The Sun Shone On The Dedication Of The Texas Historical Marker For The Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation

Lindalyn Adams and Pierce Allman

The skies were clear thanks to an overnight cold front, but the flags on The Aldredge House’s terrace on Wednesday, April 5, were literally blowing in the wind. Wearing sunglasses to fend off the afternoon sun, adults and kids gathered at The Aldredge House for a double celebration. In addition to the dedication of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s Texas Historical Marker, it was also to celebrate The Alliance’s and The House’s 100th anniversary.

As a hundred guests arrived along Swiss Avenue, valet parkers waved guests off from parking on the curb. They were vigilante about avoiding past parking problems for nearby neighbors.

Lisa Loeb

With chairs set up on the terrace of the House and on the front law, guests like Calvert Collins, Pierce Allman, Lindalyn “Born on the 4th of July” Adams and Bobbie Sue and Phil Williams took their places. It was Lindalyn who had arranged for the Aldredge family to turn the House over to the Alliance Foundation

Serving as emcee, Lisa Loeb looked hardly old enough to drive a car, let alone have three kids and a singing career. With her folks, former Dallas County Medical Society Alliance and Foundation President Gail and Dr. Peter Loeb looking on, Lisa handled her duties perfectly, including the flutter of her skirt when the breezes picked up.

Elizabeth Gunby and Barenda Hino

With Summerlee Foundation CEO/Texas Historical Commission Vice Chair John Crain and Aldredge House Preservation Fund and Historical Records Chair Elizabeth Gunby keeping their remarks short about the history of the Alliance and its being recognized, the crowd moved down to the front of the lawn for Dallas Country Medical Society Alliance Foundation President Barenda Hino and Elizabeth to unveil the plaque. No sooner had they pulled back the draping than it became the centerpiece for everyone to have a selfie.

Lisa Loeb To Emcee Wednesday’s Texas State Historical Marker For Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s At Aldredge House

Some might think that Wednesday’s dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker for the 100th anniversary of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation at the 100-year-old Aldredge House will be skewed to the geriatric set. Rethink that! Sure, the House and Alliance are both celebrating a double centennial, but it’s not going to be a gloves-and-support-hose affair.

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation Historical Marker*

Lisa Loeb*

Of course, proof is required and here it is — singer/songwriter/TV personality Lisa Loeb. Despite this Hockaday grad’s being on tour, she’s returning to her Dallas to serve as emcee for the event.

So, what’s the connection between Grammy Award-winner Lisa and the double centennial celebration and dedication? Before she became nationally known for her talents, Lisa was and still is the daughter of Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Past President Gail Loeb and has a slew of family members in healthcare.

In addition to her emcee duties, there’s a report that she will do some singing and, at the end of the ceremony, lead a “children’s sing-along of songs from her children’s album.”

Translation: Kids are welcome to be part of the festivities that start at 5 p.m. at The Aldredge House. Perfect timing! Pick up the munchkins from school and drive on over to Swiss Avenue to be part of a Double Centennial Celebration with elected officials and the unveiling of the Texas Historical Marker. Don’t forget your cellphones… as if you would… for photos with Lisa and the Marker.

* Photos provided by the Dallas County Medical Alliance Society Foundation

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance And The Aldredge House To Hold Double Centennial Celebrations With Historic Marker And Luncheon

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

What were you doing 100 years ago? Probably the only one who could answer that is Margaret McDermott, who just celebrated her 105th birthday on February 18. It was when she was a five-year old living in Dallas that two totally different undertakings launched.

First, a stately mansion joined the other grand residences along Swiss Avenue. Taking two years to build by Dallasite Willie (Newberry) and her West Texas rancher husband William J. Lewis, the English Georgian/French Renaissance residence was designed by architects Hal Thomson and Marion Fooshee. Four years later the home was purchased by Rena (Munger) and her husband/banker George N. Aldredge, resulting in the residence being called “The Aldredge House.”

The Aldredge House*

Remember, at this time the population of Dallas was less than 158,000. The Park Cities was just a development in progress and considered by many to be a suburb of Dallas. The Highland Park Village wouldn’t open for 14 more years. Since there was no such thing as air conditioning, these showplaces that fronted Swiss had large windows that would allow the air to flow and fireplaces to warm the rooms with their tall ceilings. Word has it that Swiss Avenue was one of the first to be paved.

The Aldredge House*

Ironically, the same year that the Lewises moved into their home, the Woman’s Auxiliary to the Dallas County Medical Society was established. What most folks don’t know is that it “was the very first permanent woman’s county medical auxiliary in the nation, organized by a group of Dallas doctor’s wives. Mrs. John McReynolds was elected president and the group voted to support Red Cross work.”

Other auxiliaries sprung up throughout the country using the Dallas organization as the model. Over the years, the Dallas auxiliary grew both in membership and mission of supporting the Dallas County medical community. Eventually the name was changed to Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF).

Rena Munger Aldredge*

Lindalyn Adams (File photo)

It was in the early 1970s that Rena and the Foundation found each other. The 80ish widow of George Aldredge had decided to give her mansion to a nonprofit to “preserve her home and to maintain it as a welcoming part of the Dallas community.” It just so happened that DCMSAF President/historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was seeking a permanent home for the Auxiliary at the same time. The match was made!

The grand lady on Swiss entered a new phase of life. In addition to serving as home base for the Foundation, it was also the Kappa Alpha Theta show house and provided interior scenes for the TV show “Dallas,” as well as serving as a meeting place for the Auxiliary. In 1982, the House was recognized as a Record Texas Historic Landmark.

But over the years, the old gal needed updating and upkeep and that required funding. So after various efforts, the Auxiliary realized that they had a perfect opportunity to fund-raise coming up — the Double Centennial Celebrations of the Auxiliary and the House!

Such a momentous celebration deserved more than just one event to raise monies and awareness.

According to Foundation President Barenda Hino, “The DCMSA Foundation is seeking community support, so they can continue to preserve the rich heritage of this magnificent house.”

To kick the double centennial activities off, the official Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated at Aldredge House on Wednesday, April 5, with city, county and Medical Society leaders taking part.

The second event will be a luncheon taking place on Tuesday, May 16, at the Dallas County Club.

Barenda has arranged for Sharon and Mike McCullough to serve as co-chairs of the luncheon’s Advisory Host Committee “because of their belief in historic preservation, its importance in an ever-changing society and their great respect for the outstanding preservation of the Aldredge House by the Medical Alliance.”

Mike and Sharon McCullough (File photo)

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Lindalyn, who arranged for the Foundation’s acquisition of Aldredge House, and noted author/White House historian Dr. William Seale will be co-chairing the luncheon. Serving as honor co-chairs will be Ruth Altshuler and Margaret McDermott.

Tickets to the luncheon are available by calling 214.521.4108. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, you can still donate to The Aldredge House Preservation Fund.  

* Photo courtesy of Dallas County Medical Society Auxiliary Foundation

JUST IN: Multi-Talented Bernadette Peters Will Headline The Dallas Summer Musicals 2017 Gala In November

Bernadette Peters*

She’s the favorite of Stephen Sondheim, best buds with Mary Tyler Moore and has more curls than a bushel of rotini. She’s been in show biz since she was 3½ and got her Actors Equity Card at the ripe old age of 9. She’s appeared on TV, Broadway and the silver screen.  She’s written children’s books, dated Steve Martin and appeared in Playboy Magazine in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.

She is multi-talented Bernadette Peters and she will be headlining the Dallas Summer Musical fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall on Saturday, November 4.

Since “An Evening With Bernadette Peters” will benefit the Dallas Summer Musicals and its education and community outreach programs, it’s especially poignant to have TI executives Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld co-chairing the event.

Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld**

Each has childhood memories of attending the Dallas Summer Musicals and the long-lasting impressions they took away.

According to Paul, “Going to Dallas Summer Musicals at Fair Park with my grandmother was my first exposure to ‘real’ theatre on the big stage. Learning the stories and hearing the music instilled a love for the stage in me that endures to this day. I am thrilled at the opportunity to help another generation experience that same magic.”

As for Andy, he recalled, “My 16th birthday present was a trip from Tyler to see the DSM production of ‘Camelot.’ We (Paul and Andy) both fell in love with musical theater through DSM, and we’ve also seen how DSM has touched the lives of youth in our community through their outreach and education programs.”

While individual tickets are not available (drat!), sponsorships and underwriting opportunities can be discovered by calling the DSM Development office at 214.426.6333.

* Photo credit: Andrew Eccles 
** Photo provided by Dallas Summer Musicals

What Do A Buffalo And A Maverick Have In Common? Jubilee Park!

One wouldn’t necessarily think that a buffalo and a basketball player would have much in common. But on Thursday, September 15, these two got together at Jubilee Park and Community Center. The occasion was the reopening of Jubilee Park with new playground equipment, walking paths and the dedication of a new basketball court for kids and families from the surrounding area.

Ben Leal, George McCleskey, Jeff Rice, Floyd Jahner and Mavs Man*

Ben Leal, George McCleskey, Jeff Rice, Floyd Jahner and Mavs Man*

The court was the result of a partnership between PlainsCapital Bank and the Mavs Foundation. And while such heavy-hitting execs like PlainsCapital Bank Dallas Region Chair George McCleskey, Dallas Mavericks COO and Mavs Foundation Floyd Jahner and Jubilee Park Executive Director Ben Leal and Board Chair Jeff Rice were in shirt sleeves and sundresses, the scene stealers for the kids were PlainsCapital’s Mo the Buffalo and Mavs’ wing 22-year-old Justin Anderson.

Mo the Buffalo*

Mo the Buffalo*

While Mo leisurely just grazed on hay and was gazed upon, the Mavericks Dancers, Drumline and ManiAAcs and Mavs Man were in high gear. But towering above the rest, Justin recalled the crowd, “When it comes to outdoor court, I remember being young, and it’s almost like everything else that’s been going on that day, that week. It’s all erased, and you’re just out there and you’re just soaking up each moment. I’m so excited to be able to see the smiles on their faces once again and be able to shoot hoops with them, because I know how much as a child it meant to me of the older kids to let me shoot around and player with them.”

Justin Anderson demonstrating a free throw*

Justin Anderson demonstrating a free throw*

Following the speeches and dedication complete with plaque, Justin shot the inaugural free throws with the children from Jubilee Park followed by a mini-basketball clinic.

* Photo credit: Danny Bollinger

Resource Center Grand Opening Attracted VIPs and Hundreds To Dallas’ Newest LGBT Community Center

While others primped and prepped with stylists for a nighttime affair du jour, about 500 stalwarts gathered just west of Inwood Road on Cedar Springs around noon on Saturday, May 21. The draw was the official opening of the newly built, 20,000-square-foot Resource Center complete with the Turtle Creek Chorale, music, dancing and, of course, a ribbon cutting.

Turtle Creek Chorale

Turtle Creek Chorale

Resource Center

Resource Center

Thank heaven for I.M. Pei-trained architect James Langford’s design, as the V-shaped second floor overhang provided shade and comfort those waiting in line for tours of the new facility. The premature summer heat and humidity made the surroundings seem like Houston.

Pooch

Pooch

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Chad Collom, Steve Kemble and Don Gaiser

Chad Collom, Steve Kemble and Don Gaiser

While the adorable Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and pooches may have been the head turners, the real in-the-know types spotted Center CEO CeCe Cox, Veletta Lill, Ros Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson, Sarah Losinger, Clay Jenkins, David Brown, Laura Martin, Katherine Wynne, Steve Kemble, Chad Collom, Don Gaiser, Pam Gerber, Suzanne Slonim, Elba Garcia and Joe Pacetti.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson

Ros Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson

Laura Martin and Suzanne Slonim

Laura Martin and Suzanne Slonim

Sarah Losinger, Janier Bush, Veletta Lill and Katherine Wynne

Sarah Losinger, Janier Bush, Veletta Lill and Katherine Wynne

While many may dismiss HIV/AIDs as a painful memory of the past, the Resource Center is a place with its services, gathering places and opportunities for those affected by HIV/AIDs. With more than 60,000 people using the Center and its more than 1,200 volunteers and 50 paid staffers, Dallas’ Resource Center is “one of the largest centers of its kind in the United States.”

Canine Companions For Independence Baylor Scott And White Health Kinkeade Campus Dedication Was A Howling Success

After hit and miss weather of Thursday, November 5, the Canine Companion of Independence (CCI) dedication organizers were breathing a deep sigh of relief. Not only had the tornadic and hail storm hit other parts, the sun was shining, the temperatures were perfect and more than expected showed up to see the dedication of the national program’s first Texas facility.

It was also the first of its kind to partner up with a hospital and in this case it was Baylor Scott & White. Over the years the Irving CCI Baylor Scott And White Health Kinkeade Campus will not only be the graduate school for the canines, but it will also be the temporary home for the human recipients to train as they partner up with their BFFs.

Canine Companions For Independence classmates

Canine Companions For Independence classmates

The services dogs could have cared less about all the hoop-la. They were on duty, while the two-legged critters were amazed and gratified how nine mesquite-covered acres in Irving had been turned into a breathtaking center to yearly prepare 60 dogs to assist children and adults with disabilities.

Outdoor kennels

Outdoor kennels

Indoor kennels

Indoor kennels

On one side of the layout was the Diane and Hal Brierley Kennels with 24 spotless air-conditioned and heated indoor kennels, individual outdoor spaces and a center courtyard with shower facilities. Just a few feet away was the Jan Rees-Jones Canine Center with grooming spa, laundry, veterinary clinic and food-storage and -prep areas.

Food prep area

Food prep area

IMG_2933

Across the paths were cabins specially designed for humans to stay in preparing for the partnerships. Just outside the cabins are outdoor seating and a fire pit. In between the home for the humans and the hounds was the Team Lodge and Training Center.

The grounds included watering areas and loads of room for the pooches to run and just be dogs.

As philanthropists Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Margo Goodwin, Mark Grace, Lindalyn AdamsPamela Street, Kristi Hoyl, Todd Howard, CCI National Board Chair John Miller in from New York,  CCI National Board Trustee Bob Street in from Colorado and vets Steve Blackman with his CCI-trained Gotti and  Jason Morgan with his CCI-trained Rue toured the facilities, one person was heard to say, “Not only would my dog love to live here, I’d love to move in, too.”

 Jan Rees-Jones

Jan Rees-Jones

When the official dedication took place in the Training Center with Baylor Health System Foundation Robin Robinson, CCI CEO Paul Mundell, Baylor Irving President Cindy Schamp, Baylor Scott And White Board of Trustee Steve Boyd and CCI Irving Program Manager Sara Koch on stage, Federal Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had spearheaded the project, stole the show. It was nothing new. He usually is a true-blue scene stealer. Ed told how his beloved pooch Bo had been the typical dog until they decided to enroll in the Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy program.

Steve Boyd, Paul Mundell, Cindy Schamp, Ed Kinkeade and Robin Robinson

Steve Boyd, Paul Mundell, Cindy Schamp, Ed Kinkeade and Robin Robinson

It was through the program that Ed came to realize and appreciate the value of using dogs to help patients improve their lives. He mounted an effort to land the highly renowned Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) for North Texas. By landing such a facility, it meant that Texans in need of such companions would not have relocate to CCI facilities in other states that have resulted in 4,797 teams of humans and dogs since its founding in July 1975.

Started in California, the CCI program is a lengthy one, where puppies (Labrador retrievers, gold retrievers and crosses of the two breeds) live with “puppy raisers” for 14-16 months before undergoing a six- to nine-month training course with professional trainers at the center. They learn everything from basic obedience, working with wheelchairs to learning over 40 commands to help their human companions. They are especially trained to serve as service dogs, facility dogs, skilled companions and hearing dogs and are provided to those in need free of charge.

After three years of negotiating, the deal was cut and the facility was located in Ed’s hometown of Irving.

Jan Rees-Jones and Ed Kinkeade

Jan Rees-Jones and Ed Kinkeade

Ed recalled how in going through a training program in preparation for the AAT test, the trainer told Ed, “Bo is doing great.” On the other hand, the trainer suggested that Ed needed some work. He then said that despite his own many accomplishments both on and off the bench, he had a twinge of humility when a patient asked, “Are you the guy with Bo?”

At one point breaking from his affable charm, Ed teared up and recalled his late partner. It was apparent that Bo’s talents in inspiring others had included Ed, after whom the Texas campus was named.

Nobel Prize Winners And Area Leaders Praise Kern Wildenthal At Dedication Of Kern Wildenthal Biomedical Research Building

Despite a bit of rain, Friday, March 20, was a love fest of Nobel Prize winners, state leaders and philanthropists praising Kern Wildenthal. The draw was the dedication of the Kern Wildenthal Biomedical Research Building at UT Southwestern Medical Center. As the rain fell on the tent outside the 12-story, 331,400-square-foot structure, dignitaries, family and friends swelled to SRO.

Kern Wildenthal

Kern Wildenthal

The platitudes for the former UT Southwestern president were simply remarkable about the chap who had achieved greatness as a doctor at a youthful age and rose to leadership of UT Southwestern. During his 22 years he orchestrated a plan for the development of a campus with research and clinical facilities. It was a big picture about which others had been skeptical. Now, some of those naysayers were happily eating their words about the vision of the UT Southwestern graduate.

One of those research programs is the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern that is a “joint venture established by Children’s Medical Center Dallas and UT Southwestern” focusing on “areas of unmet needs of children and encompassing stem cell biology, cancer and metabolism.”

Daniel and Carol Podolsky and James Huffines

Daniel and Carol Podolsky and James Huffines

In the UT Southwestern history, there have only been three presidents — the late Dr. Charles Sprague, Kern and Dr. Daniel Podolsky. Time and time again speakers — Dr. Joseph Goldstein, Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Alfred Gilman, former Southwestern Medical Foundation President Bill Solomon, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and former University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman James Huffines — hinted that the southern campus should be named after Sprague and the northern after Kern.

Alfred Gilman

Alfred Gilman

Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein

It was during his tenure as president (1986-2008) that “the institution more than quintupled in size and emerged as one of the world’s leading medical institutions.” Plus UT Southwestern was recognized for its collection of Nobel Prize winners.

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

But as Kern pointed out after his wife Marnie received a bouquet of yellow roses and they received a mammoth key in a glass case, the past is grand for reflection, “but it is the future that must be the focus.” Tipping his hat to his successor, Kern said that Dan’s plans for the west campus only demonstrated that the future was in good hands.

Bob Miller

Bob Miller

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Peter O'Donnell

Peter O’Donnell

Ron Steinhart

Ron Steinhart

Following the dedication, the crowd gathered in the lobby of the newly dedicated building for a reception and to check out the Horchow Folk Art Collection. Among those in the crowd were Sara and David Martineau, Ron Steinhart, Lyda and Dan Novakov with Isabella Haggar, Shirley and Bob Miller, Keith Cerny, Don Winspear, Lynne and Roy Sheldon, Jane and Bud Smith, Mary McDermott, and Lyda Hill, who said that her foundation director Nicole Small was keeping Lyda on her toes.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Kern Wildenthal Biomedical Research Building Dedication

The dedication of the Kern Wildenthal Biomedical Research Building brought together Nobel Prize winners, community leaders and outstanding philanthropists on Friday, May 20.

Alfred Gilman

Alfred Gilman

Peter O'Donnell

Peter O’Donnell

Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein

As part of the northern campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center, the building is the final piece in the long range plan that Kern Wildenthal created decades ago when he was the second president of the center.

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Kay Bailey Hutchison

While the write up is being prepped, photos of some of the elite types can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Round Robin October 29: The Stroud House Unveiling And The Dallas Historical Society’s Awards of Excellence Patron Party

Unless one was a World Series groupie, there were scant excuses for not being out and about on Wednesday, October 29. Yes, Todd “Fun Guy” Fiscus was celebrating his 10th anniversary of mirth making at the Rachofsky House. Smarty pants Todd had refreshed the digs of the past weekend’s Two by Two domed tent for his 10th anniversary celebration. Oodles and oodles of the beautiful peeps were lifting flutes of the bubbly. Gina Ginsberg was in drop dead leggings with husband ScottMatthews Simon was being hugged like a teddy bear as he bid a temporary farewell to Dallas buds (he and his partner Keith Schumann, who was recovering a major heart attack have relocated to Atlanta); Neva Hall was looking spectacular, as were Brooke Hortenstine, Shelle and Michael Sills, Barbara Daseke and Todd’s partner Ceron (they’re doing the Dallas-Houston shuffle).

With lady violinists perched on platforms covered in two-story white, billowing skirts, a butterfly-like dancer arrived on a centerstage surrounded by a gauzy white curtain.

But the nonprofits hadn’t taken the night off. Heck, no. They were in high gear across Dallas.

The Stroud House

Louise Cowan

Louise Cowan

In Uptown, the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture had good reason to celebrate and that they did. In addition to having simply spectacular weather, they were officially showing off their newest acquisition — The Stroud House. Why even legendary Dr. Louise Cowan was on the scene with a vigilante staffer clearing the way for her arrival on the brick walk leading to the festivities in the back.

The Stroud House

The Stroud House

The Stroud House is part of the Institute’s campus expansion. Right next door to the Institute’s Prairie-style headquarters, the Stroud House exudes New Orleans elegance with its red brick walls, balconies and non-stop fountain out front.

It’s called The Stroud House because Dr. Joanne Stroud provided the lead gift for the purchase that sold for $2.5M. Others who helped make the acquisition come true included Betty Regard and Margaret McDermott.

Communities Foundation of Texas Brent Christopher couldn’t stay for the official dedication due to a dinner commitment with Educate Texas Executive Director John Fitzpatrick, who was up from Austin.

Kim Hiett Jordan and Anne Reeder

Kim Hiett Jordan and Anne Reeder

On the other hand, Nancy Cain Marcus, Veletta and John Lill, Kim Hiett Jordan and Anne Reeder, who great grandfather had lived in the Dallas Institute headquarters when Dallas was just a small town.

Lynne Sheldon recalled how The Stroud House had previously been a frame store before it had been purchased  by the Institute.

While other similar properties are being felled by wrecking balls, it’s truly amazing to see these stately homes restored and made vital once again.

Awards For Excellence In Community Service Patron Party

The Dallas Historical Society was buzzing with news over at the Hall of State. Here is a report from the field about the patron party and the honorees for the upcoming fundraising luncheon:

“The Dallas Historical Society hosted a patron party for 2014 Awards for Excellence in Community Service recipients, sponsors and distinguished guests. It was a true Texas affair as guests arrived at the Hall of State at Fair Park, one of the most beautiful art deco buildings in the state. Set for Thursday, November 20, at the Fairmont Hotel, the luncheon is the Dallas Historical Society’s largest and most important fundraising event to support its educational and preservation programs.

Lynn and Allan McBee, Dallas Historical Society’s co-chairmen of the board of trustees, welcomed guests in the G.B. Dealey Library West Texas room.

Margaret and Glenn Solomon*

Margaret and Glenn Solomon*

“Lynn remarked, ‘Welcome to the Dallas Historical Society’s patron party. We are in a historic room that has been redesigned as a research library to access the organization’s extensive collection. DHS processes more than 2,000 research requests per year. Speaking of collections, just last week, the granddaughter of Judge Lew Sterrett donated scrapbooks and personal papers of the judge to the collection.’ She described the room. ‘Notice the Tom Lea murals with its cowboy motifs, the Spanish architecture, Dorothy Austin’s sculpture and the magnificent tile depicting Texas life from a studio that still exists in San Antonio.’

“Allan McBee introduced Margaret and Glenn Solomon, co-chairs of the DHS Awards for Excellence in Community Service event. Glenn said, ‘The Awards for Excellence in Community Service are presented on behalf of the Dallas Historical Society to the designated recipients who are deserving of recognition for their generosity of spirit, civic leadership and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city. Thank you to the Honorary Chairs Lee Cullum and Laura Wilson.’

Patrick and Judy Kelly and Kevin Moriarty*

Patrick and Judy Kelly and Kevin Moriarty*

“The distinguished recipients were announced by Margaret Solomon and other DHS Trustees and came to the front to be recognized:

  • Arts Leadership – Kevin Moriarty (Award sponsored by Diane and Hal Brierley)
  • Business – Robert A. Estrada (Award sponsored by Al Hill Jr. family)
  • Creative Arts – Judy and Patrick Kelly (Award sponsored by Bobby B. Lyle, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gillikin, RWR Investments)
  • Education – Mary and Mike Terry (Award sponsored by David Miller Family Foundation and Friends of Mary and Mike Terry)
  • Stuart Bumpas*

    Stuart Bumpas*

    Health/Science Medicine – Claude B. Prestidge, M.D. (Award sponsored by BaylorScott&White and the Friends of Claude B. Prestidge, M.D.)

  • Humanities – S.M. Wright Foundation (Award sponsored by Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation and Allie Beth and Pierce Allman)
  • Philanthropy – Stuart Bumpas (Award sponsored by Ruth C. and Charles S. Sharp Foundation, Inc. and Linda and Bill Custard)
  • Volunteer Community Leadership – Judy Rorrie (Award sponsored by Stephanie and Hunter Hunt)
  • Schatzie Lee and Caro Stalcup*

    Schatzie Lee and Caro Stalcup*

    Jubilee History Makers – Natalie ‘Schatzie’ Lee (Award sponsored by Friends of Natalie ‘Schatzie’ Lee)

“In addition to the prestigious honorees, the McBees and the Solomons, others in attendance included Ruth Altshuler, Bill Graue, Steve Coke, Shannon Callewart and her daughter Lucy Callewart, Patricia Meadows, Deborah Ryan, William Ryan, Laura Estrada and Paul Hermann.

“The McBees thanked everyone for coming and encouraged those to let others know about the November 20th event. Those interested in purchasing tables or tickets can go online.”

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee

Both Mayor Mike Rawlings And Vogel Alcove Are Going To Celebrate “Refurbishings” On August 21

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

UPDATE: Just heard from Mayor Mike’s Manager of Public Affairs and Communications Sam Merten that, “Mayor Rawlings will not be attending the Vogel Alcove event because he will be recovering from surgery.” Somebody better tell the Vogel Alcove folks to edit their program.

Mayor Mike Rawlings is slated to have his hip replaced on Thursday, August 14. Get healed cards can be sent to his office. He’d better mend quickly because his schedule is still rocking and rolling.

For instance on Thursday, August 21, he’s scheduled to join City Councilman Adam Medrano to dedicate Vogel Alcove’s recently renovated childcare center at the 95-year-old City Park Elementary. Closed in 2012 by the DISD, the school was leased by Vogel Alcove. According to a Dallas Morning News story, “’They actually approached us initially wanting to buy the facility,’ said Orlando Alameda, director of Real Property Management for Dallas ISD.

Future home of Vogel Alcove

Future home of Vogel Alcove

“The district, Alameda said, wasn’t in a position to want to sell the school, which is near Dallas Heritage Village. But they did agree to a five-year lease, with additional five-year extensions, he said.”

By renovating the former elementary school into the new facility, Vogel Alcove saved more than $12M. The new digs will allow Vogel Alcove to “increase enrollment to 200 children and add after-school and school-age programming starting this fall.

The following Sunday Monday (August 2425), Big Mike will celebrate birthday #5960.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s Charles A. Sammons Tower Opens To Provide State-Of-The-Art Trauma And Critical Care

It’s been a long time coming, but the Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower officially opened Thursday, July 24, with balloons, boldfacers and the best emergency facility south of the Trinity.

With a ladder extended from a Dallas fire truck out front, guests were greeted at the East Colorado entrance with a jazz band and escorted to elevators to the sixth floor. While the top floor is still in raw condition, it was totally decked out for the dedication with banner, food, and ceiling netted with blue-and-white balloons. And the views were nothing to scoff at. Time and again, guests commented how the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was the perfect backdrop for the new facility that has been recognized as one of three adult Level Two trauma center status. With the opening of the tower, Level One status is just around the corner.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center President Laura Irvine told the SRO crowd, “For the first time, I can mention that the American College of Surgeons will be recommending approval of our designation as a Level 1 trauma center.”

The event commenced taking on more of a pep rally with smiles and applause non-stop.

Methodist Healthy System Board Chair Levi H. Davis summed it up, saying, “This is an awesome day!” He also reminded the business leaders in the audience that Methodist is the largest employer in Oak Cliff, with 3,900+ “lifesavers” on staff.

Adding to that hoorah was City Councilman Scott Griggs, who evidently doesn’t believe in understatement. He announced, “This is the best [healthcare] facility not only in Dallas and Texas but in the whole world. You are definitely world class!”

George Schrader

George Schrader

Following a video, Chris Kleinert, who chaired the BrightER Capital Campaign, told the crowd, which included Methodist Health System President Steve Mansfield, SMU President Gerald Turner, former Dallas City Manager George Schrader, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Louise Bright III, Carol Seay, Nancy Bierman and Chris’ adoring wife, Ashlee Kleinert, that he was a bit nervous about the day. When Methodist Health System Foundation President/CEO April Box Chamberlain first invited him to tour Methodist, he had never been there before. It became apparent that the hospital was outdated, outmoded and overcrowded. Seeing the immediate need and the future of the area, he signed on to raise more than $20M. That was 29 months ago. One of the first things Chris did, besides telling Ashlee of the ginormous undertaking, was to draft his in-laws, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, as honorary co-chairs. Then he and the Methodist team went about raising the money. Instead of pounding his chest over this amazing accomplishment, Chris turned the tables and attributed the success story to the donors, staff and city officials.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

Chris then introduced Nancy Ann and Ray. According to Nancy Ann, the couple who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year, didn’t know they were to speak.

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray praised the people on the capital-campaign committee and said they were Dallas’ future leaders. “They took time to volunteer for something that is really, really important. . . . That’s what has made Dallas great [over the years]. It makes you feel very optimistic about the future of Dallas.”

He scoffed at the idea that Nancy Ann and he had done more than serve as “cheerleaders” for the project. Then Ray reminded the assembled group that “Dallas has no reason to exist.” And except for leaders like these — Mayors Bob Folsom and Erik Jonsson and former City Manager George Schrader — “the city wouldn’t exist as it is today.”

Nancy Ann Hunt and Joy Duncan

Nancy Ann Hunt and Joy Duncan

Then the event’s closer was Nancy Ann. The shy little blonde rose to the occasion by saying without hesitation, “This is a game-changer for Dallas.” She said Methodist has always been a light shining bright, but no one recognized it. Then she added: “As Chris said, today it is a neon light!”

As the Hunts stepped down from the stage to take their seats, all in the room rose to give them a standing O.

Immediately, the staff, committee and key leaders rolled out a “never-ending blue ribbon” with Methodist printed in white. As they held the ribbon around the perimeter of the room, a “virtual ribbon cutting” commenced followed by a drop of hundreds of blue and white balloons.

Virtual ribbon cutting

Virtual ribbon cutting

For Methodist Health System PR pro Kathleen Beathard, it was a poignant occasion. Come August, she’ll be heading to a job in North Dallas. But before leaving, she’s tackling one last challenge. It seems that when you type in the Dallas’s campus address —1441 North Beckley — on the Apple map locator, the iPhone geniuses send you up to North Dallas. Don’t make that mistake. Just look across the Trinity for the tallest building atop a hill and head for it. That’s Methodist, the tallest and newest addition to North Texas’ stellar collection of trauma centers.

Behind-The-Scenes Love Story At The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Ribbon Cutting And Dedication

Despite the damp night before that forced a back-up plan to kick into place for the Dallas Arboretum‘s Rory Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden gala, the sun came out for the official dedication Saturday, September 21.

Townview High School band

Townview High School band

As dignitaries, bands and a multitude of guests gathered in the garden’s Pavilion, an interesting little incident took place that won’t make headlines.

Overview of Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

Overview of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

In the Dallas Arboretum’s Camp parking lot, a vintage couple got out of their sedan and walked toward the Camp House. He was in the Dallas fall uniform of blue blazer, blue shirt, red tie and tan slacks. He gently escorted her like a charmed date with the homecoming queen. In white sweater and black skirt with her head full of white hair pulled back in a ponytail, she seemed a bit concerned about what the POA was, but she knew her champion would make the right decisions.

A young Arboretum staffer told the couple they were to take the shuttle to the Pavilion for check in. The gentleman questioned ever so gently that suggestion. “We were told to go to the Camp House.”

The young man admitted that the ribbon-cutting for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden had created confusion, but they were to go to the Pavilion.

A senior female Arboretum staffer arrived and agreed the elder couple should take the shuttle to the Pavilion. The couple smiled, realizing they were to comply with the two staffers. Luckily, the shuttle driver, sensing that a bit of hesitation wouldn’t damage the situation, drove the couple around the circular driveway to the front door of the Camp House. She said it wouldn’t hurt just to check. As the shuttle arrived at the Camp House, a woman came out and immediately welcomed the two, hugging the small, white-haired woman.

The gentleman said that he thought they were supposed to at the Camp House but were advised otherwise. The greeter said that much had been happening and that she would check. The white-haired passenger seemed relieved. Her champion was getting to the bottom of things in a gentlemanly fashion. After a few minutes the greeter emerged from the Camp House and said it had been a case of miscommunication. Of course, they’re “to be in here.”

The couple was Rory and Howard Meyers.

Rory and Howard Meyers, Brian Shivers and Mike Rawlings

Rory and Howard Meyers, Brian Shivers and Mike Rawlings

Mary Brinegar, Brian Shivers, Mike Rawlings, Rory and Howard Meyers and Sheffie Kadane

Mary Brinegar, Brian Shivers, Mike Rawlings, Rory and Howard Meyers and Sheffie Kadane

A half hour later, the Meyers would join Mayor Mike Rawlings, Arboretum Chair of the Board Brian Shivers, Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar and a host of officials at the ribbon-cutting and on stage with the St. Mark’s School choir performing. As the speeches continued and City Councilman Sheffie Kadane acknowledged a countless number of associates, the proclamation was presented and the sun warmed the area. The highpoints of the event were Howard’s thanking all with Rory by his side, and then the surprise revelation that, unbeknownst to the Meyers, their friends had created a fund that would underwrite a program allowing the underprivileged to visit the garden.

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

The garden with its multitude of highlights may have been a 17-year project in the making, but in those scant 20 minutes, the Meyers’ love, graciousness and dedication to each other seemed to reflect the same care, consideration and compassion that resulted in the amazing wonderland for children of all ages.

Equest’s Dedication Of Texas Horse Park Resulted In Boots, Wheels, Hooves And Dreams Coming True

A little bit of mud didn’t deter the Equest crowd as rain clouds hovered overhead. Nor did the threatening weather dampen Susan Schwartz’s dream of having the equine therapy program at soon-to-be-developed Texas Horse Park on Pemberton Hill Road in Oak Cliff. So early on the morning of July 17, the official dedication took place.

Tex

Tex

As a bagpiper played, the folding chairs stood their places in the damp ground under the tent. There was a cool breeze that passed by. The Equest mini-pony ambassadors Sugar and Tex were joined by tall-standing, 20-year-old Crunchie in charming the guests. As for the attire, Equest folks know how to handle a little mud. In fact it gives them the opportunity to pull out their fav boots. In this case they ranged from pink galoshes and dependable ropers to rarefied peacock designed leather boots.

Pink galoshes

Pink galoshes

Ropers

Ropers

Peacock-design boots

Peacock-design boots

By 8:30 the itty bitty parking area near the tent was already full and the luxury vehicles lined the narrow drive leading from the road. It was snug but all seemed to fit.

Driveway leading to dedication

Driveway leading to dedication

Looking around the undeveloped acreage of trees and brush, Equest Gala Chair Jocelyn White commented, “A year from now it’s all going to be so different.”

A little after 9 the guests filled the chairs for the formal dedication. As the color guard presented the Texas and U.S. flags, all stood. It was silent except for the distant chirping of birds. Then Equest CEO Patrick Bricker led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. He welcomed all to “the Texas Horse Park.” Cheers broke out.

Crunchie and Amy Causey

Crunchie and Amy Causey

As Patrick thanked all involved in making the dream come true, Crunchie cleared his throat and a wave of chuckles was heard. That Crunchie is such a scene stealer.

Patrick then talked about two of the Equest programs that would be held at the future park.

Hooves for Heroes will be transferred from Equest’s home base in Wylie to the park.

Children will be able to get an earlier start in equine therapy with a plan to include more mini-horses. It seems that some children are intimidated by the big horses like Crunchie and appreciate being able to get an eye-to-eye relationship with smaller versions like Sugar and Tex.    

Patrick called for Equest Founder Susan Schwartz to come up from her seventh row seat to talk to the group. Her message was, “How a dream can create unlimited possibilities.” She told how her dream was that everybody who needed a horse would have one available. It started with two blind riders and it was originally called “Freedom Riders.” At Equest, children who don’t have the freedom to move due to their bodies have four strong legs thanks to the horses and the volunteers. Due to the demand, “a great waiting list” resulted and now “Horse Park is answering” the need.

Susan Schwartz telling of her dream

Susan Schwartz telling of her dream

When the city originally discussed Equest’s involvement with Horse Park, they asked how many people would participate. Susan said that they could tell the city official that weekly 400 volunteers took part in helping 125 riders per session. What they couldn’t tell was “how many people would be impacted by Equest at Texas Horse Park.” There were relatives, friends and so many others who would be touched by the results of children and veterans who benefited from the program.

Susan then read a letter from the wife of a vet, who told how their marriage had been threatened with her husband’s “anger issues.” She told him that unless he dealt with it, the 10-year marriage was doomed. To work through his issues, he joined the Equest program and the wife said that there has been a definite change for the better.

Dallas City Councilman Tennell Atkins

Dallas City Councilman Tennell Atkins

Dallas City Councilman Tennell Atkins was next up to speak. Despite the heat and humidity, the councilman looked as cool as an icy lemonade in his suit and tie. He told how he had fought for Texas Horse Park. As the sun peeked out from the clouds, Tennell said, “There are people who have never seen this part of Dallas. You’ve got to tell people about this part of town.

He then related a conversation that he had in Johannesburg. When someone asked him if Dallas had horses, he had to admit that Cowtown beat Big D on that one.

In conclusion, he officially dedicated the park and read it from his notes to make sure he got it right.

At 9:28 the event was supposedly over, but it wasn’t. “Bobby,” one of the honor guard, asked to speak. He told of his working with lots of Afghanistan and Iraqi vets, saying “PTS is not a good thing. . .  The suicide rate is 35% higher for vets. . .  Your program is saving lives. Not only children but lives.”

Susan Schwartz and Bobby

Susan Schwartz and Bobby

As he headed back to the honor guard members, Susan stood up and hugged him.

Like Susan said, “A dream can create unlimited possibilities.”

Dedication of Texas Horse Park

Dedication of Texas Horse Park

Moore Park Gateway Dedicated With Dignitaries, Benefactors, Ribbon Cutting And “Fever”

Between the heat and the humidity, it’s a race nowadays to see which can make you more miserable in the late afternoon. Gee, one would think it was Houston around here. But such conditions didn’t hold back well-wishers, supporters, neighbors, city leaders and Trinity troopers from attending the Moore Park Gateway dedication on Thursday, June 13.

To counter the conditions, three things were responsible:

  • The dedication itself.
  • The shade provided by the Gateway’s Pavilion.
  • Specially made for the occasion hand fans.
Moore Park Gateway fans with fans

Moore Park Gateway fans with fans

The crowd was so large that not all fit within the open pavilion. Wise was the gent who brought along his own umbrella.

Umbrella cover

Umbrella cover

And what about the fear of West Nile-bearing mosquitoes? As one guest said as they put their fan into turbo driver, “It’s too hot for those little critters to be out.”

Delia Jasso and Mike Rawlings

Delia Jasso and Mike Rawlings

But it wasn’t too hot for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was a true minority in suit and tie. Despite not putting one of the fans into use, Big Mike never showed one drop of “sweat.” Talk about Mr. Cool.

Another cool group were those in the environmentally green polo shirts including Trinity Trust Board Chair Mary McDermott Cook, board member Lynn McBee, President/Executive Director Dr. Gail Thomas and Hoblitzelle Foundation President Paul Harris.

As soon as the mayor arrived, the program was underway with fans silently pumping away like Spindletop in 1901. A trio from the Townview Magnet Center sang the national anthem a cappella beautifully.

Townview Magnet School trio

Townview Magnet School trio

Mary welcomed all and immediately went off script, “We either do things that are really hot, or really cold,” recalling the Trinity Trust’s dedication of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in March 2012 when guests faced chilly winds to party.

Mary McDermott Cook and Paul Harris

Mary McDermott Cook and Paul Harris

Acknowledging both old council members and new ones in the audience, she said, “Thank you all for being here, in case one of us passes out.”

Then she directed the attention of all to Paul, telling the history behind the Gateway project. Seems it was eight years ago that Gail asked the Hoblitzelle Foundation for money to provide the pavilion and amphitheater as a link to the Trinity River.

Paul thanked the mayor and the rest for their support and then added that this grant was “one of the two biggest grants” the Foundation has made.

Just back from South America, Mayor Mike also handed out thanks to the various team members and city council members but admitted that it wouldn’t have happened without the Hoblitzelle Foundation.

(Editor’s note: If the Hoblitzelle Foundation is new to you, then you might want to read about the late Karl Hoblitzelle, who was one of 13 children, never attended college, came to Dallas in 1903 and built an amazing empire over the next 64 years. His wife Esther, who died in 1943, was a popular music comedy star in the 1920’s, who was known for such songs as “Sahara, We’ll Soon Be Dry Like You,” “I Ain’t That Kind Of A Baby” and “As Long As I Have You And You Have Me”. Despite their deaths decades ago, the Hoblitzelles’ legacy has continued to be the source for countless accomplishments in Dallas.)

Vonciel Jones Hill

Vonciel Jones Hill

Following the mayor was City Councilperson Vonciel Jones Hill, who provided a real stem-winder of a talk saying that more needs “to be done, but we need to celebrate the ‘first doors’ when we get one, and this is a major door!”

Like the mayor, she hit upon the theme that the river which “has divided us will unite us! You were meant to be here. Enjoy your time!”

Dallas Park Board President Max Wells admitted that Vonciel was indeed a hard act to follow, but continued the handing out of thanks to the persons responsible. He turned the mic over to City Councilperson Delia Jasso, who said, “I’ve ventured over here many times.”

Preparing to cut the ribbon

Preparing to cut the ribbon

They looked around for City Councilperson Dwaine Caraway, but he was nowhere to be seen. However, City Councilperson Linda Koop pitched in for some final words before the dignitaries took the crosswalk to the grove for the ribbon-cutting. Despite the heat and the sun in the eyes, the photos went off on cue. Then someone noticed that Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm was MIA from the lineup, so photos were retaken and the ribbon cut with the mayor leading the countdown. He’s good at that and should be. He’s done enough of them and knows that every ribbon-cutting is another success story for the city.

Post ribbon cutting

Post ribbon-cutting

As he headed to another appointment, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s children’s troupe performed to “Fever.” Unlike the song title and the afternoon temperature, the young dancers were very cool.

Black Dance Theatre's children's troupe

Black Dance Theatre’s children’s troupe

Moore Park Gateway Pavilion And Amphitheater Will Be Dedicated Thursday Thanks To Vision, Hardwork And Philanthropy

Summer has definitely moved into the neighborhood, with temperatures flirting with the three-digit range.  The good news is that tornadoes don’t usually hang out in steamy hot weather. The bad news is, neither do a lot of locals.

However, thanks to the non-stop work of the City of Dallas, The Trinity Trust Foundation and the Hoblitzelle Foundation, being outdoors in the summer has the promise of being much more attractive.

This Thursday the team will officially open the Pavilion and Amphitheater at Moore Park Gateway, 1837 E. 8th Street. If Moore Park is new to you, it’s been a setting for baseball games, picnics and views of Cedar Creek for the past 72 years.

Just eight years ago when Tom Leppert was mayor, ground was broken for the expansion of Moore Park to be “the first major connection into the Trinity River Corridor from the Southern Sector.”

There were promises of a shaded pavilion and scenic overlook, a new grove of trees and amphitheater and connections to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail plus a whole lot more.

Moore Park Pavilion & Amphitheater grand opening invitation

Moore Park Pavilion & Amphitheater grand opening invitation

Well, this Thursday, the promises will be kept as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and a bunch of politicos and good-hearted citizens will officially dedicate the Pavilion and Amphitheater at Moore Park Gateway.

In addition to the 5:30 p.m. dedication, the opening activities from 5 to 7 p.m. will include the Dallas Black Dance Theatre Children’s Troupe, Ernesto’s Mariachi Band and the Townview Jazz Band.

Word has it that food trucks will be available, if you’re interested in buying dinner for you and your posse.

According to early reports, Moore is pretty darn impressive with “a shade pavilion with picnic tables, performance amphitheater with sloped lawn for seating and icon tower; a gravity defying cantilevered overlook; a bridge across Cedar Creek connecting to the existing Moore Park; a terraced tree grove; and memory wall. The Hoblitzelle Pavilion and Amphitheater also provides parking and a trail link to the Santa Fe Trestle Trail.”

The dedication and opening activities are open to the public and free, so why not check it out.

Dedicated To Dedicating The George W. Bush Presidential Center, Or How Dallas Made History With A Collection Of U.S. Presidents

Back in November 2010, ground was broken for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Then there was the topping off ceremony in October 2011. A week ago, the Center’s dedication made history with four past presidents and President Barack Obama all in attendance. We thought you would like a behind-the-scenes peek at what led up to the big moment. This is a lengthy post, so you might want to either settle back in a very comfy chair, or take it a little bit at a time.

5:30 a.m. — Driving south on Central Expressway frontage road. Just past Lovers Lane, flashing lights are spotted at SMU Boulevard. It used to be called Yale Boulevard, but they changed it to SMU (Ironically, former President George W. Bush graduated from Yale.) Young clean-cut guy wearing a jacket emblazoned with “Secret Service” is at the intersection and is asked where the media check-in is. He is the type that if you had asked where Jimmy Hoffa was buried, he’d probably know. “Go to Mockingbird and turn right.”

Follow his directions and eventually the SMU safety staff says this is as far as the vehicle can go. Am advised to ask the fellow in the Meadows Parking Garage on the next segment of the journey. He says go up a block, turn left and continue ‘til Binkley and turn right. . . “and your media people will be there.”

The walk is eerie . . . really eerie. The streets are so empty. It’s like a vacuum. You almost want to stop and take in the silence, the cleanliness, the solitude, the peace. But there is a schedule to keep and security check-in to survive. The only vehicle is an SMU van parked on the left side of the road. Decide to walk on the right sight of the road.

Ah, there is a person up ahead. The blue jacket is familiar. A little closer and there is a smile and a mustache that is better known than “Howdy” from the late Big Tex. It’s Jack Boles’ “Gary Ferraro.” He laughs at the fact that we’re up at 5:45. Then he points north and says to turn right at the next block . . . “and your media people will be there.”

After a block and a right turn, there is a check-in set up. It’s like an airport security check, only you don’t have to take off your shoes. There are four lanes but only three are operational right now. Upon approach, a couple of hunky Secret Services guys who are stationed behind barricades on the right advise, “Media takes the right lane, but if you have any electronics, leave them here and go through the mags.”

Hello? Mags? They’re glorified magnetic detectors. The good news is the other lanes are already backed up a bit, but the media line only has one person in it.

As we head to the mags, we see the Secret Service starting to examine the bag. Am worried. Did I leave something embarrassing in the bag? Don’t think so. Don’t have time to think about it, as my feet continue to walk to the mags. The TV reporter ahead of me empties his pockets of change and keys. Oh, dear. This could be tense. With most of my “stuff” in my camera vest, I strip it off and brace for a rigorous examine. Should I take off my wristwatch? No. My shoes? No. I start to worry about the underwire in my bra, but am too embarrassed to ask. I walk through the mag and stop smiling that nothing happened. Then the buzzer goes off. The security chap says to try again: “Walk straight through and don’t stop.” He reminds me of a gym teacher who had a devil of a time getting me to do a headstand. I hadn’t failed. I just hadn’t passed with flying colors. I try again. He’s right.

In the meantime the vest is being thoroughly examined by a uniformed man with gloves. “You look like you’ve done this before.” He responds, “I’m from the White House.” Oh.

My vest also passes its examine, so I put it back on and make a U-turn to pick up my bag of electronics. The chill of the cold front is starting make things nippy. The Secret Service guys who have given my bag a passing grade are in short sleeves. One of them has a gallery of tattoos on his arm. I laugh and ask if they’re cold. One of them says he is. The other one says he shouldn’t be since he’s from New Jersey.

Media mobile center

Media mobile center

Grabbing the gear, I follow the TV crew that had been ahead of me in the check-in. They head to the parking lot that is jammed with trucks and RV’s. It reminds me of a media version of a Jimmy Buffet tailgater, only there’s no music or smoke. As antennae tower over the rows of vehicles, people are seen inside drinking coffee and preparing for the day ahead. Across SMU Boulevard is a huge multi-tiered structure that has been erected to hold the photographers and videographers. To its side is a small penned-off area with a few rows of chairs. This is what the print media is to call home.

Print media pen

Print media pen

In front of the photo platform is a waist-high brick wall that separates the VIP guests from the rest of the world. But even in this VIP community, there is a definite caste system in place. In addition to the White, Silver and Gold sections, there are barricades separating them from the upfront and extremely special VIPs.

Section signage

Section signage

Preparations are in their final stages to herd the guests into the sections. There is no doubt that every seat will be filled. It’s all so organized. Staff and volunteers are easy to spot by various means — lanyards, red T-shirts saying “Dedication Event Staff” and, of course, the ones with the curled cords leading from their ear to a place underneath their jackets. Within this temporary universe, the cords indicate high mojo.

6:30 a.m. — It’s cold. The occasional wind and the fact that most of the media haven’t lugged along snow parkas doesn’t help. One gal in the print pen is wrapped up in a pink quilted throw. Even wrapped up in her blanket, she still looks cold. People huddle making small talk to bond and share body heat.

New York Times Managing Director Robert Janss arrives with Starbucks coffee. Photographer Jerry McClure asks if he brought it from the outside world. Roberts says there is coffee, bagels and fruit at the Crum Basketball Center that has been transformed into the media center. But it’s blocks away and even the journalists’ lifeblood (aka java) isn’t enough to have the media hike over. Guess no one had thought of having a table of coffee at the pen. It’s soon observed that people with cameras and tripods are the only ones allowed up the stairs of the structure. But there’s a catch. If you don’t have a blue badge, volunteer Dawn Spalding gently sends you back down the narrow stairs.

The wind is now picking up. One person says in a positive way, “When the sun comes up, it’ll warm up.” Others are trying to feel their fingers. The volunteers don’t appear to be cold. They’re moving too fast arranging programs and checking out the seating arrangements.

7:00 a.m. — We only have three more hours to wait before the dedication starts. When the media is put together in a situation like this, they check their cellphones, compare notes on “I remember when. . . “and swap tales. One story making the rounds is about an SMU photographer with credentials to go anywhere (that is considered the platinum card of the event), who had $50,000 worth of equipment stolen from his car the night before along with his coveted badge. Eyes widen, mouths form perfect “O”s and “Wow!”s are exhaled. Today’s urban legend has just been born. Everything has been going too smoothly. The media needed some rumor to warm them up.

One or two media types wander over to the wall to see how the other half will live. There are tables covered with bottles of water. Most of the press just stay put. It’s too darn cold to move around.

Photographers' platform at 7:30 a.m.

Photographers’ platform at 7:30 a.m.

The sun is up, but the wind chill is still the dominating factor. One person goes in front of the structure to take a picture of the rows of photographers. An efficient, stocky man with gray curly hair and a cord in his ear comes up, “Miss, you’re not to be here.” But I’m just taking a photo of the media. “If you don’t have a blue badge, you can’t be here.” Without the blue badge, the media is the lowest group on the property. A race to see how far we can push our “Media” badge privileges is underway. It will eventually shrink to the pen. Even the maintenance crew that is trying to sweep up a pool of water in the gutter ranks higher on this day.

Ah, but the media is a resourceful group of mice. They haven’t gotten the reputation for being pains for nothing. As they spy early arriving guests, they jump into action. The sidewalk leading up to the wall is not badge limited . . . yet, so the arriving guests are our prey.

8:00 a.m. —  Like the media a few hours before, the guests begin arriving on site, a little confused, a little worn from walking blocks and a little chilly. But also like the media they are squeaky clean from going through security, like having a successful colonoscopy. Nobody’s packing firearms that shouldn’t be. This may be the safest place on earth, one person is heard to say. Still, there is anxiety in the air. Oldtimers are especially apprehensive. It’s taken then nearly 50 years to recover from that day in November and now the city is facing four former and one sitting president. It’s a topic not discussed, but it is in the air.

Tim Rogers, Kim Elenez, Christine Perez and Peggy Levinson

Tim Rogers, Kim Elenez, Christine Perez and Peggy Levinson

As the crowds grow walking up the sidewalk, the print media like D Magazine’s Tim Rogers, D CEO’s  Christine Perez, D Home’s Peggy Levinson and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy take their positions along the side in tall grass. Someone says it’s a form of Buffalo Grass requiring little maintenance and very hardy for Texas weather conditions. That may be true, but it is really being put to the test by the back and forth of the media as they play “I Spy” with local VIPs and visiting dignitaries.

“That man looks familiar. He’s on FOX a lot,” someone says. Media types look surprised at the admission that a member of the press corps admits to watching the conservative network. “Well, my husband watches it. I watch CNN,” the woman says, fearing to lose her standing among the group.

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge

It’s later learned that the man in question is Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and U.S. Homeland Security Advisor.

Elaine Chao and Dr. James Chao

Elaine Chao and Dr. James Chao

A small woman with a big smile and a gentle approach asks a photographer to take a picture of her father. Why not? In fact, let’s do a father-daughter picture. Wonderful. The photo is taken and will be sent but where? Daughter, father and photographer don’t have business cards on them. No problem. The woman gently asks her assistant, “Anna,” to provide info. Things are getting interesting. Not everyone has an assistant and father in tow. Shoot! They were lucky enough to get their spouses in. Anna is good. She not only has a card, she immediately emails her address to the photog. Then introductions are exchanged. The father is Dr. James Chao. His daughter is Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor in W’s administration and wife of Mitch McConnell. They depart for their seats.

Capa Mooty and Troy Aikman

Capa Mooty and Troy Aikman

Now, the paparazzi program is doing a brisk business. Bud Kennedy has his iPad and is chatting with folks. On the other side of the sidewalk, Tim Rogers is tweeting like a mockingbird in between chats with Rachael Dedman and Lisa and Kenny Troutt. Troy Aikman walks by. Somebody asks if the wisp of a girl with him is his girlfriend or his daughter? Oh, really!  Another jock type is over on the sidewalk talking with friends. It’s Nolan Ryan. A tall fellow is spotted approaching. Most of the women don’t know who he is. The men nearly drop their cell phones to photograph him. It’s Dikembe Mutombo.

It’s getting dizzy just trying to keep up with all the names and faces. Bo Pilgrim, Ted Cruz, Perots, Hunts, Hoglunds, Hegis, Dedmans, Prothro, Novakovs, Andrews, Brierleys. . . boldfaces are too numerous to count.

Heather and Ray Washburne wearing their W's

Heather and Ray Washburne wearing their W’s

A new symbol of status is starting to pop up. It’s a “W” lapel pin. It’s not a weasely, weak W, nor a scripted, fru-fru one. It’s a bold one that stands out. People wear it with pride. Tim asks what the letter stands for. The answer is “lunch.” Seems that those wearing the “W” will attend an ultra-private lunch hosted by Annette Simmons. One guest tells a buddy to meet him at Bubba’s afterwards. Neither is wearing a “W.”

Clarice Tinsley

Clarice Tinsley

Speaking of food, WFAA’s Ron Corning and Gloria Campos, who have been anchoring all morning, stroll up the street with coffee and bagels, taking in the sights. They look like they’re walking along the State Fair midway. KDFW’s Clarice Tinsley is picking up information for her coverage.  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is joined by others in the NBC treehouse of a studio that’s located back in the parking lot with the mobile homes.

NBC News platform

NBC News platform

Different singing groups (Southern Gentlemen, Inspiration Gospel Choir, The Belle Tones and Meadows Chorale) perform on the two mega screens. The reviews are lukewarm with, “They’re off key.” Wearing what appears to be a 5 o’clock shadow, Georgetown University’s Jim Parenti interviews various top dogs (Exhibit Designer Dan Murphy, Library Director Alan Lowe, SMU President Gerald Turner, Bush Center Board Member Jeanne Phillips, Foundation Chair Don Evans, Bush “staffer” Tony Fratto) responsible for the creation and maintenance of the center. It’s a bit like a local version of C-SPAN.

But just as the print media is really starting to warm up and get into the groove of stop-and-chat with guests, Bud is told to head back toward the pen. Uh, oh! A young man in a plaid suit with cord is herding the press flock to the other side of the walk and into their area.

Photographers platform

Photographers platform

Up in the photo platform, it is a squeeze play. The blending of still and video photographers is an interesting one. Depending on the personalities it can either be a World Wrestling Match or a civilized, “You’ve got your space, I’ve got mine” situation. Maybe it’s due to the hours of waiting in the cold, but this situation here is the latter.

9:45 a.m. — Whatever is to happen will be history and, high atop the photographers’ platform, there is no need to elbow each other. Because the platform is so far away from the stage, a forest of tripod holds the cameras steady. Among the still photographers, there is a definite lens envy going on. One of the lenses is so large, it requires two hands to hold it up. According to one person, Ramsey and Eugene at Competitive Camera had reported having a very good week renting out equipment.

Lenses

Lenses

A voice is heard over the PA asking guests to take their seats. Within the sections, there is a way of life being established. The ones on the east and in the center are chatting it up. They recognize each other and are in a celebratory mood, sorta like a high school homecoming game.

Jeb Bush and Tony Blair

Jeb Bush and Tony Blair

The section on the west is starting to realize that their programs are more than souvenirs. They are coming in handy as the rising sun blinds their view and sunglasses can only shield so much daylight. The holy grail of seats is orchestra (aka front center). Jeb Bush chats with Tony Blair. Colin Powell, Mandy Bush, Gene and Jerry Jones, Robert Stern, Gerald Turner, Michael Van Valkenburg, Mark Langdale and Alan Lowe. But even this elite group isn’t above pulling up cell phones to snap pictures of fellow top dogs.

Some nearly made the cut into this area, but missed it by a barricade like Tom Leppert, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, etc.

Henry and Jenna Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush and Miky Fabrega

Henry and Jenna Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush and Miky Fabrega

Former “first daughters” Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush arrive and chat with guests as they take their seats on the front row. Jenna was originally not slated to attend due to the pending birth of her and husband Henry’s daughter Mila. But Mila wasn’t about to miss out of the action and was delivered early, so mom and dad are in attendance.

Barbara Pierce Bush and Miky Fabrega

Barbara Pierce Bush and Miky Fabrega

Barbara is not alone. She’s brought along her boyfriend of two years, graffiti artist Miky Fábrega. Word has it that he’s not a big FOX fan, but today he looks pretty buttoned-down in coat, tie and trimmed up haircut. OK, so the facial stubble is a break from the conservative feel of the crowd, but what the heck.

Looking from the photo platform at the thousands seated both in front of the center and in the playing field, one person wonders what the organizers would have done had it rained. No one goes any further with that topic.

Security looking the other way

Security looking the other way

On the top of the center are members of the Secret Service with huge binoculars. Talk about the ultimate security system. While all guests, volunteers and media focus on the stage, those responsible for their safety look in other directions.

10:00 a.m. —The presentation begins and includes such highlights as:

  • _MG_6801Members of the U.S. Army band walk out on top of the library and museum and line up neat as a pleat. As they prepare to perform, a gentleman in a similar uniform climbs atop the brick wall in front of the photog platform. Guess he wants a good look at the musicians. Wrong! He raises his arms. All musicians’ eyes are now focused on him. He waves his arms and they play.
  • Dick Cheney

    Dick Cheney

    Wearing a felt Stetson on his head and his sunglasses in his breast pocket, Vice President Dick Cheney is first out waving to the crowd.

  • Tricia Nixon Cox, Luci Baines Johnson and Susan Ford Bales

    Tricia Nixon Cox, Luci Baines Johnson and Susan Ford Bales

    The introduction of past first children. Oops! The first announced is Luci Baines Johnson, but out walks sister Lynda Bird Johnson Robb. Then Linda’s name is announced and out comes Luci. Tricia Nixon Cox is next and still looks like a little princess. No Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Chelsea Clinton or any of the Ford boys, but Susan Ford Bales and Michael Reagan are presented.

  • Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Rosalyn Carter

    Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter

    The four past First Ladies (Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter) follow First Lady Michelle Obama on stage. Talk about perfect color coordination. No two are wearing the same color. Can’t help but wonder if the gals called each other or if it was just a fashionable accident.

  • Laura Bush, Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, Jimmy Carter and Hillary Clinton

    Laura Bush, Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, Jimmy Carter and Hillary Clinton

    Next President Barack Obama is announced, followed by George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, who arrives via wheelchair, and Jimmy Carter. As the entire crowd faces this historic gathering of the five past and current presidents, the man with the gray curly hair is scouring like a watchdog.

  • Clear panel, Michelle and Barack Obama and Barbara Bush

    Clear panel, Michelle and Barack Obama and Barbara Bush

    To the left of the stage there are two towering clear panels. They are positioned between the audience and the Obamas’ side of the stage.

  • Melissa Stockwell

    Melissa Stockwell

    The pledge of allegiance is led by 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell. Because of the standing crowd, many in the back do not realize that her left leg is a prosthesis decorated in red, white and blue. She was the first female to lose a limb in the Iraq War.

  • On either side of the podium are two teleprompters that at times prove challenging for people to see Obama hug W; W hug Laura, etc.
  • Michelle and Barack Obama and Barbara Bush

    Michelle and Barack Obama and Barbara Bush

    Barack and Michelle looked like they were having a great time with Barbara Bush.

  • Before the presidents are to officially congratulate the Bushes on their new center, the U.S. Army chorus is to perform “American the Beautiful.” But before they can get the first note out, Jimmy C gets up and heads toward the podium. W gently suggests that he’s ahead of schedule. Jimmy returns to his seat and thumbs through his agenda with Rosalyn to see how he misread his cue.
  • George and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton

    George and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton

    Each of the presidents puts his own brand on the congrats. Bill stole the show, telling how his mother had told him to keep the remarks brief. Turning to Barbara Bush, he said he wouldn’t let her down. Then he told how upon learning of W’s painting skills, he had considered having W do a portrait of him. Until, that is, he saw the hacked self-portraits of W in his bathroom.

  • Barack Obama, Barbara and George HW Bush, George and Laura Bush

    Barack Obama, Barbara and George H.W. Bush, George and Laura Bush

    The sentimental fav was the hands-down winner: H.W. Bush. Sitting in his wheelchair, he kept his remarks to a John Wayne-style, “Thank you for being here and for supporting this project.” Turning to his son, he asked if he had kept it brief enough. Perhaps he didn’t realize that his lapel mic was still on. It brought a laugh for W and the rest of the crowd, who saluted him with a standing O. In turn, ever the gentleman, he rose to his feet with the help of W and Barbara.

Ahead of schedule, the colors are marched away. The four past presidents, their wives and the Obamas leave. While the former White House residents lunch, the Obamas exit for Waco and the memorial to the West tragedy. Those who are not are lunching with the ultimate swells head for the Jack Boles team and awaiting limousines.

Somewhere a gray curly haired fellow and a lot of Secret Service types take a deep breath. This occasion will go down in the history books for the dedication of a presidential center, its assembly of presidents and nothing else. It was without incident.

There are many, many more photos of the day on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication

George H.W. Bush, George W. and Laura Bush

George H.W. Bush, George W. and Laura Bush

Media showed up at SMU by 6 a.m. for friendly frisking by hunky Secret Service types. The reason? The dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Over the next six hours, international and local swells arrived and observed five sitting and past presidents with their first ladies. From the chilly beginning to the “where’s my sunscreen” dedication, it was a heady time.

Michelle and Barack Obama and Barbara Bush

Michelle and Barack Obama and Barbara Bush

Please forgive our absence, but Queenie was hanging with all types of types. Like who? Check the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity May Ad Auction Closes At 6 P.M. Thursday And Did We Mention The Bush Heavy Hitters We Ran Into

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

April has been a whirlwind, but you already knew that. May is starting to look a bit scary with The Salvation Army Fashion Show and Luncheon, all types of Crystal Charity Ball and Cattle Baron’s Ball doings, TACA Lexus Party on the Green, Fresh Faces of Fashion Reveal, A Chance to Soar and new kids on the datebook like A Legendary Evening and Triumph for Teens Luncheon, just for starters.

And, of course, we’ll be breaking news all through the month. . . but you already knew that.

So send in those last minute bids now!

BTW, we chatted with Condoleezza Rice with WFAA’s Ron Corning tonight about the Master’s and her sea-grass pashmina. Talk about a gracious gal!

Then bumped into Dick Cheney in cowboy hat and jeans at the Mansion. Before you knew it, he was dining with his old pal Mary Matalin and a slew of friends from the old days. Instead of opting for the wine cellar, he and his party decided on the garden room. Hotel guests were whiplashing as they entered the dining room and told buds, “I could have sworn I saw Cheney in that little dining room.”

Unfortunately didn’t get to compare notes with former President Bill Clinton, who was looking thinnish because of his vegan diet plan. His smile is still bigger than the late Big Tex.

Almost swapped stories with Chris Christie and Matt Lauer over at Al Biernat’s, but our “alert clock” reminded us that we had to be at Bush-land by 5:30 to get a primo seat. Sleep trumps chatting in this case.

If we’re MIA Thursday, it’s because we’re with the media herd at the Bush Center dedication with our near and dear million boldfacers. Will keep you posted on what is really happening. You wouldn’t expect anything else.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Organizers Don’t Shilly-Shally Around For The 26th Annual Debutante Presentation

Everything had gone smoothly for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League during the days leading up to the mega-fundraising presentation ball Saturday night at the Meyerson. However, Ball Chair Lillie Young, co-chairs Sharon Popham and Annell Williams and deb coordinator extraordinaire Barbara Paschall Averitt were not letting up. There was definitely not going to be an encore performance of the previous year, when younger members of the audience got a bit overzealous.

No, this year was a deciding moment in the 26-year history of the Dallas Symphony Ball $500,000 fundraiser (or about half of conductor Jaap van Zweden‘s reported annual salary). It would either restore the traditional qualities of such an occasion, or it would be hijacked by youthful mob rule exuberance.

2012 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutante Presentation

The organizers were also given the additional challenge of having the second largest number of debs in the program’s history — 50. As Honor Guard President Tucker Huth admitted, the stage could only hold so many and it would be bulging with 100 women in white ball gowns and men in white tie and tails.

Tucker Huth

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Lillie et al was how to maintain the unique personality of the DSOL deb presentation. Unlike the Idlewild, which is steeped in a 138-year-old tradition, the DSOL event has managed to combine the feel of tradition with a festive spirit. Last year’s spirit got out of hand, so the spirit factor was going to have to be ramped down. How do you do that without taking the air totally out of the deb balloon?

Cloak room

Despite the fact that the official start of the reception was at 7 p.m., the lower level of the Meyerson was already getting cozy with generations of family and friends by 7:07. But the check-in was not backed up, and a lone flute of champagne sat on the check-in table looking more like a decoration than liquid sustenance. Due to the cold weather outside, the cloakroom looked like a fur storage vault. While some opted to keep their coats to stave off the chill in the reception area, others were having too much fun and were too proud of their bare-shouldered looks to cover them up with coats.

Gina Ginsburg

While husband Scott chatted with Paul Stewart — who was looking about for wife MelissaGina Ginsburg sat on her fur coat. Was it the chill? Nope. She didn’t know where the cloakroom was. The Ginsburgs, like others, were old hands at the DSOL deb extravaganza. Their daughter Laura Ryan Ginsburg debuted in 2004, and this year they were here for Pam Denesuk, whose daughter Austin was bowing.

Paige McDaniel and Cindrette McDaniel

Community Partners of Dallas’s Paige McDaniel and Cindrette McDaniel were thrilled about Paige’s niece/Cindrette’s granddaughter Katie McDaniel’s being not only one of the debs, but being escorted by Air Force Academy Cadet Jack Murtha.

Sullivan Franklin-Mitchell

When asked about deb daughter Sullivan Franklin-Mitchell‘s double-strand pearl necklace (other debs wore a single strand), mother Honor said that the pearls had belonged to Sullivan’s great-grandmother. The bow was a family affair for the Franklin-Mitchell clan, with father Bob Mitchell escorting Sullivan on to the stage and Sullivan’s brother Hahn serving in place of an Honor Guard escort. Grandmother Jeanette Franklin wasn’t able to make the presentation, but Honor and Bob were making sure that a video of the presentation would be shown to Jeanette.

At one point, Honor laughed after talking with Elaine Agather: “Elaine understands. All of my family is part of the presentation except me.”

As more and more people arrived, it was a good thing that the 50 debs were nowhere in sight. Those mammoth white ball gowns would have suffered from squeezing conditions. No, the debs, like brides before marching down the aisle, were backstage donning opera gloves of kid leather, having makeup and hair checked and re-checked  for their big moments center stage. But plenty of family and friends and Honor Guard escorts were making the rounds. BTW, Honor Guards were the young gents in white tie and tail with the ivory-gold sashes bordered in royal blue. The older gentlemen in white tie and tails with solid red sashes were the debs’ father/brothers who would escort them down the stairs of the Meyerson.

Abigail Wright, Shannon Stecich, Lauren Payne and Cathryn Yuille

And, of course, there were plenty of deb friends on hand. Deb Sophie Lake not only had her grandparents Merrie and Sparkey Beckham in attendance, she also had her TCU Theta sorority sister Cathryn Yuille, Lauren Payne, Shannon Stecich and Abigail Wright on board.

To keep things moving smoothly, matrons with walkie-talkies, looking like Neiman Marcus special-event alumni, moved through the crowds throughout the area. Camera phones ruled the scene, recording groups of friends and family in attendance. Some young lovelies, who obviously had not gone through the rigors of debutante training, made their way through the crowd in beautiful gowns that were spoiled by dowager-hunched-over posture.

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

As the first chimes rang calling the guests like Lisa and Kenny Troutt upstairs, the masses obeyed in a very orderly fashion.

Once in the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, it was noted that the orchestra and terrace were filled with older guests, except for the left side of the orchestra terrace, where rows of empty seats were made available for the deb fathers after their stage duties were done. It was interesting to note that deb moms were seated on the aisle seats on the orchestra floor. This design was to allow for their quick departure following the presentation. But more about that later.

Deb fathers

The Meyerson’s upper levels were a mix of all generations of guests. In addition to the Meyerson staff of ushers was the very visible presence of Dallas police on each level. And, yes, before you ask, they did have guns — but that comes with the uniform, so don’t go getting any ideas.

At 8:10 p.m. the presentation was under way, with master of ceremonies Lee Carter tactfully advising the audience that a show of appreciation for each deb was welcome — to a point. Lillie then thanked the Honorary Chairs Sharon and Mike McCullough, the ball co-chairs and DSOL President Marena Gault for their support. Lee returned to the podium and introduced the Dallas Assembly and Honor Guard officers.

Mike and Sharon McCullough

Before commencing with the presentation, Lee admonished the crowd one more time, “Your applause is encouraged. However, to maintain decorum, any further loud distraction is highly discouraged, and will be cause for removal.” In other words, there would be no shilly-shally about proper behavior. Mind your manners, or you’ll meet Dallas’s finest.

The words were evidently heard. . . at least to a degree. The 51 debs, fathers and escorts did magnificently against a fabulous backdrop of staging, floral arrangements, draping and lighting.

Laura Rooker

No two gowns looked alike, but they all had full skirts. No mermaids in this group. How would anyone manage to execute the infamous Texas dip in a tight skirt? And then there were the shoes. Under those long flowing skirts were everything from flats to pumps. This was definitely not the time for stilettos.

Sophie Lake

As for the bow itself, the debs had been preparing for this exercise of control. It was one thing to do it at home in their room. It was still another to do it center stage in front of thousands, holding a bouquet of flowers in a white ball gown and coming within inches of the perfectly white skirt. A slight miscalculation would result in makeup smeared all over the satin, silk and lace material. Catherine Carson had been practicing and was definitely wearing flats. . . Julia Thompson‘s experience as a dancer had her in shape for the bow. . . Sophie Lake was relying on her training and muscle exercises.

Erin Costello and Douglas Bruton

The only moments of hesitation came when big hoots came from a very small pod of young admirers for Natalie Chavez, Charlotte Coe, Erin Costello and Catherine Finney. (Editor’s note: The debs were introduced in alphabetical order. By the time the debs with last names starting with “G” were presented, the young guests realized that the warnings were not empty threats. Decorum was ruling. Oh, there were momentarily lapses by the peanut gallery when Adriana Kennington and Julie Skorburgbowed, but they were quickly followed by silence.)

Julie Skorburg and Bryan Dickenson

One oops! that raised eyebrows proved to be a non-oops! Before deb Sarah Frazee had even begun her bow, her dad Dr. Lewis Frazee abruptly left the stage. Egad! Dads were supposed to kiss their daughters on the cheek and then stand nearby until the Honor Guard escort strolled in to offer his hand in assistance. But the good doctor was nowhere to be seen. Oh, wait! What was that? There he was at the top of the stairs again to escort his other deb daughter Laura down the stairs.

Following last deb Cristina Yoder‘s bow, all 50 debs and escorts paraded onto the stage — and fit perfectly — as the audience gave them a standing ovation.

Lee then asked the guests to sit down, as the fathers filed out of their seats and the mothers departed the hall. At this point, it was a little surprising to see the mothers, who had been seated on the floor of the hall, walking by themselves with little fanfare. It might have been nice to have had the mothers seated on the terrace across from the fathers, resulting in a cleaner departure. That said, there is also the school of thought that the moms who had been herding and managing family members and friends all evening needed to stay with their core group. Oh, shoot. Let’s not be so nit-picky.

Debutantes and Honor Guard escorts

As the guests left the concert hall, the couples on stage stood their ground trying to spy familiar faces. It was just too much for the guests in the upper levels. Like students supporting their

Deb fans

teams, the rah-rah support sprung up briefly.

The next challenge was the post-bow waltz. Photographer James French looked like a man who was opening the doors at Best Buy for Thanksgiving Day-after sales. He was worried. Last year’s dance floor had been a squeeze, with 41 debs in billowing ball gowns and their fathers in formal attire. Now the number was up to

Debutantes and fathers preparing to dance

50, and James and his team were supposed to shoot everyone dancing. And then for the second dance, the crowd was increased with Honor Guards dancing with moms. As the fathers surrounded the dance floor, looking like a herd of ambassadors, the debs floated in through a narrow walkway with their escorts. Well, they didn’t exactly float in. They hustled in, with James shooting each one as if he were shooting a college football team taking the field. But the girls were ready for anything and were delighted to see their fathers, who were glowing with pride.

As the father-daughter dancers started their waltzes, overhead on the balcony young friends started their cheers of support. But, nobody had said they couldn’t hoot and holler now. Still. . .  Then there was silence, and a moment later where the youngsters had been were now men and women in blue.

Security in the lobby balcony

While debs and friends connected and the dance floor continued to be filled, other guests settled down for a very good dinner of salad (winter leaves with garlic toast American Maytag blue cheese, tomato medley, citrus balsamic vinaigrette and toasted rustic focaccia), entree (anchor pepper chili rubbed beef filet, coffee infused bordelaise sauce, herb cheese and sweet potato tart royale and grilled asparagus and roasted red pepper) and dessert (symphony of chocolate with fresh raspberry coulis).

But the propriety of the event didn’t stop with the dancing debs. No. Most of the debs and escorts graciously visited tables, thanking guests for attending and in some cases for flowers and gifts that had celebrated the occasion. There was a polish and sincerity about their presence that reflected the confidence that was instilled in them thanks to the weeks of preparation.

Trapped vehicles

As some guests decided to leave at 11:30, there was a slight hiccup in the smooth perfection of the night. The vehicles in the Meyerson underground parking lot were being held hostage. The roll-down gate separating the garage from the driveway was down and not budging. Seems that the Meyerson staffer who was in charge of the gate had only been on the job a couple of days, and the gate had closed following its usual schedule. Now it was in lock-down. Finally, the gate slowly rose with headlights playing peek-a-boo at waiting guests and engines revving to escape.

In reviewing the effort and money invested in her daughter’s being a part of the DSOL event, one deb mom didn’t hesitate, saying, “It was well worth it.” She went on to explain that it had not only been an education about what all is entailed for such special events, but it also provided a marvelous opportunity for the families to bond and to get to know other people within the community. She said that her daughter had known some of the gals in her deb class, but she had met others that she never would have had the chance to meet. She added that her daughter was going to join the Dallas Assembly because she realized that it not only supported the Dallas Symphony, it provided support for future debs to experience what she had.

Lillie Young, her committee and the professionals pulled off a marvelous evening that reflected the youthful spirit of the upcoming generation of DSO supporters with the legendary tradition of bowing to society. Congratulations on a nice come back

Phoenix House Expansion Dedication Brings Together Supporters And Memories Of Paul Bass

As the sun was setting Wednesday, the season’s first cold front had dropped temperatures so a good pashmina was the perfect accessory for the Phoenix House of Texas Hill A. Feinberg Academy ribbon cutting and dedication of the Paul M. Bass Jr. Road to Recovery and Administration and Outpatient Facilities Building. No, people weren’t turning blue with a chill, but they did see a perfect opportunity to group together in the courtyard of the facility to take advantage of body heat.

Speaking of the facility, the finished product of brick and mortar was outstanding thanks to the funds provided by so many (The Crystal Charity Ball, Horace C. Cabe Foundation, Renee and Hill A. Feinberg, FirstSouthwest, Hillcrest Foundation, HobliPtzelle Foundation, Gene and Jerry Jones Family, The Lupe Murchison Foundation, Annette and Harold Simmons, T. Boone Pickens, PlainsCapital Corporation, Aileen and Jack Pratt Foundation, Betsy and Jim Sowell, Sturgis Educational and Charitable Trust and Lee Ann and Alan White).

As guests entered the walkway leading to the courtyard, the first thing they spotted was a stone plaque honoring the late Paul Bass, who had inspired so many.

Mitchell Rosenthal

Before taking their seats under a tent for the ribbon-cutting, the crowd compared notes. Phoenix House Founder Mitchell Rosenthal was chatting with Alan White and others about the weather. Upon leaving New York City that morning, he had heard the temperature to be 38 degrees, but now it was up to the 60’s. . . not so bad with the sun shining.

Lee Ann White

When a guest complimented Lee Ann White about the million-dollar-luncheon she chaired earlier this year featuring Jeb Bush and how it had spearheaded the Phoenix House expansion, she quickly demurred, “Oh, no! Crystal Charity got this started!”

And the CCB ladies including Debbie Oates were present but way in the background at the event.

Promptly the ceremony took place because people had to get home in time for the Rangers playing in the World Series. This subject is the driving force nowadays for most event agendas, don’t you know.

Phoenix House CEO/President Howard Meitiner welcome the group and thanked everyone for supporting this “new, improved and enlarged facility.” Because of the expansion, it will allow the group to offer an expanded range of residential and outpatient services.

Did you know that Phoenix House Hill A. Feinberg Academy is projected to work with 450 teens through its Intensive Residential treatment program and 250 will be served through its Outpatient Program?

Pauline Medrano, Hill Feinberg, Mariela, Maeve O'Neill and Howard Meitiner

One of those served through the Phoenix House was Mariela, who at the age of 13 was using cheese heroin. But that was four years ago. . . four sober years ago. Wednesday, she held the scissors for the official ribbon cutting with City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, Hill, Phoenix House Deputy Regional Director Maeve O’Neill and Howard by her side.

Thanks to the support of so many, there will be many more like Mariela, who will cut through teen drug abuse.

Louise and Donald Cowan Center For Education Is Officially Dedicated

Nancy Cain Marcus, Dr. Louise Cowan, Dr. Gail Thomas

It was a gathering of friends and fans of Dr. Louise Cowan and her late husband Donald Friday night at the Nancy Cain Marcus Conference Center. The occasion was the official dedication of the Louise and Donald Cowan Center for Education by The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Considered a “pivotal moment” in the Institute’s 30-year history, the Institute’s education programs will be “encompassed” within the new center.

“The choice of The Dallas Institute to name its educational programs for Drs. Louise and Donald Cowan is significant and fitting,” said Dr. Claudia Allums, Director of the Cowan Center. “The Cowans’ vision nurtures and cultivates an attitude toward education, teaching, and learning that is dynamic, joyful, and meaningful. It prepares teachers and administrators for lives of learning and growing, and it enables them to take this passion into classrooms and schools that have too often been encouraged to become education factories. The Cowans’ philosophy of education is needed now more than ever.  The Cowan Center is education re-humanized, and it has already transformed the lives of thousands of teaching professionals.”

This decision was obvious from the 45-minute address by 94-year-old Louise Cowan. She told the crowd including Kim Jordan, Betty Regard, Judy Pollack, Steven Raab, Deb Suder, Eric Suder, Dr. Russell Bellamy, David Griffin, Nelda Cain Pickens, Clyde Henderson, Deedie Rose, Dr. Gail Thomas and Dr. Larry Allums that the decline of the U.S. in the world’s education rankings (out of 34 countries, the U.S. is 25th in math and 14th in reading) “is due to an inadequate view of the purpose of education and the teacher in particular. Awakening the educators’ joy of learning is central to the nation’s success in schooling.”

Photo provided by The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture