TRAVEL HERE: PRESERVATION DALLAS HOSTS FALL ARCHITECTURAL TOUR
OK, so I don’t actually know Laura Bush and I wasn’t in her entourage as she enjoyed the Preservation Dallas (PD) Fall Architectural Tour, but I did spend my day touring the same houses she did. For much of that day we were actually in the same houses at the same time. A few times I could have just wrapped my arm around her and said, “Isn’t this fun?” To my bestie’s great delight, I didn’t, but honestly, I wanted to.
Preservation Dallas is My New Thing
I only recently joined PD, but I am so glad I did. Shortly after joining, I learned about their Fall Architectural Tour. Deb and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate her birthday, so I bought Patron Tickets unaware that I’d just signed us up for one of the best weekends ever.
The Patron Party was lovely. Held on the top floor of an architecturally-significant Turtle Creek home, we sipped wine and tasted canapes with an eclectic bunch of movers and shakers. We made some new friends and I even ran into someone I’d known from the glory days of the DMA’s PM League. (In case you didn’t know, I call them the glory days, because that’s how I met my husband.) We were primed for a great day of touring homes designed by the architect Frank Welch.
The Lamplighter School
The day began at The Lamplighter School. Dallas is full of amazing private schools, but since I’d never had kids, I haven’t spent much time thinking about them. An optional tour of the school was offered before general registration and even though I had doubts it would be of any great interest, Deb and I rarely miss a thing.
The elementary school is charming. The tour began in a light-filled library with three kid-sized fire-place nooks for curling up with good books. The body of the school is a big open classroom with groups of teeny tiny chairs. A hall lined with paint-daubed smocks leads to a large art classroom redolent with the smell of drying clay, crayons and tempra paint. OK, so this was a pretty cool school – but I hadn’t seen anything yet!
Their newest building is sort of a life lab. It’s got hydroponic tomatoes from the Dallas Arboretum, science labs and other classrooms. The central court is a cooking lab with kid-sized counters. Nearby is the wood-working lab. Yes, a wood-working lab for primary students. Now I was really impressed, but the Lamplighter had only begun to strut its stuff.
The large playground begs little ones to come outside and climb all over the colorful play equipment. Even us big ones had to admit 30 minutes swinging on the rope swing, digging in the sandbox and zipping down the slides would have been fun – but they were way too small for us.
The big surprise was a barn full of farm animals. When is the last time you visited an elementary school with with’s own chickens, goats, pig and cow. That’s what I thought!
After the tour we were delivered to the gym for a symposium about the featured architect, but first there was a continental breakfast buffet. Deb and I connected with some friends who were also enjoying this event and then found seats behind a large gentleman in a navy blue topcoat and an earplug. Yep, Deb and I were sitting right behind Mrs. Bush’s security detail, we just didn’t realize it yet.
I’ll just come out and say it. The symposium was (shall we say) a little dry. These were architects after all and they get paid for thinking on a higher plane than the rest of us. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize the nice lady in the tan sweater, who’s neatly bobbed hair bounced with every nod of her head, was our 43rd First Lady. After I found out, I gave the speakers some grace. I might have had a hard time putting together coherent sentences with an audience like that.
Unaware of the distraction on the first row, I struggled to pay attention and grasp the information being presented like a scavenger hunt on a long and winding dirt road. I couldn’t even watch the slides being presented without losing the thread of the conversation. Deb, on the other hand, blew off the panel completely, enjoyed the slides and speculated on the guy with the earpiece.
Time to Tour
Suddenly, just few feet away, a small petite lady with a familiar face was greeting old friends around her. The guy in the earpiece moved out of the immediate crush and spoke into his wrist. I was looking right at First Lady Laura Bush and she had a sweet smile for everyone.
I’m not the groupie sort. Even when I go to hear one of my favorite people, I’m never one of the ones who crowd the celebrity after his/her presentation for a handshake or a word. Sometimes I think it would be cool, but I also think it must be stressful to face a crowd like that and I don’t want to be a part of it. I doubt if I would even attend a meet and greet. It feels contrived. In this particular situation, Mrs. Bush was not there in an official capacity, so there was no way I was going to interrupt her enjoyment of the day – but I kind of wanted to.
I think you’d enjoy hearing about the rest of the tour, but I’ve run out of words for today, so come back next week.