the same things you learned on linden-lined avenues or 33rd-floor penthouses. A few blocks up the street, before they built the storm sewer \(the poor never can swim right in the gutters. Rain was rare even in those days before so much of it had been used up, but when there was rain it always overdid a good thing and a certain low section of Roxanna was flooded to a depth of several feet. One man would tow in huge 12-by-12 timbers, large enough to support locomotives, for the kids to float around on. This same man once used his winch truck to dehorn a Jersey milk cow in the middle of the street, but I am saving that little anecdote for future publication, possibly a U.S.D.A. Although most of the neighborhood kids eventually drew some time from kindly, white-haired old judges \(“don’t say I never claim any noteworthy criminals or apprentice fiends. The habitual criminal code whisked away a friend of one of my brothers, but he is remarkable for frittering away terrific athletic skills rather than for spectacular crime. His grand finale, the third felony conviction, was typical: a senseless rape, and him already favored by most of the girls in the neighborhood. A plea, please, for sensible rape. A Mexican Theodore, remembered fondly because he was the toughest kid in South Elementary but did not use his strength to be a bully, was nailed after he dropped out of junior high school for selling marijuana. \(Marijuana is one of the few agricultural boy, whom I scarcely knew, from across 18 The Texas Observer the street went up for burglary. His mother told my mother he was just a big, good-natured kid led astray by younger companions. One of my best friends was rewarded with an eight-column headline across the front page of the Odessa American one afternoon. He had been charged with rape, and judged by the size of the headline and story it must have been the greatest assault since the Mongol storm. He appeared in class the next morning, smiling and unconcerned, a demonstration of savoir faire I do not expect to see duplicated though I frequent grand salons in European capitals. Not long ago in London I overheard a tuxedoed continental gentleman say of a certain woman, “She had these pear-shaped tits.” On Roxanna Street we used to tell girls we wished we had that swing on our back porch. The sophistication gap is not as great as one might think. The above paragraph makes rape seem like the principal occupation of my set, but the two incidents were actually several years apart and rape was actually no big deal. My own arrests and threats of arrest were similarly modest: for trying to start a for relieving myself near the Texas Electric plant in what looked like an open field but which apparently was the rendezvous point for Interpol \(“The judge’ll shake that for enterprises \(“for Christ’s sake, officer, A famous adventure one summer was a pimp who lived a couple of blocks away behind our house. The boy caught on the habitual rap first discovered him and soon he was visited by an endless parade of sin-bent adolescents. He was a pretty pathetic pimp, not at all like the sharp-dressed dudes you read aboutin the city stores; but he was all we had and we could hardly claim to be successful punks ourselves. His stable consisted of one very ugly, very old Negro woman, and if any child made that scene he was careful to keep the fact to himself. Because of the fruity pimp’s switch hitting he also giggled a lot you were not supposed to know what to expect. Actually the net result of the giggling, the Latin accent beating around the bush, the unlighted darkness, the Negro whore sifting through the garbage, and the embarrassed kids produced a sordid innocence that kept anything from happening. There were other good times, the kind you never have had until you start to restore them, like an antique automobile, to better than they ever were. When my closest friend determined to obtain a convertible he purchased a Model A sedan and chopped off the top with a hatchet. Sorry for Model A enthusiasts but that is the way he did it. The radiator was half gone and the taillight was me dangling a flashlight on a string. Oddly enough, to confused cops, this did not seem to be illegal. I doubt that anyone could scrape more pleasure from a new XKE although I am certainly willing to give it a hell of a try. The people I knew have said goodbye to all of that now, every single one of them. They have disappeared from Roxanna without a trace, to the last man, like a bedouin tribe wandering in a far-off wasteland; A few remain in Huntsville’s hallowed halls, others could doubtless be located with a few inquiries. I returned last summer and my young son did not believe I had ever lived there, on that sandy corner, and he may as well be right. CORRECTION The Observer identified the production platform that exploded recently off the Galveston coast as belonging to Shell Oil Co. \(The governor’s office was the source of the information. The source apparently was relying upon an early Associated Press story which mistakenly named Shell as the actually was owned by Chambers and Kennedy Company. Shell did aid, however, in the clean-up efforts. K.N. MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village. 2nd Friday every month. From noon. All welcome. Senator Ralph W. Yarborough Appreciation Dinner WEDNESDAY JULY 15TH 6:30 P.M. ASTROWORLD HOTEL BALLROOM, HOUSTON $100 A PLATE “We who admire and respect Senator Yarborough can be of good cheer, because he has done the right thing, and what he has done stays, and he has given us courage that stays.” \(Obs., WRITE 3033 FANNIN #104, HOUSTON OR CALL 521-0485 FOR RESERVATIONS
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