Page 16


1/PRESS Union printing with competitive prices. Support the movement, help us build the ideal. Come to I.D.A. for your printing needs. 901 W. 24th St., Austin 477-3641 1.0IS ANDERSON &COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 51,2 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip Good books in every field JENKINS PUBLISHING CO. The Pemberton Press John IL Jenkins, Publisher C Box 2085 Austin 78768 r HALF ‘MCE RECORDS _MAGAZINES IN DALLAS: 4528 McKINNEY AVE. RICHARDSON: 508 LOCKWOOD FARMERS BRANCH SHOPPING CTR., SW CORNER, VALLEY VIEW IN WACO: 25TH & COLUMBUS IN AUSTIN: 1514 LAVACA 6103 BURNET RD. 1111F71111r117111111 Early last spring, when 400 of us gathered in Dallas to honor Carl, a loose coalition of liberals, led by Gray McBride and Dwight Norris, got organized enough to crowd a standingroom-only group of Carl’s friends into the Eastfield College activities center for a democratic dinner of spaghetti \(for no head table. Friends of Carl, mostly the better-known liberal voices in the state, paraded with words of reminiscence and tribute. Pete Gunter, the bard of the Big Thicket, entertained with political/environmental ballads. Then-mayor-pro-tem Adlene Harrison proclaimed the day, March 18, Carl Brannin Day in Dallas. The proclamation boasted the signature of our conservative and anti-Harrisonian mayor Bob Folsom, and someone cracked that Adlene must’ve really compromised to wangle such a bauble from Bob. Michael Harrington keynoted the evening with a speech that heralded the dawn of a new Democratic-Socialist era in the country. All he said that remained to be doneand he said this seriously, not facetiously, last Marchwas to see that Jimmy Carter kept his campaign promises. Accolades came from elected officials, old-time liberals, and labor leaders; but Carl’s remarks were the most important, and some of the funniest. He recalledalmost with regretthat he had been jailed only once, for what he called his small part in the labor movement. “It was a garment workers’ strike. I was arrested for obstructing traffic, and traffic was a 300-pound policeman who stood in front of me while I stood in a picket line,” he said with an amusement made possible only by later victories. One of Carl’s favorite targets over the years has been The Dallas Morning News, but at the banquet he regaled us with a 1960 letter to the News not written by himself. It described the writer’s experiments with mice and reading material and went on: “I chose the News editorial page, lined a small cage with it, where the mice could read daily the fine opinions and letters. Here are the results after one week: One died immediately. Another went crazy. The older mouse made a weapon out of a piece of straw and struck the others when they got near him. The remainder stayed silent and confused. Only one, a young and exuberant mouse, ignored the page. He laughed and played and seemed to enjoy life. I’m not sure of the value of this experiment, but I thought you and your readers would like to read about it. By the way, I took the young mouse out while it was still healthy.” While Carl has seen less change than he might have liked on the editorial page of the News, he must have smiled some months back when reading some favorable comments written by the paper’s editorial director Dick West: “Brannin is a lovable man. Now and then he .drops into our editorial offices to say ‘thank you’ and to swap yarns and talk politics. He disagrees with most policies of The Newsand doesn’t hesitate to say sobut he’s always kind and considerate in his approach. He’s not an illiberal liberal, never vindictive or fractious.” The tributes continue to come in from a world that, at least in part, has caught up with Carl Brannin. What is left for him? I recently asked him about our new frontiers in progress. Carl believes that unemployment is the nation’s most pressing issue, and he ranks the dangers of nuclear power second. Environmental protection is next. I asked Carl specifically about the new issues surrounding sexuality, interested to hear what he had to say since he seems what some might call old-fashioned on the subject. His answer, specifically regarding gay rights: “I think radicals should let men and women choose their own lifestyles free from legal bans so long as it does not infringe on similar rights for others. I do not advocate promiscuity in sex relations but I understand this as a long-time practice of men and women. I think trial marriage is sensible. . . .” But Carl is not a philosopher; he is a functionary, working in his own modest way to bring about change. He lives in a modest East Dallas cottage with mementos of a long life of campaignsvarious odd cause-related jobs, investigative trips to Russia, Cuba and elsewhere. It is of course ironic that what helped make this life possible for Carl and Laura was the profit from family-owned land that turned out to be oil-producing. \(Carl advocates nationalization of the oil indusBut I must say something more personable ,about Carl. What I like best about him is that he befriended me, a worker at the public TV station where he held down a volunteer job. He has brought me irises and pomegranate blossoms and sprays of other flowers in the spring and pyracantha berries in the fall. These are part of the legacy of Laura, who planted and nurtured their nowovergrown garden. Carl is the most persistent man I know. He’s been after me for months to write something about his book for the Observer. And it will be with pleasure that I mail this mention of his life to Austin on his birthday. Happy 89, Carl. Con mucha afeccion. Carol Edgar is a reporter for KERA-TV in Dallas. 22 NOVEMBER 4, 1977