Music: Lucky Day
Performed by: Julie Andrews

Page updated: : March 20, 2010

Significant Changes

Life-shaping factors and events...

My sister Harriet, was a major factor in the changes...

She was 33 when I was 19.
I was definitely the "kid".

Our parents were in their 60's.
Upon her recommendation,
they agreed to Southern Methodist University
for me at the beginning of my junior year.

But - for me, it was far more than
simply a transfer to another college.
To say she took charge of my life
is no exaggeration.

So, I entered SMU, joined a sorority
and became known as Nell Ann.
The details really weren't my option.
It seemed that my own choices for myself
would just have to wait.

From Harriet's perspective,
her program was for my "good".
She took me under her wing - on her terms.

Anyway, her program was the order of my day,
so I sought to derive benefit from it,
and I believe I did in many ways.

I pondered about life....
I confess, I wondered when my turn would come.

But I knew it would come.
In only a year, I would be 21 and I would graduate!

But not yet.

I got into the spirit of it, and enjoyed it, in fact.

Here I am, outside my dorm.

Later - in the Zeta house.

School was great.
I even took Swimming and Modern Dance!

There were football games, floats and parades,
dates, dances, parties and dinners,
visits from dashing rival Texas Aggies for games...
and SMU had a star-studded team of all time!

I was getting my bearings ....
becoming much less the small-town,
small-school girl than previously.

I enrolled in SMU's excellent fashion design program,
which could lead to a career in that field,
my happiest element!

From the yearbook... SMU's Dallas Hall, Nell Ann,
Fashion Design students, my Zeta house,
where I lived my Senior year.

The Design teacher was Austrian,
schooled in traditional couture,
having designed for the House of Dior.
She called us "dahlings",
but demanded our commitment.
Madame Boger -
I fairly glimmered under her approval!
She drew out the best from me....
and generously recognized it.

The training included all aspects of fashion.
We staging our own fashion shows,
modeling the designs we had created.
I soaked up knowledge with relish

Meanwhile, of course, I continued a course of study
for my BS (Smith-Hughes) degree, and graduated well.

Thank you, Harriet, for many things.

Yet - upon graduation, I determined to establish
my own life-course.
So, instead of following my sister's plans for my life,
I packed up and boarded a train out of Dallas,
to seek and find my own way in Houston.
She was NOT pleased.

I quickly became a Bridal Consultant at a fine store ...

and adopted a shortened name several friends preferred.

My parents were very proud of my progress,
and I was carving out my own niche, in my own way.

Harriet remained aloof
during the summer and fall following my graduation.
But my work was so intense, I had no time to ponder.

Even my social life was limited by the demands
of the regular full-time work at the store,
plus servicing the weddings in the after-hours
in which weddings are likely to occur.
I wrote the wedding descriptions for newspapers.
Often, for fashion shows,
I was called upon to model the bridal wear.
And I was involved in designing and making
accessories for brides who requested something original.

It was a glamourous-appearing job,
but it required incredible stamina.
Simply carrying heavy multi-layered wedding gowns,
bridesmaids' and mothers' dresses for multiple fittings,
from the Bridal Department at one side of the huge store
to the alteration department on the opposite side,
wearing high heels and 1950's fashionable clothing -
was a fitness regime in itself!

I loved it.

In December, however - everything was to change.....

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