There are plenty of us old gaffers who remember. Then what is the difference? It’s economic, mainly. The cornucopia which pours out air conditioning and sleek, fast cars and televisions and mass luxury also erupts with the curse of the teenagers, lack of challenge. Today a kid who has never earned a dime drives a car that costs as much as his father earned the first two years he had a job. The son wears a suit whose price would have paid the rent on his newlywed parents’ first home for three months. When he takes his girl out on a big Saturday night date, he spends what would have fed a family a month during the depression. He has never lived in a house that wasn’t air conditioned. Who needs to improve that? So, like the kids in the house Advertisers, too, want in on the Great Society, judging from the following report from the Austin American of June 16: The Austin Advertising Club Tuesday gave Dr. Alan Scott, associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas, authority to carry ideas of the local club to the Advertising Federation convention he will attend in Boston .. . Approval grew out of a luncheon meeting at the Commodore Perry Hotel at which Ray T. Bailey, vice president of Gift Stars Inc., challenged the club to help create a “reservoir of ideas” for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. What better place to start brainstorming sessions for ideas for the President than in the capital of Texas and the home of the President? Bailey asked. Ideas and their contribution to advertising were the subject of Bailey’s talk, which he prefaced with a brief outline of the growth of trading stamps and his own Gift Stars. In 1953, he said, 10% of the nation’s grocery stores gave trading stamps; in MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 trailer, he finds somebody to fight just for kicks. It’s only a phase, parents tell each other, hopefully in hopeless tones. Nowadays, says one, we give them too much. But then she picks up the paper and reads about slum kids in big cities. Nobody gives them too much, those wild ones who figure in stories of teen dope rings, muggings in the park, vandalism, and subway assaults. They are not all like that, of course. There are thousands of dedicated young scholars and disciplined athletes. Cleareyed thousands quietly go about in Horatio Alger tradition earning their way from obscurity to eminence. There are even brooding scholarly types who hack their parents into hamburger. The restlessness pervades the atmosphere for all alikethe hipster in the discotheque, the mugger in the dark alley, the country kid in the souped-up Chevvy. The old folks who have forgotten the ecstasy and the quick agony and know but the dull ache of the grindstone worry about their kids who have to have as much as the neighbors’ kids which is too much or about their kids who can’t afford what the neighbors’ kids have and that isn’t enough and nobody reads Tom Sawyer anymore. 0 1963, 60% were giving stamps for purchases. Now, nine out of ten families save stamps. The growth was made through ideas and the work of “positive thinkers,” Bailey said. “Nothing happens in this great freedomloving country of ours until someone gets an idea.” Ideas have created the symbols and slogans to sell products. “Great ideas can endow a product with distinction, ” said Bailey. . . . He said America needs a constant flowof ideas and calls for thinking men, men who want “to change things for the improvement or a product or service.” 0 July 9, 1965 15 SUBSCRIBE OR RENEW THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Street Austin 5, Texas Enclosed is $5.00 for a oneyear subscription to the Observer for: Name Address City, State This is a renewal. 0 This is a new subscription. Nobody Reads Tom Sawyer Al Melinger Advertisers Brainstorm on the Great Society
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