Childbuilders and Connections

Childbuilders held its quarterly luncheon yesterday at Polo's (that fab spot on the Southwest Freeway), and I am delighted to report that I attended and met some of those who make Childbuilders the amazing organization it is.

Trish King, executive director of Childbuilders, was there, along with other staffers and loyal supporters. Among them were some women I've known for awhile but was, nonetheless, clueless about their involvement with this great nonprofit that promotes positive social and emotional development in all children and families.

Jan Redford, an old friend from West University Place was there, as were Marty Braniff, founder of Child Advocates, Inc. and Patty Mercer, president of Houston SPCA and former Houston Woman Magazine Cover Girl.

Mercer was the guest speaker yesterday, and she did a superb job telling us about the history of the Houston SPCA and its growing areas of concern, including caring for dogs and cats and farm animals misplaced by storms like Katrina.

During the luncheon, I sat next to Muriel Phillips, the gregarious founder of Childbuilders. We shared pleasantries, and somehow got to talking about our hometowns. I mentioned a recent trip to Bossier City, Louisiana, and her face lit up.

"I'm from Shreveport," she said.

For those that don't know, the two cities are separated only by the Red River. So, in many ways, the two cities are just one big community.

More conversation enlightened me to the fact that Phillips' father was the founder and owner of Selber Brothers, for many years THE department store in Shreveport. What a treat it was to chat about a place that held so many memories for both of us.

Phillips seemed to especially like one particular quip I offered.

"When I was growing up, a trip into Shreveport to shop at Selber's was a big deal. It called for 'dressing up.' I remember my mother taking me to shop there for new school clothes or for a party dress for a special occasion. Always, she would insist that I wear my finest. A dress suitable for church, white gloves and hat," I told her.

Phillips laughed and said, "Mostly, I remember going into the store to work!"

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