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January 10, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-10

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DRIVING HOME to Ohio the scenery began to get to us. Our initial
astonishment at the lack of billboards and neon gradually dulled
as we now faced the drabness of the countryside. Interstate 80 has
stretches of fifty miles or so without signs and without a radio. The
only diversion from the road was "No parking except for emergency"
at regularly spaced intervals.
We drove on undaunted, and sensing all the time that we were
out of reach with our normal environment we hurried to escape the
limbo of Middle America. But fate had other plans in mind.
Accurately recognizing that certain clunk coming f r o m the
engine as a foreboding prophecy of trouble we sought an exit from
the concrete track. We chugged on for, two miles until the end
came as our VW came to rest a few feet before a sign told us
that Pleasant Valley, food and gas were just ahead at the next
ROUTE 927 was empty. The first car that came by after half an
hour, we walked in front of, and forced to a stop. We told Dan, who
hopes to be a carpenter someday, what we thought was wrong with
our car. He .immediately declared that our points were broken off.
I believed him. I would have believed him if he said the carburetor
.iust french fried the battery. That's how much I know about cars
Dan told us there was no place in the area that could supply
us with the missing parts. He gave us a lift to the only place around
which was open: Harvey's Truck Stop Restaurant, Motel, Bunk House
and Gas Station in neighboring Woodlawn.
They couldn't fix our car but they could give us a place to sleep
That night we wrote postcards.
Then the next morning, Saturday, a hitchhike to the nearest auto
parts dealer. Rickey tucked his shoulder-length hair in my brown
Russian cap and we hit the road. We aimed for Gary's auto parts
in Clearfield. A ride was not long coming and then we were entering
Clearfield. "Welcome to Clearfield, the All American City," the sign
said. "It's fun to live in Clearfield." But that was just part of the
Every telephone pole in town bore a blue metal shield proclaim-
ing "Clearfield, the All American City." Anyway, the auto parts store
gave us those eternal points, a screwdriver and some hasty remarks
and we hit the road again, only to be picked up by the people who
had given us a ride into town. They gave us a ride back to Route
927 and we prepared to hitch the five miles to the disabled car.
up at O. J. Shugart's garage who sent me to Bud's electric. Bud
gave me the right parts and I hitchhiked again, reaching Ricky and
the car in 20 minutes. Altogether we had spent 12 hours in Wood-
lawn, Pleasant Valley and Clearfield, but it was enough time t
realize we were intruders from Interstate 80 and into the strangeness
of America.
When Interstate 80 was built no one warned the natives. They
simply weren't prepared for the influx of New Jerseyites, New
Yorkers and Connecticutans, traveling west across their homeland
And' consonsequently, two worlds exist in towns like Clearfield?
One of cosmopolitan Americans zipping from city to city, university
to university. Another of other Americans who had so little contac
with the likes of Ricky and me that they were not even hostile. Jns
like foreign tourists, we inspired neither fear nor affection as we
passed though. Answer its questions, don't bother it and soon it wil
go away. And so we did.




4-Daily-Jim Judkis

Seizing the time

IT WAS A crass affair, an abrupt
end to our evening of lavish
dinner and front row seats. After
the play, we had hurried along
cold pavement with thousands of
other couples to be quickly absorb-
ed by an organism of brownie cam-
eras and dissonant noisemakers.
We clutched each other as
chains of boys holding half-filled
bottles passed like centipedes on
all sides. The extreme cold had
forced the middle-aged- women
around us to snuggle with their
tweeded partners to keep warm.
The only really mobile partici-
pants were red-cheeked children
who were being constantly herded
away from chestnut stands and
the abundant lines of blue uni-
formed police.
I guess I was sort of surprised
that the Times didn't cover it.
The big crowd was expected as it
will be for years to come. But
the only real news on, Times
Square that night was the new
With more than an hour to wait
until midnight we tried to warm
up in a store called "Playland."
Here, a quarter can buy 25 chances
to bomb little green villages which
burst into flames when hit. The

bow-tied boy next to me how-
ever, preferred to down airplanes,
15 shots for a quarter, and slyly
smiled each time the resounding
crash indicated a hit. We four
stayed at the computar quiz and
metal duck gallery.
Outside with the cold again, the
Accutron billboard announced 27
minutes and various seconds to
go. The crowd had begun gathr-
ing at 10, so we were forced to
stand four or five blocks from the
center of the square. Everyone's
attention was more or less fo-
cused on a small globe of lights
which rested on a pole atop the
Allied Chemical Building. Accord-
ing to tradition, the ball would

the gathering a grandfaloon f o r
the people had nothing in com-
mon and had no real reason for
coming together. They were a sea
of patent leather purses and ex-
cursion faces from Ohio. We were
Vonnegut or Kesey and the me-
mory of other crowds in Washing-
ton, or Regents Plaza.
The moments ticked annoyingly
faster on the billboard and a new
feeling, a sort of helplessness,
swept over me. I looked around
and I saw I was not the o n 1 y
one clutching onto a friend. As
midnight approached in the last
30 or 40 seconds. I suddenly be-
came comfortedsby the forced
ebullience around me. It was easy
to see that they did not want to
cope with a new year as well. And
they understood the transition and
their reason for celebration no
more, no less, than us. T h e y
simply didn't discuss it.
So, as if in a religious ceremony,
we forgot our separate roles and at
midnight we kissed in harmony
with the crowd. We shook the
proffered hands of bad-breathed
strangers; smiled at the lipstick-
ed women, yelled Happy New Year
at bow-tied boys. It was hard
to stop thinking this year, but I
imagine next year it will be eas-

EVERY SO OFTEN, when the snow sits
or the sun sweeps into a smile, once,
twice, on occasion during the breaks in
our year, we creep out into the wilder-
ness that everyone tells us is America.
They're quite certain there is a country
out there, of land and water and gas
stations. A people too, who swear and
spit and worry and cry, who work and
' live and sleep.
That is what the travelers say when
they return to Ann Arbor and all the
s pleasures of living a life style which has
the best of all possible worlds. Encounters
outside remain brief. We only have time
for glimpses of our country before re-
turning to the bustle of the Diag and our
liberation into ourselves.
e With the hassles of freedom and un-
certainty for the future, with psych and
e Marx and Fromm and Cleaver-all those
books people have read-with friends
and friends, loafing and football, our hair
I and our music, everyone has something
in common. Here we are, in school, Ann
D Arbor, this fond imprisonment and in fra-
s ternities, communes, apartments, dorms,
we all are students, separate and se-
. O HERE WE stay, for a while at least;
living in Ann Arbor and attending
the University we recreate America to
t conform to our own intellectual leanings.
e We stereotype people into the images we
I believe are real and in doing so we fur-
ther isolate ourselves from our country.
fried hosp
IT WAS ABOUT 5 o'clock when eight of us clam-
ored into the restaurant, noisily discussing the
feast we had come to indulge in. We meandered
our way through the tables to the back of the
dining room, where we pushed several tables to-
gether, and sat down to have our orders taken.
It was a Howard Johnson's restaurant, some-
times known as the poor traveler's friend for its
"all you can eat" nights. Quite frankly, we would
have enjoyed nothing more than to eat them out
of business that evening, as it was "Chicken Fry"
night, and we had aptly prepared for it by not
eating all day.
This was Key West, a rather enigmatic town.
On one hand it is like every other Florida town,
sunny, hot, beautiful beaches, and dozens of sou-
venir shops.
But Key West is certainly no Miami Beach.
There is neither glitter nor splendor in this town.
For some unknown reason, the lucrative tourist
business has evaded Key West. Unfortunately for
them, Key West has become a sort of haven for
campers, and not rich suburbanites as in other
areas of Florida.
As a result, Key West is a poor town, with a
moth-eaten main street, and like many Southern
towns, perhaps is overly concerned with keeping
itself free from undesirables, presumably 1 o n g
haired youths or blacks.
Thus, the eight young men who entered the
restaurant that evening presented a rather in-
timidating image to those inside. Between us we
had enough long hair, beards, and blue jeans to
attract attention wherever and whenever we
strolled through the town.
OUR WAITRESS ARRIVED quickly and seem-
ed to immediately distrust us when one in the
group jokingly informed her that we hadn't eaten
in four days. She took our orders in a cold man-
ner and we sat back to form our battle plan for
the meal.
Gary and I then placed a plate between us. and
announced to the group that we would not stop
eating until we had a pile of chicken bones be-
tween us so high that we could no longer see each
other. The others were just as eager to begin,
some of them having previous experience in these
matters by virtue of their habitual Sunday night
visits to Pizza Bob.

Our first line of defense quickly fell as rolls
were placed on the table, and we all conveniently
ignored our past vows, wolfing them down raven-
ously to the amusement of all those seated around
us. After all, we rationalized, this would serve as
a signal to our stomachs to forewarn them of the
rough going ahead.
About ten minutes later we were each given
three small pieces of chicken. Everyone else soon
finished, and agreed that the small portions of
chicken we had consumed had not even begun to
appease our hunger, and since it was fairly good


ing that period as we looked around us and saw
other people happily munching away at their
chicken. By about a quarter to eight, we decided
something had to be done, and Jim and I were
hastily nominated to complain to the manager,
who had been glaring at us several times before.
We explained to him how long we had been in
the restaurant (which! he said was a lie) and how
little we had been served. He responded by ges-
ticulating wildly, each hand in a different direc-
tion, shouting something about how "if you fools
didn't spend so much time joking and playing
around, you could have been out of here already."
Soon our waitress came with a piece of chick-
en for each of us, but this chicken was certainly
not like our previous servings. Instead, it was pale
yellow with a crusty skin so tough that we began
to refer to it as "the armored chicken." After sev-
eral bites we gave up on eating it, and watched
curiously as the manager began moving hurridly
toward us.
He forcefully informed us that we would be
served no more chicken, and furthermore, if we
did not leave the restaurant, he promised us that
we would be carried out by the police. He then
mentioned something about our not having eaten
for four days, at which point we all turned to-
ward the waitress, who began to walk away from
the table.
The manager left and we began to joke about
becoming the Key West 8, or "The Great Chicken
Conspiracy" (crossing state lines to eat chicken).
We amused ourselves for a few minutes pondering
this as I thought about the young lawyer from
Chicago I had met on the beach that afternoon,
and wondered whether I should call him.
FINALLY SOMEONE rather sensibly pointed
out that we would be dealing with a southern po-
lice department that would be highly likely to
throw us in jail for the night, cut off our hair,
and then release us in the morning.
We got up to leave, very mad, with an under-
lying feeling of embarrassing cowardice for not
having stood up for our rights, but realizing how
foolish we would have felt if we had chosen to be-
come martyrs over a few pieces of chicken. We
gave our money to Harvey to pay the bill, and the
rest of us walked out the door.
The manager, immediately thinking we had
left without paying, grabbed the phone, presum-
ably to call the police. Jim turned to me and said
he wished he could see the look on the manager's
face when he got off the phone and saw Harvey
pay the bill.
By a rather strange coincidence, a man who
apparently was from Washtenaw County, and who
had overheard Jim. turned to his wife and said
"Harvey? I wish Sheriff Harvey was here to take
care of these kids." The man looked like a bull-
dog in his graying flatop haircut, and was stand-


For us, people are Southerners, New Eng-
landers, or peculiarly Middle American.
Towns are Main Street and cities are
battlegrounds. Depending on who you are,
a worker can be a hard-hat Joe, a silent
majoritarian or a member of the revolu-
tionary proletariat. American culture is
more literary than real as we believe in
the images of Cleaver and Kerouac, Fitz-
gerald and Wolfe rather than what we
could actually see if we looked.
Look we do, we snatch a prairie between
semesters and snip off some beaches dur-
ing the summer.
We go miles and miles, over bodies and
bridges, yet we see people with the same
jowls, same hopes as we could, strange as
it seems, if we left the student side of
Ann Arbor and ventured into the clean
houses' off Stadium, talked and observed
downtown to the extent we observe the
intricacies of Middle and Southern Amer-
IT IS ALL here. This is the same people
living the same land, yet eyes cannot
see well when the range is close. The
mind demands distance to make its judg-
ments. So out we venture, into the wild-
erness of America, discovering only what
lies in this city. But student life is so
encompassing and enchanting that even
that we cannot see and when we leave,
we build people into images, a country
into an icon.
Editorial Director


-Daily-Terry McCarthy


Take these broken wings and learn to fly

NOTHING ENHANCES Ann Arbor's image as well
as a Christmas vacation spent within a hostile
atmosphere at home.
Two years at college can never serve as adequate
preparation for a renewal of the Spanish Inquisi-
tion. How is it possible after living in complete
freedom, with no structural impositions, to conform
to the structure which characterizes both pre-
college and post-college living?
People living at home cannot tolerate days
without end and mornings which do not begin. Lack
of schedule is cursed.
What good is a visit home in any case? Assuredly
many other students wonder about this question;
perhaps by next vacation a better idea will arise.
Home is where the money is. Home is where
they serve edible food. Home is where one's ego may
be dissected anew each day. Home is where one

time I approached with my camera, they moved into
formations of about twenty and circled the beach
There I was, alone, on the beach, trying desper-
ately to recreate a mood I had felt throughout last
summer, of floating on the waves and playing fris-
bee in the water, of being in concert with the world.
But neither the playful mood of summer nor the
spirit of Stephen Daedelus appeared.
Instead there was an awesome emptiness.
"Birds have it easy," I mused.
When they come home from their little jaunts,
do their mothers ask them what they intend to do
as adult birds? Are they queried about their aca-
demic progress, their ornithological romances?
Who asks the birds for an accounting of time
past? And who, pray tell, wonders whether they'll
be able to "settle down to earn a living?"



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