Parisian Charm. Omelette & Champagne Breakfast. Beautiful Crepes. Afternoon Cocktails. Gallant Waiters. Delicious Quiche. Evening Romance. Continental Steaks. Mysterious Women. Famous Pastries. Cognac & Midnight Rendezvous. In short, it’s about everything a great European style restaurant is all about. he Old St Cafe 31 0 East 6th St. Austin, Texas It is our responsibility to take the role of the elders. That’s why Gray Panthers are all peace people. The biggest public health problem in the world today is nuclear war.” Kuhn then outlined three tasks in which the old should become engaged as “ethical counselors.” They should “radicalize stockholders meetings take over the meetings and their agendas and raise questions.” They should become patient advocates in hospitals and nursing homes as part of the Gray Panther Health Task Force. And they should work as health-care monitors guarding the public trust, looking at health-care costs and methods of treatment. “Health is a basic right,” she said. “Many people come to their old age in misery if they survive because of hazardous substances they are exposed to in the workplace. We have to come to some sort of agreement on what is appropriate technology. There is this evil seduction on the part of the Reagan people that the technological revolution will solve unemployment problems. But we’ve been working for more than a decade on health issues. We’ve been working with medical students and medical schools, though not, unfortunately, with the Texas medical Society. And we know the human touch must not be abandoned.” PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS By Geoffrey Rips Austin 4 4 AUSTIN, ADIOS,” Jonathan Edwards told me over the phone. “We’re packing it in Mary Ellen, the kids, the animals. We’re clearing out for higher ground. Austin just isn’t what it used to be. Mary Ellen and I have been meditating on this for quite some time, and we decided that the bus is going to have to leave tomorrow morning. And, as you know, we’re always on that bus.” The next morning I got over to their house just as the sun was rising. While the sky overhead was brightening, the neat little frame house was wrapped in gloom, a pall cast upon it by the shadows from the new condos risen as if overnight on three sides. The old Volkswagen bus sitting in front of the house was loaded, crammed with cookware, quilts, the dog Che, the cats Wayne Neuter and Larry Caroline. The parrot, Marcuse, swung listlessly in its cage. On the rear bumper of the bus, the sixth generation of the “Onward Through the Fog” bumper sticker was peeling from the fifth, alongside a bright green sticker for Hightower, a faded Jeff Friedman, and a barely visible Fred Harris for President. Mary Ellen emerged from the house, carrying a rocking chair that she tied to the top of the bus with the help of the two boys, Mario Savio Edwards, now almost 17, and William Blake Gramsci Edwards, turning 12. “It really hurts to do this,” she told me. “But we’ve got to get these kids out of here before it’s too late.” Then Jonathan appeared, lugging a trunk with the help of frizzy-haired Janis Joplin Edwards, 14, and Odetta Emma Goldman Edwards, 10. It’s the heaviest dose of karma I’ve ever seen descend at one time,” he said. “And I would never have thought it would happen here.” They set the trunk down by the bus, and Jonathan sat down on it. As Mary Ellen joined him, he explained: “We’ve thought about it long and hard. It’s not like we haven’t seen it coming from a long ways off. First it was the university. It wasn’t so much getting rid of Roger Shattuck or the Chuckwagon, where you could listen to Jimi Hendrix with one ear and Jeff Jones with the other, as it was that other thing, that creeping technocracy gobbling up all the curricula. The business school each year consuming three times its own weight. Engineers and MBA’s coming on like kudzu. The Kozmetsky’s, the Rostow’s a nightmare.. Arts and Sausages was really the end of it. That was the last time we set foot on campus, we’re proud to say, even for a movie.” Mary Ellen nodded. “But back then there were other things,” Jonathan continued. “There was Jeff Friedman and the city council and the makings of the free state of Austin. There was music everywhere and skinny dipping and dope and sun while up in D.C. Richard Nixon was sliding into infamy. And there was a food coop and a car repair coop and a coop this and a coop that. . . .” His voice trailed off as he turned to look at his children. “We’ve been thinking about it hard for almost a year,” Mary Ellen said. “Last month we took the kids with us to some of the old places to teach them some history and to help us think things out. We drove out to Buda to see the old Javanese restaurant and the bakery that used to be there. It’s still a pretty nice town, but all they’ve got is antiques to sell to the people living in subdivisions now just a stone’s throw away. Then we tried to find the place along Onion Creek where we spent a beautiful 4th of July skinny-dipping in the creek and listening to Thirteenth Floor Elevator and Shiva’s Head Band playing together just think of it in a benefit for the food coop. That day I thought everything was bliss. That day Jonathan and I made a pact to stay in Austin forever. But we couldn’t find the place last month. We just found more subdivisions. It was very depressing.” She turned away and started braiding Odetta Emma Goldman’s hair. “We tried to do it all,” Jonathan said. “We drove past where Armadillo was and the Split Rail. We even hit the block of Congress where we think the Vulcan Gas Company used to be. There was no sign of any of it anywhere. We still haven’t gotten over their chopping Eastwoods Park in half.” “Let’s face it,” Mary Ellen shouted, pounding her fist on the trunk. “We knew it was bad when they started building Technology-Land up north and down south. The handwriting was on the wall, and it wasn’t painted by Jim Franklin either. But we thought there THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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