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Mama Jewel, Queen of East Austin

July 25, 2014 , , , , ,

I am a visitor in the neighborhood of East Austin, Texas for a couple of weeks. On the first day of my visit I was walking down my street and met Jewel Thomas Lusk sitting on her front porch. She is the neighborhood watch, the historian, the social director, and godmother to some of the kids around here. If you live here you know her, or at least she knows all about you. I like talking to her about the way the neighborhood developed. She has lived here for more than 58 years, so she is well informed on the subject.  I wanted to interview her on video but she would not give her consent.  She has a strong accent and told me she does not want anyone making fun of her.  She also has a job working at a law office once a week and does not want any kind of publicity to mess up her deal with the lawyers.  I do understand, but I still wish she had agreed to talk to the gentle readers.

She is a Baptist who enjoys dressing up sharp and singing on Sundays.  This weekend there is some big to do a the Tabernacle that will include all the Baptist churches around here.  She is planning to wear a fancy green outfit with a brimmed hat.  I do wish I could see her all dressed up because I am sure it is impressive.  She also enjoys Coors silver bullets, which she informed me she was responsible for finally getting in this town.  We had a little difference of opinion about when Coors actually arrived in Austin, but sometime in the 1960’s is correct.  This beer was highly prized and personally imported ( that’s right, imported) from Colorado, which was the only state where you could buy it.   Jewel told me she used to buy it in Ft. Worth and bring it down here, but was finally able to convince the mayor of the city to help her bring Coors to Austin. I have no doubt that this story is true.  She can literally tell you everything about everyone who has lived around here.  I do hope somebody will talk her into recording her stories on video so that they will not be lost.

When I went to college here I was 17 and could not get into bars to hear music…with one exception.  The black clubs on 6th Street did not discriminate against the white youth, and let us into their clubs.  I got to see BB King and Bobby Blue Bland one night playing about 10 feet in front of us.  We were 4 or 5 teen white chicks in an all black club having a wonderful time.  No problem.  I can’t remember if they served us alcohol or not, because we were not really drinkers, just BB fans.  Jewel and I reminisced about those clubs and that music for a while, and I wondered if she and I had ever danced together back then.  She still likes to dance, but says for dancing she switches to Crown Royal because beer is not the thing for dancing.  She is a remarkable woman, representing a front porch attitude that has faded with time….but not on her corner of the world.  I am grateful to be her neighbor for a couple of weeks.  She is the essence of cool.

What do you think?

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comments

This is kind of how I imagine the states to be!

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London-Unattached.com

July 26, 2014

We probably imagine Britain in an historic state too. You won’t find this much any more.

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mermaidcamp

July 26, 2014

Jewel sounds (and looks) amazing. How great that she spent such significant time talking to you.

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

July 26, 2014

It is great. Thanks Stevie.

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mermaidcamp

July 26, 2014

1 notes

  1. East End Fourth Friday, Austin | mermaidcamp reblogged this and added:

    […] shortly after I arrived at the Airstream.   I had a great time, and even had a quick dance with Mama Jewel on my way home.  Perfect evening.  If I had any ambition to develop real estate I would do it […]

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