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November 10, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individuol opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.




On the seventh day,
they quested

To institutionalize and fail

or be destroyed

LAST SPRING, one of the things I had to do was
take pictures of Gene and Ramona Gilliam at
"My Place." "My Place" was tPe Gilliams' version
of a community cultural center.
The "center's" building on East Davis used to
be a black and tan nightclub and was in very bad
shape, ,the inside of which was covered by an inch-'
thick layer Jof dust. Oneroom the Gilliams cleaned
to use as an office. They hired a plumber to work
on the john.
The Gilliams talked about the "air of institu-
tionalism which inhibits personal identification
and participation" which inhibits most centers of
higher learning. They said, however, "My Place"'
would have courses and seminars in art, theater,
music,. planned parenthood, home improvement
and would provide job information. They believed
this type of cultural curriculum could b r e a k
through institutionalism into personalities.
THEY DIRECTED THEIR program to the blue
collar worker who spends his evenings in front of
a television. They also had panned a day program
for children who had nothing to do during the
Money was the great hangup for this day camp
institute of higher learning. The budget t h e y
showed me allowed for only $250 a month for their
personal expenses.
Gene Gilliam is little bothered by financial
concerns. He had held 32 jobs in the last six years,
ranging from electronic engineering to selling ap-
pliances. He had hoped to raise some money for
"My Place" by featuring some local bands in a
benefit show.
Three weeks after our first meeting I returned
to "My Place" to give theri some photographs I
had promised. Their benefit, they said, had been
a reasonable success. They had a few classes start-
ed for the kids in the area.
RAMONA -SHOWED ME the new "My Place."
She showed me where a wall had been knocked
out and took me to the room where they had set

up their painting classes. The Children's Com-
munity School had expressed an interest in using
"My Place" for day classes during the school year.
She asked if I would be interested in working in
the photogiaphy or filmmaking classes. I said, I'd
check with them next fall about the classes.r
But this fall there was a lot happening and I
forgot my obligation to "My Place." One day it
struck me - I rode my bicycle over to "My Place"
and there was a big real estate sign tacked on the
outside and a letter from the city sealed in plastic
condemning the building.
The big mean economic world has shattered
the little kind community cultural center.
I guess the Gilliams only had two alternatives.
They could conduct their community cultural cen-
ter as a structure above and outside institutional-
ism and then watch it destroyed, or they could
become an institution and then watch it fail.
I WONDER ABOUT the Gilliams. I see Gene
applying for his 34th job and trying to explain
the nature of his 33rd.
But I have the feeling that the Gilliams have
that indescribeable spirit to see the end of the
E. Davis Street "My Place" as only a minor set-
back in the total perspective of things.
The Gilliams had put a lot of money into their
place (about as much as a couple average fra-
ternities spend for booze over one weekend). I
hope they have not been wiped out financially.
I wonder whether the Gilliams have started
another "My Place" somewhere and I just want
to say to them I'm still here.

YOU'VE BEEN reading that a team of
negotiators in Paris will bring you
peace. Don't believe it. .
A government which tells you it will
bring peace on earth and unity at home
is not only arrogant but sadly incapable.
War and riots are merely extensions of
normal day-to-day human exploitation.
Peace cannot be an end to man's col-
lective brutalities. Peace can only be
You are one of millions alienated
from each other and from an environ-
ment filled with emptiness. You think
sometimes that peace is the cruel joke of
somne malevolent godhead and that plea-
sure is the only rational ambition.
A 27-year-old housewife calmly walks
into a river to drown, leaving behind this
note: "I am going to find peace." But
you can't accept this because you re-
member a promise to yourself that there
is meaning beyond the reality of one
moment. And death is but the reality
of one moment.
You feel a stranger in a land of con-
gested roads and busy factories. You
seek the solitude of nature for an answer.

You find 100 square miles of wilderness
with- bubbling streams and tall trees and
no trace of man. But you do riot find
peace there because you destroy the care-
fully orchestrated tranquility by your
very presence.
You find an ocean and, swim until
you drive the feeling from your arms and
trivia from your mind. But you have to
return to shore and to your world and
your people.
'OUR PEOPLE ARE too rigid and too
afraid. They are so involved in their
pursuits that they only keep time to your
beat of loneliness. They are too willing
to settle for the simpler answers of the
moment, which they seem to stretch ten-
uously into a lifetime.
But you must not let your cyncism
lead to despair. You are not alone in your
Some morning you will wake and smile
and be together with yourself and with
others. Because peace is not in where
you look or how you look. Rather it is
in who you find and in who finds you.


just a bunch of malarkey
By JIM NEUBACHER for his choice before work. Most of the people
in Fred's neighborhnnd like to vnfPe Prly befnr

Sunday mornin

FRED MUSIAL is 53 years old and lives in
Detroit. In fact, he's lived on the same
street, in the same house for all of those 53
Fred considers himself a good citizen and
an honest man. He votes, true and blue, for
the man he thinks is best for the country. Fred
hasn't missed voting in a presidential election
since 1936, the year he turned 21. And he tries
to vote in the other elections during the off
years, whenever he can get the time to learn
about the issues and the people and go to the
In 1964, he voted for Lyndon Johnson. Last
Tuesday, he got up early to go down to vote
Market Psalm

Reality envisioned in the Apple


HE NEVER KNEW how long he had
been asleep, but he did know that
she was shaking him awake.
"Come on, honey," she said. "We'll be
late for tonight's Apple Market."
"Oh yeah," he said. "I almost forgot.
Listen, do we have to go? I think I'd
rather stay here and read or something."
"Now come on silly," she said, shaking
her not-quite-blonde hair in the accus-
tomed fetching manner. "Everybody goes
to the Apple Market. It's the only im-
portant thing that ever happens around
this place."
"OH ALL RIGHT," he said. "I guess
you ought to know"
He let his sleep-shocked gaze linger on
her nylonde legs.
"Boy," he said, "I'm tired. Let me have
a minute to get myself together."
The couple walked through the stone
gates into a large gymnasium-like build-
ing." Over the gates was a large electric
sign, flashing Apple Market for every man
to see.
"It's time for us to split up," she said.
"Do you have any money?"
"Sure," he answered. "I've got enough
money for everybody. But why do we have
to split up? That almost seems like
we're animals."
"Nonsense," she said. "It's what makes
us human." And she vanished.
The young fellow walked up to the
first of a long line of rather cunningly
arranged booths, booths snot unlike those

that can be found at any Penny Carnival
the world around.
The first booth was manned by two
Roman Catholic priests dressed in the
colorful garb of their profession.
"Hey kid," said the shorter one. "Come
on over here and buy one of our apples.
One bite of this here apple and not only
do you get a meal guaranteed to last
you the rest of your life, but we throw
in a direct pipeline to God too. Just
think, kid. I'll bet you're worried about
contraceptives, a handsome kid like
yourself. I'll bet you're a little uneasy
about whether they're moral or not, eh?
Well, buy this apple and you're worries
are over. All you got to do is what the
Pope says and you're safe. Come on kid,
buy this apple."
"NOPE," said the kid, because he hadn't
been raised a Catholic and a hint of a
smile began to play on his .lips. A smile
like the priests had never seen.
The next booth was similar, but it
contained a liberal Episcopal minister
in a work shirt. He was selling apples
covered with a little spice.
"Kid," he said. "Make you a deal. You
buy this hopped-up apple from me and
I'll give you peace of mind regarding
your fellow human beings in Biafra. Swell
deal, right?"
The kid seemed to show a little more
interest this time, and his "Nope" was
a little longer in coming.
"After all," he said to himself, "those
people in Biafra are my brothers and
my father supported McCarthy." But he
eventually did say' "No" and the smile
played a little more prominently:
He had to turn a corner to get to the
next booth which was run by three 40-ish

"Over here, m'boy," said the one in
charge. "If you buy our new, improved
fricasseed apple we'll . ."
"No, not interested," the kid said al-
most instantly. He was more fortunate
than most, he believed, because he could
spot such obvious apple frauds a mile
away. He was rather pleased with him-
self by this time. He couldn't remember
when he'd turned down so many apple
vendors. The smile burned brighter.
NEXT TO THE businessmen was the
English professors' booth. and inside
were apples carved into fascinating
shapes of oak wings and nettle wheels.
"Now, my good lad," said one of the
professors. "I can see by your counten-
ance and carriage that you're a bright
boy. Here, have a bite o four cloistered
apple. We'll give you some free before
you have to buy."
"Well," said the kid. "Let me think a
minute." He was swayed towards the
professors because he always had been
interested in the theory behind shoe-
boxes and the meaning of defumiga-
Finally he said "No." For one thing, he
didn't want to spoil his perfect record,
and for another, he felt distinct joy from
saying "No" to a professor.
He turned another corner. and while
he strolled up to the now inevitable
booth, he almost unconsciously began to
flex the muscles in his arms and legs.
He felt himself breath a little deeper
and see colors a little clearer. He seem-
ed to feel energy in every cell of his
body. And the smile was now almost

Thy next booth contained his father
whon he hadn't seen in 20 years, that,
coincidentally, being the kid's age.
"Come over here son," said his father,
a goodly man, respected in the com-
munity. - I don't have any apples to sell
you, but Iin sort of the Chamber of"
Commerce for the Market. I'd just like to
tell you that whatever you do, dear, dear
son, make sure you buy at least one
apple before you leave this place."
The kid could not answer his father.
"Please son. If you don't buy any ap-
ples you're just hurting yourself.','
Again the boy could not speak.. He
turned and walked away from his father
and his fist gradually unclenched.
Now, in the fart distance, he could
perceive an exit sign placed above an
opening in the wall. He thought it
strange, then logical, that there should
be no door or lock or handle or key,
but only an opening.
But there was one more booth, that of
his peers who claimed to care and call-
ed themselves radical.
"Hey brother," they called out to him.
"Come in peace and aid us. We are love
and we need you. Come to us brother.
See? We sell no apples, only this malted
THE KID FLEXED his muscles again
and walked over to inspect the malted
"Drink, bother," said an attractive
barefoot girl from behind the counter.
"Drink. You will be doing God's will, you
The kid thought it over for a long, long
time. He weighed carefully the way

society was, and how it was wrong, and
how to change it, and how that wasn't
really the issue.
"No," he said softly. "That malted
milk has the stench of rotten apple in
"You fool, you fool," they said, furious
at the thought of losing this young crea-
ture with the puzzling smile. "Whose side
do you want to be on when the bricks
start flying? Whose side will .
But he had already started toward the
As he reached the opening, he turned
to survey the entire Market.
It was the first time he had been able
to see the whole building at once. He saw
the priests playing cards with the radi-
cals, and his father jumping rope with
the profesors, and the minister selling
books to the businessmen.
"I know you now," he said. "I know
you, and I'll be back. I'll be back because
that is what makes me human."
Thus he was reminded of her. "And
you," he said. "You brought me here, you
woke me up to bring me here. But I leave
a man. I LEAVE A MAN!"
His last cry echoed like a whisper up
and down the garden.
He walked slowly out the opening,
smiled his smile for all who would see
along with those who would not see, and
died 40 years later after living generally
a life of hopeful insecurity.
As the man lay on his death bed, calm
in the knowledge that he had been true
to his reality, God piped up from some-
where within his abdomen and said
"Way to go, baby."

they go to work, so he found himself standing
in line talking with his neighbors.
THEY DIDN'T TALK about the election,
They had talked about that too much. Every
day in the plant, someone mentioned the elec-
tions. Or it was on television, or in the news-
papers. Now they just talked about neighbor
things, family things, men things.
Twenty minutes, twenty-five minutes, Fred
waited in the line. Then it was his turn.
Fred stepped up to the table and pulled out
his wallet. He got out the registration card he
had carried with him for years, and showed it
to the poll worker, saying "Fred Musial, 2758
Military, Detroit." He was chatting with the
poll workers. They were good friends on normal
THE POLL WORKER wouldn't let Fred
But why not? asked Fred. Here's my card,
and I'm a citizen, and all that. What do you
mean I can't vote?
The poll worker did his duty. He explained
to Fred that there was a new law that said
you have to vote every two years in Michigan,
or else re-register to vote.
Your name's not on the list, Fred. You must
not have re-registered. Did you vote for gov-
ernor last time?
Fred said no. He hadn't voted. When did
they make a law like that, he said to himself.
When did they make malarkey like you can't
vote if you, didn't vote before, even if you're
over twenty one and registered.
Fred went home, mad.
HE DIDN'T GIVE UP though. He thought
about it, and told his wife about it, and then
went to work. The guys in the plant said he
should go back, and maybe they just had his
name out of place. They knew Fred. He voted
every four years.
So, when Fred got home from work, he went
back to the polls. They still wouldn't let him
vote. This time, Fred was really mad. He had
been feeling uneasy all day about not being
able to vote.
"I'm going to get to the bottom of this,"
he said to himself. He was mad. "Where do I
call to find out?" he asked. "I want to call the
city-county building and find out about this
THE POLL WORKER gave him the num-
ber, and Fred went home to call. It was after
8 p.m. now, and the policeman was standing
at the end of the line. He couldn't vote now
even if he was right. But at least he was going
to find out.
Well, I'm sorry Mr. Musial, but you have
to vote every two years, or else re-register. I'm
sorry. Goodbye.
Fred sat down to think about the law, It
was probably to make people vote more, he
thought, to get them voting in all of the elec-
tions. To get them to be better citizens, and
know the governors, and learn the laws.
BUT INSIDE, Fred was still unsatisfied. He
couldn't put his finger on what disturbed him.
Mostly, he didn't quite understand how you
could have a law that kept honest people from
voting, that took away privileges just because
someone didn't want to exercise them. He could
see the one side of it. But no one could ever






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