The Great Speckled Bird
One day in the eighth grade, PG had a sore spot in his eye. They called it a stye. One afternoon, he got out of school, walked to Lenox Square, saw a doctor, and got some drops to put in his eye.
When he left the doctor’s office, there was a man, standing in front of Rich’s on the sidewalk, selling a newspaper. He had dirty blond hair down past his shoulders. PG asked what the newspaper was. Mostly politics, the man said. PG gave him fifteen cents for a copy of “The Great Speckled Bird”.
The Bird was an underground newspaper. It was so bad, it needed to be buried. If you are under fifty, you have probably never seen one. These papers flourished for a while. The Bird was published from 1968 to 1976. The April 26, 1968 edition was volume one, number four. This was what PG bought that day.
The Georgia State University Library has a digital collection. Included in it are copies of The Great Speckled Bird. Included in this collection is edition Number Four . PG went looking for that first copy. He needed to be patient, for the GSU server took it’s time. Finally, the copy he asked for came up. It was mostly politics.
When PG saw page four, he knew it was the edition from forty four years ago. “Sergeant Pepper’s Vietnam Report” was the story of a young man sent to Nam. It had a paragraph that impressed young PG, and is reproduced here. The rest of the article is not that great, which is typical of most underground newspaper writing.
A couple of years later, PG spent the summer working at the Lenox Square Theater. The number two screen was a long skinny room. If you stood in the right place, you could hear the electric door openers of the Colonial Grocery store upstairs. The Bird salesmen were a feature at the mall that summer, which not everyone appreciated. This was the year of the second, and last, Atlanta Pop Festival. PG was not quite hip enough to make it. He was back in the city, taking tickets for “Fellini Satyricon”. The Bird was printing 26 pages an issue, with lots of ads, pictures, and the distinctive graphics of the era.
Stories about hippies, and the Bird, can be found at The Strip Project.
Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” .
This is a repost, written like H.P. Lovecraft.