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May 20, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-05-20

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

Lost in Levittown: The class

By SARA RIMER
LEVITTOWN, PA. - This
town's pretty mach the way I
left it four years ago when I
started school in Ann Arbor. A
little greener, now that the
trees have grown some, but
the house nest door stilt looks
like the one next to it, which
looks like the one next to it, and
so on down the line.
There's a fresh crop of lit-
tle kids on my street. Skate-
boards are back, and they're
screeching the wheels down
Spicebush Road just like we
did. And some of those kids
that were little and cute when
I lived at home have grown up
and grown bored enough to
become the newest punks. Take
that red-haired ten-year-old -
the angel boy type adults love
to coo at - whose picture is in
our photo album. The shot
shows him sucking on a lollipop
and grinding his hips inside a
hula hoop as a bright thatch of
hair falls over his blue eyes.
Now that he's 14, the adults
have given up cooing and are
calling the police on him in-
stead these days. Seems he
gets his kicks from rolling
parked VWs into the road and
husting streetlamps.
LEVITTOWN, for all its
charming street names Sil-
verhell, Fieldstone, Red Rov-
ing, Juniper - can he dreary.
0i u r neighborhood, Snowball
Gate, has its lovely street
names _ - Spinythorn, Seckle-
pear, Scarlet Oak, you got it,
they all start with "S". What
it doesn't have are parks,
nearby libraries, hoskstores,
nor more than a single thea-
tre within walking distance.
Sn-mwhvbll Gate has a parking
lot where teenagers from all
over get down in their cars
with the headlights turned off.
Sri when ss)me of the kids get
bored and their parents don't
send them off to sammer camp

or to tennis lessons, they start
busting streetlamps and rolling
cars. The cops don't seem to
mind.
There has been one recent
change on our street: a racially
mixed couple has moved in
across the street from us. That
makes Spicebush Road's first
black and maybe the fourth
or fifth to move into a neigh-
borhood of about 800 families.
People still report. "Did you
know that a black family has
moved in on the drive?" as if
it's news four years after it
happened. While they try to tell
you they think it's great -
progress, you know - what
they're really saying is, "How
odd that THEY want to live
among us whites." A lot of
people still don't answer the
door when someone black
comes walking up the driveway.
They watch their visitor
t h r o u g h closed curtains
i n s t e a d, telling themselves,
"You never know who it could
be." And they never will know,
either.
It's to all this dreariness that
some of this spring's graduates
are returning. The class of '72
took off running four Septem-
hers ago to figure out what they
wanted to do with their lives
and now they're coming home
to this town of 75,000 with their
1A degrees to think about the
problem some more.
A LOT OF the cool people _-
athletes, cheerleaders, and the
like were considered "cool" -
used to hang at G uiseppe's, a
tacky pizza place where a good
looking girl could meet a jock.
Guiseppe's is still there, but
it's lost its clientele to the new
bar next door that's just as
tacky but that bears a name
otrageously pretentious f o r
Levittown. Truffles, they call
it. Nearby are a Seven Eleven,
a Thom McAnn's, a Dairy
Qbeen, the Ble Fountain Din-
er - _ and now Truffles. The

graduates are coming back to
Truffles to drink. Now that
most of the jocks have quit
playing football, their guts are
spilling over their belts like
the foam slobbering down their
mttgs of beer.
Those graduates that come
back don't talk much about
their plans. Nor do they talk
much about their college ex-
periences; they went away to
get their degrees and to get
out of Levittown. Coming back
is really not cool at all.
Conversation eventually gets
around to Levittown: nothing
to do here, they complain, as if
they'd forgotten. But where be-
fore they complained and then
went back to school, now they
complain and they stay. Much
of the class of '72 has come

The graduates are claiming
the same jobs they held dur-
ing summers between terms.
There was Linda, still hostess-
ing at The Rusty Scupper Inn
in nearby Princeton, New Jer-
sey last week. She's been there
on breaks from Penn State
University each time I've been
on one from Michigan. Now
that she's graduated, she's
back at The Scupper. The place
looks like an airy, wooden-
beamed beach house colored by
brilliant, Marimeko print pil-
lows and hung everywhere with
plants. Just one catch: instead
of looking out on the water, it
looks out on the parking lot.
The waitresses are mostly lean,
long - haired, and terribly pret-
ty. They are also mostly col-
lege - educated and waiting,

'The class of '72 took off running four Sep-
tembers ago to figure out what they wanted
to do with their lives,, and now they're com-
ing home to this town of 75,000 with their
BA degrees to think about the problem some
more."

of '76
IT WAS TOO much of what
we'd already heard hundreds
of times when the waitress in-
troduced herself and then, in
the chummy style of some
pseudo-young chic restaurants,
gave us the rundown on her
life native of a Boston suburb,
Amherst graduate, came to The
Scupper with friends because
she couldn't find anything else
to do. She had hand-tooled sil-
ver and gold jewelry, some of
it studded with turquoise and
coral, up and down her arms,
around her neck, and on her
fingers, and it was hard to feel
too sorry for her. It appeared
that Mom and Dad in the Bos-
ton suburb were taking good
care of her while she looked
around. But she must have
touched a chord somewhere;
we left a big tip.
She was a good example of
those wealthier graduates it
Levittown who don't have In
worry much. They're home
now for a few weeks to unwind,
bt thenathere's srael, Europne,
back to school maybe with their
parents paying tuition agai ur ..I' h nwh
No hurry - t's the onen wvh
are back waitressing or work-
ing construction to pay the bills
who could get stuck. They all
wanted to do better than Lenvit-
town. Just the same, they tell
each other over drinks at Truf-
fles, you had to get the de-
gree. Didn't you?
A close friend, who graduat-
ed from college ten years ago
and talks about going back for
his PhD, put it this way in a
graduation card: "I spentt grad-
uation day saying, 'Four sears
wasted! I' ater, I found that
everyone else had, too. Bult
would you tell your kid nst to
go to college?"
'ssra B sssssrs on/ss /o s
S af R/i s D a d / d u rin g 1 9 7 5 , ' 1i
ltat([ frnt /1w Univoril1 Ya
May 1. Shei/ n /ne tsin Isr s-
'l-ss s for a fsss isvs 1 f
/>(gisssis' ass is,,'55rns/s/ sss /
l'/;ilssdsl/slssa Ille/in.

back this summer to wait. For
graduate school, marriage . . .
the lottery, perhaps?
THERE ARE those in the
class of '72 who never left
Levittown. Some high school
couples stayed together, got
married, often wound up liv-
ing in Levittown's squat, mod-
ern apartments and working at
the shopping malls or the din-
ers. Those who left for college
could look down at the ones
who stayed - who settled -
sasugly confident that they were
getting out and moving on to
a better life. And now they're
scared when they run into
those same couples at the sup-
ersmarket or the movies. The
line that was once drawn so
strong between them is wear-
ing thin.

like Linda, for something better
to come along. Meanwhile, they
serve big drinks and quiche to
Princeton's young sophisti-
cates.
Linda stopped briefly to ex-
plain just what she was wait-
ing for. A new mall had open-
ed: "It's got Bamberger's,
Wanamaker's, all the good
stores; I think I can get a
sales job," she said, as if
that's all she really wanted.
What about her old friend
Adele, what was she doing?
Adele had just graduated from
Penn State with a degree in
advertising, Linda said. No
job though; she's taking a
group of kids across the coun-
try this summer. Then she
doesn't know what she'll do,
Linda added.

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, May 20, 1976
News Phone: 764-0552
(AN A PENNY PINCHING, boyish-looking former Jesuit
seminary student turned governor of the nation's
largest state find happiness as a novice on the presi-
dential trail?
Jerry Brown, resident guru of the California state-
house, whose staff limousine is an unpresumptious Ply-
mouth and who shuns the governor's mansion for a Sac-
ramento bachelor pad, has proven that such a mini-
miracle is possible.
Brown, who trounced Jimmy Carter in Maryland's
"beauty contest" Tuesday, must now be considered an
important factor in the waning days of the campaign.
Although he did not win any delegates - he filed
too late in Maryland -- Brown proved that his fresh, new
personality and "less is better" doctrine can woo votes.
More important, Brown appears set to garner a sizeable
block of delegates in his home state of California on June
8, and his recent spurt of momentum can spell a mea-
sure of success in the other two primaries he has en-
tered: Nevada and the high stakes New Jersey race.
On the personal level, Brown's national recognition
should soar at a time when he is still years away from
his political prime. But it is clear that Brown will enter
July's convention with a potent number of delegates,
enough to have an impact on an all-out Democratic
scramble.

"1"SSSSSTi, JERRY... IBACKrl.I ()YOUR iMI NlIAT."
-, r
* - ~E

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