4 Sissy Farenthold, Ann Richards, and John Henry Faulk, circa 1972 photo from the Observer archives participated in Girls State, a leadership-training program, and was elected governor of Girls State. She and Dave Richards dated in high school. She went to Baylor on a debate scholarship, and they married as undergraduates. She also got the world’s best mother-in-law, Eleanor Richards, who remains my definition of a classy lady. While David went to law school in Austin, Ann got a teaching certificate and taught junior high, a thankless assignment. But she had a real empathy for kids at that impossible age. As governor, she briefly took over a class of gifted and talented kids, mostly black and brown, who were visiting the Capitol for the day. They stood in a stairwell while the noise of the session swirled all around. “Who owns this building?” asked Ann. “The taxpayers,” the kids finally concluded after much nudging. “Who are the taxpayers?” “My parents pay taxes!” shouted one kid. “What about you? If you go to buy a candy bar, do you pay taxes on it?” After much discussion, a candy-bar receipt was finally produced, and sure enough, it had tax added on it. “WE own the Capitol,” they all shouted. They won’t forget it, either. This took about 10 minutes out of her day and she must have done it hundreds of times. When David was a young labor lawyer in Dallas, the great issue of the day was civil rights. To support Ralph Yarborough and the civil rights movement in those days in Dallas was pretty much tantamount to communism. But Ann and Betty McKool, wife of State Sen. Mike McKool and a great wit in her own right, used to make fun of the city and its bigots at the annual Democratic Women’s Club follies. Ann and Betty also sent out an anonymous annual Christmas card worth a good laugh. Given that she later went into politics, it’s just as well the cards never surfaced. One of Ann and Betty respectively dressed as the Virgin Mary and Joseph shows them astonished over a manger, yelling, “It’s a girl!” That seemed so subversive at the time, and I doubt the Christian Right would be amused by it today. When Ann and Dave moved back to Austin in 1969, they became the center of a circle of friends, some of whom were later split up in the divorce. Every Friday night we gathered at Scholz Beer Garten for the weekly meeting of the Horses ASSociation. Sam Whitten and I agreed the best argument we ever heard at the ASSociation was between Martin Wigginton, a serious radical, and Fletcher Boone, who owned an art gallery, on the topic of does man live by bread alone? It was a 17beer argument, with Wigginton for bread and Boone for roses, Marx and materialism versus the spirit and beauty, the two of them ringed by a group of hushed followers who turned their heads from one to the other as though they were watching a tennis match. Sam and I couldn’t decide who won. \(Wigginton was later buried at his request without a head8 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 6, 2006
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