SI Vault
 
LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
Garry Valk
July 24, 1967
It is a matter of minihistory around the office that Dan Jenkins was the first of our writers to use the term "teeny hopper" in a story—so far ahead of the common usage of today that nobody had even heard it. This pioneer expression was finally permitted to appear in the magazine (some crusty editors who worry about such things were half-convinced it was naughty) because everybody knows that Jenkins understands and accurately translates the cool In language of the very, very young. What makes this so unusual is that he is so very, very old, almost 40, a sort of Bernard Baruch of hippiedom.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 24, 1967

Letter From The Publisher

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

It is a matter of minihistory around the office that Dan Jenkins was the first of our writers to use the term "teeny hopper" in a story—so far ahead of the common usage of today that nobody had even heard it. This pioneer expression was finally permitted to appear in the magazine (some crusty editors who worry about such things were half-convinced it was naughty) because everybody knows that Jenkins understands and accurately translates the cool In language of the very, very young. What makes this so unusual is that he is so very, very old, almost 40, a sort of Bernard Baruch of hippiedom.

When one of our editors wondered not too long ago where the In kids had gone after spring vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Jenkins was sent to find them. He vanished in midtown Manhattan, somewhere near the Cheetah, and surfaced a few days later on Waikiki in a vast field of, as he put it, copper-toned tummies. The report that followed told of a migration of summer surfers that led to a summit meeting of beachies, bleachies, hippies and fake-outs. And the language again, as you will find, starting on page 48, is right out of the future.

Only an ear sensitive to nuance could have captured the swinging mood of summer Hawaii or, more accurately, the mood near the trash can at the Moana Hotel, where all the best beachies gather. In fact, Jenkins may be the only writer in the world who could make the beach scene in a button-down Oxford-cloth shirt and still converse with the In crowd. There was immediate rapport, Jenkins says. "They could immediately tell that although my body was 108, my soul was 16, that I use hair spray and have a complete collection of albums by the Lovin' Spoonful. I cooled the whole group by telling them that I had once smoked my typewriter ribbon."

Jenkins did not surf, swim or do the monkey, jerk, dog, fish or slop. He also refused to go into the water and insists the only time he got wet was when one teeny bopper sloshed a Coke on him. Jenkins professes to be strictly sedentary (although, as you can see, he once was photographed with his wife, June, actually half in a swimming pool), a writer who believes in tuning in on the world, not turning out for it. During the year, he collects characters on his football, ski-racing and golf assignments because, he feels, "it brings me closer to where America is really headed—the moon."

Having tuned in on the beachies-by-the-trash-can, Jenkins submerged again and turned up at Boulder, Colo., where he is visiting U.S. Alpine Coach Bob Beattie, a very active young man who believes in running every morning and that sort of athletic bag. Jenkins is trying to teach Beattie to sit still and contemplate the Rockies.

"Actually," says Jenkins, "my three favorite sports are playing golf on a windless day in an electric cart with three guys I can beat, drinking in places like Toots Shor and P. J. Clarke's and occasionally going back to Texas to get an enchilada fix." Sounds suspiciously like an adult bopper.

1