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SHORT STORIES

June 01, 1986|PATT MORRISON

Boys Will Be Men Some were hellions, like the 9-year-old kid who had robbed three banks in the same day, at gunpoint. Some, like Bryan Burgess, came from violent, broken homes. Now, Burgess is organizing one of the most unusual alumni groups in Southern California: the veterans of Boys Town, the Omaha home for neglected and troubled lads, founded nearly 70 years ago by Father Edward J. Flanagan. At the first meeting of "former boys" hereabouts, they drew an aerospace vice president, the owner of a local radio station, a $1-million donor to the University of Southern California, sundry firemen and businessmen, and Lloyd M. Bucher, commander of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo. "I bet you that our success rate would stun the nation," says Burgess, himself a project manager at Rockwell International. In the 100th anniversary year of Flanagan's birth, Burgess has spent "a small fortune" rounding up then-and-now boys for upcoming reunions and for the Old Boys Town job network for new grads, who now include girls. There is, however, no movement afoot to change the name to "Young Persons Town." A Tough Job, But. . . She took Gordon Liddy in stride. But Michelle Miller considered it a challenge when her boss at H.R. Textron Inc. teased her that the in-house management group she heads--which schedules monthly speakers on business techniques--should book a madam or the Pope, "because their jobs are so difficult." A few weeks later, Norma Ashby, a retired and reformed madam, was up at the lectern, with variously "dressed for success" ladies of her ex-trade, talking about call-girl management. It was a new experience to Ashby but not to members of Miller's group, whose meetings often hear from speakers you might see on "Meet the Press." "We have speakers like no one else," says Miller, first woman president of the group. In case you're wondering, Liddy was, Miller says, "a very nice man; he was very management-oriented." Sights for Saur Eyes Maybe they have been around for tens of millions of years, but you have only until Aug. 31 to catch their act. That's when the Natural History Museum's exhibit of dinosaur art through the eons will go on the road, complete with commercial spots taped by the exhibit's celebrity rep, actress Morgan Fairchild, a paleo-groupie who loves dem bones herself. "We expected Morgan to be beautiful," a museum representative says, "but we were all amazed by how much she knows about paleontology." The tour includes such cast members as a life-size sculpted allosaurus, an eight-foot thunder lizard whose cousinly relationship to the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex probably did not prevent him from being Rex's lunch on occasion. The biggest fans of the show are those equally terrifying 5- to 9-year-olds who know how to spell and pronounce everything they see. The exhibit chronicles the dinosaurs' changing PR from the near-silly depictions of the 1860s to a hypothetical "homosaurus": how man and lizardly carnivore might have co-evolved, which anyone who has ever seen a commodities trader at work can believe has already happened. Bike-Chain Letters Neither desert heat nor Gramm-Rudman will stay these mail carriers from delivering your air-conditioning bill. With no budget for new trucks, the Indio post office is putting three of its routes on a cycle: the two-wheel kind. The cycling postpersons already bike to work on their own, but Postmaster Jim McGraw had to break it to them gently about the new models: No bells on the handlebars.

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