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One more memory of dislocation from the 1981 Memorial Day flood

Tina Jackson lived a few yards away from North Lamar Boulevard but was unaware of the rising water.


Earlier this week, we shared in print one person’s vivid memories from the 1981 Memorial Day flood. We pointed readers to many more stories about that more distant cataclysm collected at society.blog.austin360.com.

I thought the following note from Tina Jackson takes a point of view not represented by those who went through direct experiences with rising waters. Jackson’s brief story, however, represents the sense of dislocation many others recall from local disasters.

“I feel rather guilty about my experience, to tell you the truth,” Jackson writes. “I was 27 years old, living in an old two-story frame house at 705 West 11th St., where I was paying a whopping $125 a month rent. I had entered my weekend with the simple joy of having three days off from work, and without television, radio or phone at the time, I was blissfully unaware of the chaos just down the hill on North Lamar Boulevard.

“I spent the weekend enjoying the rain and doing arts and crafts. It wasn’t until I walked downtown to work on Congress Avenue the following Tuesday and stopped to pick up my morning paper — the American-Statesman, of course — at a stand near a local business that I learned of the devastation. I felt guilty then that I hadn’t known, and perhaps have been able to help someone in need. That’s my story!”

Man and Woman of the Year

It’s gotten more competitive. The Man and Woman of the Year contest to see who can raise the most money during a 10-month period for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has always encouraged friendly rivalries. Yet as the Austin edition of the national event has grown in size and stature, it has pitted energized teams of friends and colleagues to give ever more generously in the name of their standard bearers.

At the AT&T Center, they filled the banquet hall with kinetic energy. What followed might have been the longest live auction on local record. The winners? Of course we were going to tell you: Shannon Wolfson and Rylan Reed. “He’s a survivor,” reports nonprofit ambassador Lisa O’Neill, and “She did it for Dad.” Altogether, the 11 candidates (seven women, four men) raised an entirely respectable $622,172.

Art Bra Austin

How theatrical! It had been a couple of years since I’d looked in on Art Bra Austin, the festive fundraiser for Breast Cancer Resource Center. All I can say is: “Wow!” At the Austin Music Hall, delirious guests mingled on multiple levels over snack food and outrageous costumes. Quickly, though, we got to business: Dozens of artfully designed and constructed breastplates, corsets and other protective garments were modeled on a high runway by breast cancer survivors.

Here, auctioneer Gayle Stallings’ gifts matched the theatrical scale of the event — her imposing personality has always reminded me of Mama Rose in “Gypsy.” And while the bras in the past were aptly fanciful, this time they tended to take on mythological themes, done up in operatic style. While dozens of the outfits were offered in the silent auction, a few amazing samples, including a mosaic corset, went on the live auction block. The models, too, had been coached to take heroic poses and interact with stage props. Well, props to everyone who put this memorable show together.

See my snapshots of the models at my Instagram page: atxoutandabout.


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