page six-looking back
Number 14 Page Three
January 27, 1974
By David Stoll
YEARS AGO, magazine advertise-
ments displayed golden-haired
women and handsome men stepping
aboard shining passenger trains with
names like the 'Golden Zephyr' and
the 'Sun Chief'. Seated in cars top-
ped with bubble glass domes, these
phoenix - like creatures of the Ameri-
can imagination then rode west to
the coast through blazing glories of
mountain and desert.
It can still be done. A month ago
I boarded a train at the bottom of
N. State St. and, with one change in
Chicago, rolled into the New Year
aboard a train bound for Seattle. The
trip cost me $101.50 from Ann Arbor,
exclusive of any sleeping or eating
arrangements, and took parts of three
days and two nights.
The stream-lined dream I boarded
in Chicago's Union Station was call-
ed the Empire Builder and would
carry me across the top of the United
States. While the Empire once be-
longed to James J. Hill and the Great
Northern Railroad, just who owns it
now is less than clear.
Somewhere in the snow plains of
western Minnesota, when it was dark
and the trees were beginning to drop
astern, I explored all the cars and
rows of faces to the very end. There,
beyond the last door on a snow-en-
crusted platform, a cold windy vac-
uum blew up great flurries of snow
and the tracks were a fast, rocking
regression into the past. The con-
ductor pulled me back inside by the
seat of my pants.
IN ONE OF THE dome cars forward
sat a cowboy from Glendive, Mon-
tana. He came complete with ten gal-
lon hat, boots, Western shirt and
chewing tobacco, but wore no chaps
or six guns. He felt bad about the
three fellows who jumped him in
Minneapolis his last night there.
"If they'd a tried it back in Mon-
tana," he vowed, "I'd uh got even wif
By midnight and Fargo, North Da-
kota, the temperature outside had
dropped to twenty four degrees below
zero and a noticeable chill was set-
tling over some of the cars. As the
train sat and sat in the station, great
clouds of steam issued from it and ob-
scured the small, bundled figures of
the maintenance crews, who were
working several cars down at thawing
out the steam lines. On his way home
to the State University in Grand
Forks was a very un-Dakotan looking
"How did you get out to a place
like Grand Forks?" I asked.
"It's a job," he shrugged. "The old
"Do you have much to do with the
THE PROFESSOR looked embarras-
sed and gestured toward a stocky,
red-haired man of about thirty who
was standing next to us. "Sure, here's
one right here."
The North Dakotan was born in Mi-
not, a stop further up the line where
it's supposed to be colder than any-
where else. He teaches sixth grade in
Grand Forks. I asked him questions
and he told me stories, considering
everything he said very carefully, like
a Viking broken to the word, thinking
slowly but steadily ever since.
"Just a month ago the people had a
bookburning in a little town west of
here," he began. "Deliverance and
some book by Henry Miller, I can't re-
member the name. A teacher assigned
them to his high school English
"What did they do to the teacher?"
"Oh nothing much. He came out
from California and grew a beard a
month after he got there, had as lit-
tle as possible to do with the peo-
ple and didn't go to church on Sun-
days. Then he tried to teach Deliver-
the curtains so no one will see us."
"Parents don't want the teachers
of their children to drink alcohol?"
"It's not so much that. It's more
they don't want the teachers to see
them drinking, so teachers can't go to
BACKING SLOWLY out of Grand,
Forks at dawn the next day I
first saw the flat wheat and cattle
country by light, subdivided into
squares of snowy emptiness by power
lines, fences and roads. Rolling up to
hills as the day wore on, the West
that I began to see was a land of peo-
LOUIE CAME BY and got into an
argument with one of the men
about the maximum speed allowed
passenger trains. The passenger said
he worked for a finance company but
knew-what he was talking about be-
cause his father had worked for a
"If it comes down to a choice be-
tween profits and people," said the
passenger defiantly, "management
'will always go for the profits. I
"Oh Jerry," gushed his nubile
young wife. "He's not really like
It's hard work fuckin' a r o u n d in those
godamn woods. And it ain't any easier when
you got six holes in you," the logger said.
"How'd you get six holes?" I asked.
"They calls it Vietnam."
"Where'd the six holes come from?
"They calls 'em bullets."
' "k T " f +: Sa .L, "gk: c.bRa:agik'.+a 'a .k ' c :. .v. .
X2% 'a, " e +r. : h.ase
ple huddled together into towns
against vast expanses of empty space
-the Big Sky country.
Late in the afternoon we stopped
at Wolf Point, Montana, where the
sun was setting red on the smoke
and steam from a thousand chimneys.
Outside in the main street it was very
cold and dry, bright blue sky, tem-
perature around zero. Flocks of peo-
ple moved in and out of the liquor
stores. An old man wearing a cowboy
hat wished me a happy New Year
and assured me that they had enough
heating oil in Wolf Point to keep
In the mountains of west Montana
and northern Idaho that night, the
old year faded uncertainly into the
new, maybe twice, because we were
just passing from Mountain into
Pacific Coast time. Fueled by 24 bot-
tles of champagne which Louie, the
train's social director, had distribut-
ed, New Year's celebrants tooted
horns and cracked peanut shells in
the bar car.
Up in the dome lounge above the
bar, a set of smart young marrieds in
their mid-twenties were having their
own party. The women aroused my
lust; the men sported stylish mod
haircuts, moustaches and heavy bot-
toms. They were returning from a ski-
that," she apologized to Louie, laugh-
"Don't pay any attention to him,"
jeered another of Jerry's companions.
"Last week he totaled his Camaro
against a telephone poll." Everyone
joinel in uproarious mockery.
"Say, what's this I hear about the
railroad giving away their old ster-
ling service to the first class passen-
gers?" ventured another of the men.
"Not on your life," laughed the so-
cial director. "That stuff is worth
money and it gets auctioned off for
"Here's. a twenty dollar bill," ans-
wered the young man, laying one on
the table, "that says you'll get what
you want if you slip it to the right
OFF THE TRAIN and two nights
later I came to a little logging
town on the Olympic Peninsula call-
ed Forks, ten miles in from the ocean.
I spent my evening there in a bar,
chin in palm, elbow on the table,
watching the logging men and their
girlfriends play pool.
Later in my six dollar room at the
Antler Hotel, where the bedspread
had holes in it and the faded picture
of a woman from earlier in the cen-
tury hung on the wall, I listened to
the compelling progress of half-au-
dible slaps, tickles, and protests
coming from the next room .After a
fight waged around the door to the
bathroom which the two rooms
shared, the noise subsided and the
mattress springs began to sound in
steady rhythm, culminating in a
lengthy, disorganized jiggle.
No Tammy Wynette wailed the end
of love the next morning, however, as
only three words came through the
wall. "Forget about me," said a male
voice, husky with working man pity.
Waiting downstairs, after I had
dressed and packed, was the fast-
est chainsaw operator in the Pacific r
Northwest, formerly the meanest
first lieutenant in the U. S. Marine
Corps and now the alonest man in
"You the fella they tells me is
looking for work on a loggin' crew?"
"Last night I was asking around,
"Well, whatta you got? We need a
man," said the logger, chewing mean-
ly on a toothpick.
"I DON'T KNOW," I replied. "I don't
have much, no experience and
not even a very strong body. In fact,
I was just asking around because I've
decided to go back east and finish
up my last semester of school. Maybe
I'll come back out in the spring and
find work then."
The logger snorted, and with his
hands thrust into his rear pockets,
paced up the room, thektoes of his
boots pointing outward. He was bet-
ter than six feet tall and had blonde
hair greased back over the top of
The logger spat out his toothpick.
"Me, I'm a logcutter and they calls
me about the fastest there is. Some
days I cut 40,000 board feet of tim-
ber. That's $120 in my pocket. Whad-
dya think you're doin' comin' out to
a place like this in the winter, espe-
cially if you're weak and you ain't
got no experience?"
"I just wanted to see it."
He snorted again. "Well, you'll see
it plenty if you go for a logger. Me,
I've had enough of this god-damn
"Why are you here then?"
"Make money, why else?"
"You bet your khaki britches it's
hard work fucking around in those
god-damned woods. And it ain't any
easier when you got six holes in you."
"How'd you get six holes?"
"They calls it Vietnam."
"Where's the six holes come from?"
"They calls 'em bullets."
"What happened?" He stared out
the .window at the early morning
gray. "Twelve years in the Marine
Corps, get to lieutenant and they
bust me for breakin' up a stupid
colonel with my hands."
"WELL THEN," I said ,"We're both
fools, me for coming out here and
you for busting up a colonel."
"I ain't no fool buddy. That son of
a bitch was set to puttin' my men
into an ambush he knowed was
"How long ago did you break him
"Three years." The meanest log-
cutter inspected the toes of his boots,
rocking back on his heels. "He just
got out of the hospital at Bremerton."
"Three years," I repeated dumbly.
"Yeah, I fixed him good," smiled
the logger bashfully, settling back
easily against the wall with his arms
"You got family around here?" I
"Got no one." He resumed his fixed
stare out the window. "Father died
a couple of years ago, mother died
last spring, wife died while I was in
the Corps, brother got killed up here
by Tyee last winter when a tree fell
"God damn that bastard," the log-
ger muttered, clenching his fist aft-
er a long pause. "That's another rea-
son for hanging' around this hole."
"What's that?" I asked.
"Gonna get even with that son of
a bitch who killed him."
AT DAWN on New Year's Day the
train was rolling through the dry
interior of Washington State, bad-
lands and faraway hills covered with
snow and scrubby tufts of dark
grass. After two days and two nights,
the Empire Builder smelled of peo-
ple and baloney sandwiches, but it
was all right because I would be in
Seattle by afternoon.
From Chicago to Seattle is 1800
miles, and following the track for
every mile were the telephone lines,
hung in sets on triple-yarded poles.
Lounging across a pair of seats in the
dome, I watched the lines swoop
backward from pole to pole across
the land. Cattle grazed on a ridgeline
against the growing light. Behind
them the towers of a power line
marched away toward a city. As the
grade of the rail bed changed and the
line of poles traversed uneven
ground, the sets of wires blended in
and out of each other in soaring, tri-
umphant compositions against the
By Laura Berman
Brenda Starr worked hard to get
where she is today. An aggressive and
successful comic-strip reporter, Bren-
da doesn't regard women as "sisters"
but as competitors. She contemptu-
ously ignores the call of women's lib-
This comic strip heroine has coun-
terparts in real life. In fact, Brenda
Starr's rather elitist attitudes are so
commonplace that three researchers
from the Institute for Social Re-
search (ISR) have given them a
name: "The Queen Bee Snydrome".
The Queen Bee thinks herself su-
perior because she has garnered a
position usually restricted to men.
She identifies with the men in her
peer group rather than with women.
And she has no intention of helping
other women climb to the position
she has worked hard to attain.
"People who succeed, like the
Queen Bees, tend to identify with the
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The Queen Bee identi-
fies with the men in her
peer group and has no
intention of helping
liberation. The three decided to work
together, using data collected from
two readership surveys in 'Psychology
Today' and 'Redbook' as the basis for
American women who see her suc-
cess in terms of a boyfriend, then a
good marriage, then the roles of wife
and mother," explains Staines. "The
women's movement is a threat to
that way of life."
For much the same reason, the
three psychologists discovered that
older women are opposed to the wo-
men's movement. "It's natural," Ja-
yaratne said, "These women have
spent 50 years living another way.
They aren't about to change now."
Does the Queen Bee Syndrome
mean that the women's movement is
self-defeating? That if more women
are allowed to succeed in the system
they will try to keep equal numbers
from following them to the top?
The University researchers don't
think so. "The movement has gained
credibility," .said Jayaratne. "It's
hard for anyone to ignore it. And
eventually, the Queen Bee Syndrome
searcher Nate Caplan found that
bourgeois blacks -- who enjoy suc-
cess in the system - help stop riots.
Less successful blacks blame the sys-
tem and have no desire to stop the
system that has let her reach the
top," Staines explains. "She identi-
fies with her male colleagues rather
than with the concept of women as a