From any decent distance these lonely sisters of the barren flat plain, these isolated twin mini-cities of the vast Permian Basin—Midland and Odessa—appear more alike than not.
Their differences may seem paltry or superficial or not to exist at all to the visitor blasting across Interstate 10 toward Fort Worth or El Paso, for there is a peapod sameness—a tuneless monotony of brown land and anemic blue sky—in these baked badlands where often the wind grows angry and spits hot sand. After about an hour of it—after miles of oil derricks, runty little stands of sagebrush or greasewood, and billboards plugging steak houses, country music radio, automobile or insurance bargains—one may begin to wonder where Texas keeps its bluebonnets or America stores its purple mountain majesties.
No, you could not. There are differences in the towns—though not so powerful or so varied, probably, as the natives like to think—and certainly there 50s dating Pembroke a mutual dedication toward maintaining them. It is more, somehow, than neighbors fighting for their respective shares of a common economic pie, dating over 40 Trenton NJ more than communities routinely tussling to see who lands the four-year college or gets to brand its name on a shared airport—though these, certainly, are part of the traditional squabbling.
Odessa, on the other hand, has little demand for corporate lawyers.
We are a bunch of sweat-hog lawyers over here, getting it on in the courtrooms. We tend to drink in bars. Midland lawyers drink at Elkhart minute dating review. My Odessa comrades—whatever their vocations—more willingly abandon their duties to accommodate my random, unannounced midday recreations; Midland pals generally put me off until the post-work hours. Odessa, in this particular, shares instincts with Fort Worth; Midland is more of Dallas, serious minded and buttoned down.
One can trace back this legitimate difference in styles—if not to root beginnings—at least to the late s Huntington law dating someone 18 early s when geologists began to suspect that the two desert towns—only eighteen miles apart and then of fewer than 10, people each—sat smack in the middle of a rich oil pool.
Midland opted to become the financial center. In retrospect it seems a rather remarkable decision, something like Baptist deacons voting to sponsor a dice tournament or girlie show. For these were conservative hulks in their politics and in their personal habits, the descendants of hard-scrabblers who had dribbled and drifted into the lonesome territory in the s or s to slowly build a windmill town called Midway because of its location smack between Dallas and El Paso.
Getting to know a guy New Jersey distance cattle empires had not been forged without pain, sweat, and loss. No, for by then geologists had confirmed earlier suspicions: the bald desert literally reeked of oil, the subterranean Permian Basin Pool covered a grand expanse of the old prehistoric Permian Sea and tested out richer than fresh cowplop; it was, simply, one of the richest strikes to be found anywhere, and even some few fools and dreamers became wealthy.
They did not urge money on you just because you wanted to hunt oil or thought you knew where to find it. Independent oilmen swarmed in from all over, as did draftsmen and landmen and scouts and geologists and technicians and Ivy League lawyers.
The less fortunate found a new recreation: driving around West Midland to mature sex dating Petersburg VA sprawling new homes—some looking like Mussolini-era depots or the Ramada Inns of a later day or old stone forts—with their manicured lawns and landscaped trees or shrubs. Some prosperous newcomers, agitated by blowing sands during the windy season, erected costly, high—and ineffectual—fences as protection.
Everybody wore burr haircuts, neckties, class rings, and hopes of riches on their sleeves. Odessa literally kept a low profile: you could scarcely see its skyline from the nearby oil fields. It was tent-city ugly, the bedroom town of the driller and the lowly roustabout who suffered the fumes and rattlings of growling giant polish dating Vancouver it had the feel and smell of grease in its pores. Along the clutter of the East Eighth Street dives you could find the sort of action you craved: beer-drinking music, fisticuffs, dice or card opportunities, painted ladies for hire.
To be a police reporter there was to visit the i Green Bay WI a man looking for a woman emergency room often—great were the stabbings and shootings and simple country butt-stomps—and to find the jails bursting at the seams.
Where Midland boasted its grand homes, Odessa was a hodgepodge of frame houses built like cracker boxes for the most part; an arabesque settlement of odors and backyard goat pens or distance hutches. It was only natural: more oil reposed near or in Odessa than was the case with Midland. It was my misfortune as a teenager in the Midland to live in Midland while harboring Odessa preferences in my soul, my character, and my heritage. Odessa might break my jaw, sure, but Midland, with its socio-economic snobberies, automatic exclusions, and reflexive acquisitive instincts, seemed a threat to break my spirit.
I thought it a pretentious place, one excessively concerned with form and appearance, one full of fake camaraderie and gimlet-eyed hustlers bent on getting the buck. Our civic boosters having done their jobs too well, the Odessa kids took us for Man Park swells. The image was there, you see, and our proletariat adversaries—whose town, after all, had been named by foreign-born railroad workers for a town in Russia! Their savagery was intimidating: we sissybritches Headquarters-City-of-the-Vast-Permian-Basin-Empire boys lost to Sintown by 20 to 7 free sex in Tempe AZ rapids 48 to 0 in my time; only by ing the Army dating my senior season did I avoid the record plastering of High school football was, I think, a legitimate cultural and psychological measuring stick of that time and that place: many of us concluded that Odessa was, indeed, the rawer and the tougher community.
As in an earlier time, Odessa is looser, more informal, more rollicking, more old-shoe and howdy-do. But you must remember that we are dealing in relative terms: we are talking, essentially, about two nervous and up-tight communities that continue to respond to their shaping heritages.
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Midland hung a horse thief from Massachusetts lovely dating courthouse tree at the turn of the century; juries in each town have voted people eligible for the electric chair. Both Midland and Odessa are clench-jawed law-and-order towns in the basics, where the natives still love their guns, and where dopers or rapists routinely draw more time than Methuselah could have served. Visiting longhairs continue to receive funny looks in polite society and need only enter the rowdier beer ts to assure their butt-stompings.
Going back, for me, is like our time dating reviews Tacoma WA out on the other side of a Time Machine: it could be again, or maybe the mids. Last summer a friend took me to the Odessa Country Club, where the ladies wore silk gowns and high-heels and beehive hairdos; their gentlemen wore white shirts and pinkie rings and had not been tempted by mod hair styles. A middle-aged lady wearing a corsage pumped the organ while her slick-haired, mustachioed partner squeezed an accordion.
The crowd sang along: of blue moons and of bicycles built for two and of goodnights to Free black chat line Bellevue WA. Politically, this is bedrock conservative territory with the nut wing among Rightists well-represented. Odessa once selected General Edwin Walker over John Connally for governor, and always treated Ralph Yarborough as if he carried a social disease.
When I visited an Odessa bookstore in the late s, while on a Fontana CA voice dating tour, the Birchers posted a lady who wrote down all the dangerous things I said. Periodically, in both Midland and Odessa, vigilantes attempt to pluck Hemingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, and other dangerous or trashy writers from the library shelves.
You know, for a while out here it looked like the kook element might take over the school boards and city hall. But they raised so much silly hell and made so many improbable charges that it scared folks. Students of the new University of Texas of the Dating Basin at Odessa are still complaining of authorities censoring their school paper and firing west dating Lansing MI editor in One hears of battles breaking out in the public dating a girl out of your Plano over the vital matter of proper Dress Codes, and occasional patriots picket visiting speakers harboring loose ideas.
The chain-owned Odessa American a product of Freedom Newspapers, with headquarters in Orange County, California is the more blunt and strident; the home-owned Midland Reporter-Telegram tends to pussyfoot or hem and haw. In essence, however, they serve the same masters. You could fry in the sun, however, if you waited on a corner until any of the media outlets Midland to probe or explore poverty, racism, institutional injustices, or otherwise critically examine their bailiwicks.
In this, however, they probably are guilty of little more neglect than the Distance norm: city reporters may rake a little muck in Houston or Dallas, but in Amarillo and Abilene—or i need a date to a Topeka KS Lufkin or Lubbock—you will polish dating agency Fontana find much dirt disturbed unless the wind does it.
When Midland was a windmill town, in the late s, its town boosters and Texas and Pacific railroad officials made a decision that may still haunt it: they refused to seek government emergency aid, while others did, during a disastrous two-year drought that starved cattle herds and dried up water holes. While the land lay parched, the people underplayed the disaster. They put all their economic eggs in one basket, depending on a white-collar and professional work force, and they built skyscrapers and housing developments as if the merry boom never would end.
By the mids, however, as meet Shreveport LA friends production lost its potential for dizzy quick free dirt Brownsville TX due to restricted allowables and world market conditions, many independent operators went under; the major oil companies retrenched by first trimming their white-collar fat.
Midland lost in each case; the companies which did not close their local operations pared them to the bone, transferring their main forces to Tulsa or Houston or elsewhere. Suddenly, Midland had surplus dwellings on its hands and many semi-empty skyscrapers. The population, which had grown to 67, inslipped back to 58, despite a high local birth rate. The problem began long before it was apparent, as most problems do. Like Fort Worth when the late Amon Carter and his ruling pals aged or died, Midland had made few provisions for replacing its natural leaders.
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As early as —though the fact then was obscured by the runaway boom—its formerly vigorous old-timers began to lose their visions and their grips. Midland at that time refused to the Upper Colorado River Authority—a mistake Odessa did not make—and fifteen years would pass before the city, after many costly drilling operations discovering dry dating service Santa Rosa CA ok, found water sources sufficient to encourage modern industry.
Midland settled down to building a spiffy Little Theater and a symphony orchestra that played in white ties—each with its own imported full-time professional director—and to counting its money and its blessings; its banks and newspapers hired artists and writers to capture the spirit of Midland on canvas and in books. Everybody played a lot of golf and drank martinis. Odessa, in the same period, was coming into an aggressive new wealth and spawning a new generation of go-getters determined to keep the good times rolling.
A diversified economy was their goal. By the mids Odessa was on the way to landing a sizeable petrochemical complex and was building a huge county coliseum in which to stage a profitable online dating services Nyc commercial Oil Show plus everything from rodeos to wrestling to rock band concerts at a time when Midland was surrendering, because of a lack of facilities and community interest, its traditional World Championship Rodeo ; it was dispatching civic squ far and wide to attract legal separation in Norfolk and dating or private funding.
The city grew its own modest skyline and constructed a replica of the Stratford-on-Avon Shakespearian Theater; whenever Odessa and Midland vied for four-year colleges or new post offices or district courts or regional offices of state agencies, Odessa somehow seemed to get there first. Not that either city is much Denton TX dating events a paradise to a former resident of both, now that he has much roaming on his record.
Movies reach these Permian Basin precincts only after much aging in the can.
There is not a truly decent bookstore in either city. The magazine racks recommend a high percentage of detective stories, mechanical manuals, homemaking hints, and almost as many porn offering as Times Square outlets. Unless you crave country music or studio Erie PA professional dating or thirteen super-loud and frantic commercials per six minutes, you have small use for your West Texas radio.
Sin City has become Dullsville. A boom means money. Even as much as America suffers unaccustomed economic rigors, the sober inheritors of the old Permian Basin are having themselves a first-class oil boom out there—thanks to the energy shortage, rising oil prices, and the tough new attitudes of Arabian sheiks.
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When Walter Cronkite dating a New York NY woman a couple of minutes to the Odessa boom, the town was overrun by migrants seeking work; local officials say the influx brought unemployment up from 2 to 3. All it takes is want-to. Everybody kinda let their equipment run down in the last few years, not much drilling was going on, and when things opened up it caught us off-base.