I just finished watching a couple of video events tonight and it was just plain luck that they were broadcast one right after the other. One was the first presidential candidate debate at Hofstra University in New York. It definitely had the “Let’s get ready to rumble” hype ahead of it. You can decide if Clinton or Trump won. I thought it was pretty lively. You could choose a stronger word than “lively” I guess. Stormy? It went from 8-9:30 PM and moderator Lester Holt had his hands full.
Definitely not like the other video, which was the live broadcast of the Austin Historic Landmark Commission meeting about whether or not to demolish Casa Magni, the home of my former undergraduate college teacher, Dr. Jenny Lind Porter. It came on at 10 PM, a much quieter affair and over in 20 minutes. It was the third such meeting since late June. There was calm agreement to release the permit to demolish the house. It was a welcome counterpoint to the tense and sometimes barely contained hostility of the presidential debate.
There was no opposition from the Old Enfield Homeowner’s Association (HOA). In fact, the President of the HOA herself supported demolition. There was no evidence that the celebrated Austin architect, Hugo Franz Kuehne, designed the house at 1715 Summit View Place. Several speakers spoke in support of demolition and praised the applicant’s plan to build a “mimic” of the style of Dr. Porter’s house.
Somebody mentioned that Dr. Porter has had a guardian since late 2015. Another mentioned respectfully that she had been appointed Poet Laureate of Texas in 1964 by then Governor John Connally.
There was no one there who opposed demolition. What probably helped was that the applicant and owner of the house plans to obtain a restrictive covenant ensuring that the new construction will never be turned into an apartment house.
The presidential debate made me clench my jaw. The meeting about Porter’s house was marked by a tone of respect, helped me unwind and let go. That’s what it felt like…a letting go. May it be that something of her spirit burns in me.