Boys and Girls Clubs, Freeway History Mystery, Stephen Doster and more
CHARITY: The statistic is miraculous. This year, once again, 100 percent of Boys and Girls Clubs members in Greater Austin graduated or moved up to the next grade level in school. Can we bottle this magic? A huge crowd at the Hilton Austin Hotel seemed to think so. They gathered for the “Somebody” Spring Luncheon starring headliners Vince Young, T.J. Ford and Brian Jones. Heavy on the sports figures, I know, but if that’s what it takes to convince young folks of the Club’s lifesaving efficacy, then more power to them. Former Longhorns Ford and Young talked about their tough backgrounds and the importance of key mentors, as fellow Longhorn and now sports commentator Jones moderated their chat. Meanwhile, a printed program provided more testimonials about the somebodies who turned around the lives of baseball coach Augie Garrido, power broker Ben Barnes, newsman Dan Rather, sports and charity saint Edith Royal, ad man Roy Spence, football coaches Mack Brown, Major Applewhite and the late Darrell Royal, deceased civic leader Willie Kocurek, businessman John Paul DeJoria and lunch emcee Jones. The only one on the list that I didn’t know was educator John Sibley Butler, so of course he’s my No. 1 target for a newspaper profile.
HISTORY: Decoding a 1962 photograph of Interstate 35: From my story in the Statesman: “Except for some boat-like cars parked in the southbound lanes, the freeway is empty. Men in dark suits and hats gather on the wide expanse of concrete. A woman in high heels approaches one of the men in a spirited manner. Meanwhile, girls in high-school marching uniforms assemble in clusters. In the distance, one can spy the University of Texas Tower, but what are those other buildings? For that matter, where exactly are we and what is going on? hen this March 29, 1962, photograph was posted last month on social media, a torrent of commentary followed. Readers responded to that and other records about the opening ceremony for Interstate 35 in downtown Austin, which are carefully preserved by the Texas Department of Transportation. Some are exhibited online by the Texas State Library and Archives as part of “From Pioneer Paths to Superhighways.” http://shar.es/VqFjh
MUSIC: Stephen Doster sends guitars and more to Swaziland. From my story in the Statesman: “In 2012, veteran Austin folk musician and record producer Stephen Doster visited Swaziland as part of a U.S. State Department arts program. Guided by embassy workers, he and his friend, diplomat and singer-songwriter Greg Engle, interacted with musicians there. They also visited schools and orphanages in a country marked by a complicated mix of monarchy and democracy, along with the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection.I was really touched by the kids,” he says about his visit to an orphanage. “I thought it would be depressing. It was anything but. They were high-spirited and resilient. Their singing is magnificent. In a room with 400 of them, the sound was an almost surreal experience. And to think, none of them have moms or dads.” They also had no instruments to play. So back in Austin, he and Darcie Fromholz, daughter of the late singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz, co-founded Guitars for Swaziland.” http://shar.es/VqFUj
TRAVEL: Ken Herman’s first Big Bender. From his hilarious column in the Statesman: “In my ongoing effort to “discover” things long after every other Central Texan has discovered them (perhaps you’ll recall my shocking admission last year that I’d never previously been to Barton Springs Pool), I recently made my first ever foray to the Big Bend area. The first stop was Marathon, which apparently is pronounced Marathin (rhymes with Wheat Thin) and was so named by Capt. Albion E. Shepard because it reminded him of Greece. Methinks the good captain perhaps spent too much time at sea.We stayed at the Gage Hotel, where every other Central Texan already has stayed. Great old hotel, apparently popular with motorcycle people. Room 10, I heard the owner tell someone, is haunted by a violin-playing spirit. I don’t know if a motorcycle is involved. There’s not all that much to do in Marathon, whose motto is “Marathon, Texas: Where There’s ‘Nothing to Do.’” We wandered by Eve’s Garden Bed and Breakfast, a whimsical, colorful work in progress made out of papercrete, which is shredded paper soaked in sand and water. Innkeeper Kate Thayer encouraged us to check out her bed and breakfast’s website, evesgarden.org, and cautioned not to confuse it with evesgarden.com, which she indicated is about bed and something else. I did the research so you won’t have to. She’s correct.From Marathon we headed to Big Bend National Park, bivouacking at the Chisos Mountain Lodge as we toured and hiked the park. Lots of people camp at the park. My idea of roughing it is staying in a Three Seasons Hotel.” http://shar.es/VqRb9