Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto 477-4171 Printing By 1? Newspapers Magazines Political Specialists Signs and Placards Bumperstrips Office Supplies 100% Union Shop I Happiness Is IFFUTURA PRESS i, Phone 512: 442 7836 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS P.O. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS Personal Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 465-6577 available Ronnie Dugger’s new book .. . A pril 29th OUR INVADED UNIVERSITIES: Form, Reform. and New Starts Callie By Max Woodfin Galveston Walking. Walking. The day is an endless chain of halls and sidewalks and carpet and tile and concrete. Callie is walking before the sun is up. Callie is walking after the 10 o’clock news. “There isn’t much else for an old lady to do.” Callie laughs, ducking her tiny chin into folds of flesh that multiply into at least a triple chin. “That’s what I am, you know, just an old lady stuck here to walk until I die.” But Callie does not say this with anger, nor fear nor any trace of the bitterness volunteered by many of her neighbors. Callie laughs again. “I’m seventy. That’s old. That’s old enough to do anything I please. So I walk and laugh.” Callie was born somewhere in East Texas. “I don’t remember anything except a lot of trees and a lot of moving. Daddy worked at anything he could find. Oil work started getting regular and sometime around the war we moved close to Beaumont. All of these people here have wonderful stories about growing up, but I think they’re making them up. I can’t remember anything except trees and outdoor johnnies until I got married.” Callie married a boy home from the war. She was a teenager and he wasn’t much older. She was a housewife and mother in Beaumont, Port Arthur and finally Texas City. “Mackie died in 1965. Just up and went to the doctor one morning and died that night. I moved in with Mackie Jr., my oldest, atid lived with him until we ran out of room. I was the one wanted to come to an old folks’ home. All my boys were against it and every time they come they want me to come live with them.” Social Security, a few savings bonds, Mackie Sr.’s small pension from a Texas City plant and four loyal sons provide Callie with room and board and enough extra money to save $15 a month. “I don’t know why you want me to talk to this thing [the tape recorder on Callie’s couch]. I haven’t done a thing in my life except live off other people. First Daddy, then Mackie and now the government and my boys. I can’t tell you any good stories. I’m just an old lady not worth much to anybody. I bet you have a grandmother or maybe even your mother who could tell you stories and tell you about all of the cute things you did when you were little.” A tear comes to Callie’s eye, and then a few tears from both eyes as she is reassured that she is a wonderful and warm lady. An old lady who is much closer to the reality of grandmother than all of the gallant story-tellers of television and paperback. Callie is an antique. She is told that she is being studied as an endangered species. She laughs. The tears disappear as she explains the truth of this observation. “Why I never had a job and I never even voted until I voted for Roosevelt in … oh it was the third time he ran. You know, if I could do one thing, I would go back and teach just one year of school. I do love little children so. I have seven grandchildren . ” Callie talks about each of the seven until ever so gently the conversation is turned back to the philosophy of Callie. “Isn’t it wonderful that girls can do so many things? Why, can’t they do just about anything a man can do? And that pretty thing running for governor. But what are they going to do when they get old? That’s why I’m happy. I’m doing just what I’ve always done. Of course, I don’t cook anymore, but I visit and all my friends now are right here with me. I look at the magazines and I knit for my grandchildren and I’ve learned to play bridge and I walk and I can have my little drink.” Callie’s face turns a bright red. She laughs. “That’s one reason I moved. I like a little whiskey after supper and Mackie Jr. and his wife didn’t like it in their house. They’ve got all of this religion and Bible reading now. I go to church twice a month and I read Billy Graham in the paper, but do you think the good Lord is going to deny a worthless old lady her whiskey? I don’t think so.” An optimist in a building full of pessimists. “My oldest granddaughter went to France for part of her school. And her daddy is just a store manager. No more than he makes, but she can go to France. I think it’s a good world when you can do things like that. I’m just an old lady, oh I say that too much, but this old lady sees so many good things. The only thing that I worry is that my granddaughters might not live as long as me. They all want to work. They may wear out and not get to grow old real quiet like me. I guess you’re right to study me, I may be the last.” Callie laughs, but the tears come back. “My doctor says there’s nothing wrong with me. I feel good, just can’t sleep much, I hope I die real quick, like Mackie did. I don’t want to have to stop laughing.” LI April 12, 19 74 19 Published by W. W. Norton Co. at $14.95. Observer subscribers may order Our Invaded Universities at the customary 20% discount on titles stocked by the Texas Observer Bookstore: 11.90 plus, for Texas residents, 60q sales tax. No charge for postage if remittance accompanies your order. “This horror book was written not to frighten little children but to scare the daylights out of university men and women who let outsiders, no matter how well placed, tamper with the idea or the function or a university. The focus is on the University of Texas; the thrust is at interference with universities wherever they are.” William A. Owens, professor of English, Columbia University THE TEXAS OBSERVER BOOKSTORE 600 W 7 AUSTIN 78701
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