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it is only unhappy. The Headquarters City of the Permian Basin Empire, as the local paper styles it, effectively controls onethird of the oil production in the United States. In other respects, it reminds me of a penal colony in which too many who have succeeded in the American Dream have been condemned to live with it. Saving the anachronisms, Dante would have sent the Medici here. Other writers who have actually been here have complained of the sterility and lack of humanity among the cluster of tall new office buildings. It is true that marital unhappinessthat sensitive barometer of so much else–has become so prevalent that a separate court of domestic relations has had to be established, although God knows \(and in spite of There are only two psychiatrists here, although the liquor stores are at county boundaries in every directionjust a fast drive. Once the fact puzzled me that a popular pastime is the breeding and training of the fiercest possible German shepherd dogs. At trials these are minutely watched and graded down for the faintest tail-flicker toward wife, child, or friend. The beastly temperament must register only: Me. Make of this what you will. Liberals, community psychiatrists, and others prone to quick conclusions may correlate this observation with the selfcenteredness, the passion for moneymaking, and the conservativeeven Birchisttemperament of which Midland has been accused. Dear friend, forebear. These are sufferers. It took me a long time, and we traded many blows, before I realized that the rightists believe in the American Dream just as I only more fiercelybecause their belief is more primitive, and their disappointment therefore much greater. I was made to believe that the Dream is first of all humane, and could bring riches; they, that the Dream is an excuse for riches without any question of humanity. The choice tends to be exclusive, I reflect, as I see rich men, wide awake, betray the souls of pigs or the eye of the German shepherd dog. A dream is no good if, when you awake, you are a stranger to men. El The Charades of Midland New Preston, Conn. Approaching Midland, Texas, from either the east or the west on Highway 80, the traveler is confronted with large, blacklettered signs proclaiming, “Have Labor, Need Capital.” This is part of the local drive for new industries, and the need for capital appears reasonable enough until one reads the daily newspaper, which .t periodically headlines substantial increases in the deposits at the four banks. At the end of 1965 they were reported at almost $192 million, and combined with deposits in savings and loan associations the total capital accumulation was estimated in excess of $200 million. As an information release of the chamber of commerce states, “That’s really stacking up the money,” particularly for a city with a population currently estimated at only 69,000 people. So, the question naturally arises, why should a city with such an exceedingly large stack of its own plead with the passing motorist for more of the same? The road-side billboards are tokens of the many little games of charades the town constantly plays. Each of these games is designed to be pyramided into one grand charade known as “Midland, It’s Wonderful!” Almost all the people in the community join in the games for the elucidation of the newcomer and the casual visitor, but even more importantly as a continuing reaffirmation of faith for themselves. In 1940 Midland was a small town of 9,000 population huddled on the endless The writer was brought up in Montana and graduated from Montana University. After four years’ service in World War II he went to work as an oil company landman, roaming the Rocky Mountain region and Canada for six years. Then he went to work for a subsidiary of two major companies looking for oil concessions in the eastern hemisphere. During that time he and his family lived in the Philippines, France, and Spain. After two years in Libya as a consultant, he was asked to go to Midland to handle one of his client’s properties, and that is how he happened to spend two and a half years in that community. reaches of the Staked Plains. Ranching and some supporting farming were the mainstays, although the infant oil production business was, even then, important. Ten years later the population had jumped to 25,000 and another decade later to 63,000. The growth of the regional oil industry from infancy to very lusty manhood underwrote this amazing expansion and continues, almost exclusively, to sustain it. In the process many people made a lot of money, which accounts for the piles now Ray Hugos resting in the local bank vaults. Some Midlanders who had managed to eke out a meager living on their arid land, became rich when oil was found underneath it. Others, most of them from the outside, accumulated their wealth through luck. faith, and skillful dealing in oil leases. The pace has slowed considerably from the hectic boom of a few years ago, and the oil business has begun to develop a middleaged spread. It is much more difficult to find prolific fields such as those discovered in the 1950’s, and this, along with restrictions on production, mitigates against the rapid accumulation of the kind of fortunes which were amassed previously. But those who have made their fortunes tend to keep them, and from their entrenched positions they diligently propagate the charade of “Midland, It’s Wonderful!” Local capitalists manage their money with considerable conservatism and like to know it’s within easy reach. The bulk of their capital comes from oil, and when they reinvest it locally, it goes back into oil primarily, but also into land, cattle, or building properties. Any other local investment is anathema to them, so the new business committee of the chamber of commerce looks hopefully to outside capital to start the industries required to broaden the base of the local economy. Midland is primarily a white collar city, and the major portion of its labor force is untrained in the arts required by manu facturing industries. The balance of the work force consists principally of the unskilled, many of them Negroes and Latins who traditionally perform the most menial tasks. They could be put to work only in a limited number of job categories. More cynical Midlanders doubt that the coterie of businessmen who are reputed to control the city’s destinies really want new industries. The years of drum-beating have yet to produce a single new plant of any consequence. In contrast, the neighboring city of Odessa, only 25 miles to the west, has enjoyed a steady expansion and diversification of industry in the last few years. The heretics contend that the ultra-conservative political and social views of the majority of the members of the Midland power structure prevent them from successfully wooing industry. In the last analysis, the skeptics claim, the prospects of organized labor, well-paid, steady jobs for minority groups, and the possible intrusion of more liberal ideas and people sharply lessen their zeal at critical stages in the search for new industries. Midlanders often give the impression they wish they could have all the blessings of the economic boom of the last 25 years without forsaking the simple life they had before World War II. YET MIDLAND wants to be known as a city, and a wonderful one at that, so it gropes for its identity in many ways. “Magnificent Midland” was promoted as a brand name a few years ago, but even the most ardent booster must have had some qualms about this as he looked out over the brooding terrain, stirred only by frequent dust storms. Currently “The Tall City” is the official sobriquet. The many office buildings range from a few stories to a 22-story giant claimed to be the tallest structure between Fort Worth and Los Angeles. The Midland daily newspaper, the Reporter-Telegram, promotes the jawbreaker, “Headquarters of the Permian Basin Empire,” alluding to Midland’s administrative control of the geological basin July7, 1967 15