It’s time to write a new story about my family, espe­cially about my mother.

If Dorothy Sirkel Dupree had lived during the West­ward expan­sion, her story would be included with the heroes of the West because of her brave, pioneering spirit. Deter­mined to make a better life for herself and for her family, Dorothy was fear­less in self-learning new skills. Her sopho­more year in high school, she left her family home out in the country and moved into town with the family of the Super­in­ten­dent of Schools, trading baby-sitting services (their son’s name was Paul) for room and board so she could devote more atten­tion to her studies.

She played in a man’s world before the ERA made that popular — how many moms own a chain saw? She took on huge chal­lenges, creating success with care and atten­tion to detail. This and her aesthetics kept her inte­rior design busi­ness flour­ishing through refer­rals and repeat busi­ness without need for adver­tising. There’s a block in High­land Park where the majority of the homes have Dorothy Dupree draperies. Even today, 20 years after retiring the busi­ness, Dorothy’s clients speak of the quality she brought to her work.

She saw renewed value in what others saw as junk before recy­cling was popular. She loaded up the furni­ture from her husband’s aban­doned, rain-soaked family home and learned how to rebuild and refinish the pieces, so that now my brother and I enjoy these family trea­sures from the 1920s and 30s.

After her mother had cancer surgery, Dorothy had an apart­ment built for her above our garage, giving her mother a home and an oppor­tu­nity to help with the busi­ness.

Dorothy donated her services to her passions — making church choir robes, draperies for the church and parson­ages, college wardrobes for her best friend’s daughter, and redec­o­rating a room for her grand­baby.

When her two chil­dren chose creative activ­i­ties unfa­miliar to her, she eagerly provided the lessons, trans­porta­tion and encour­age­ment — driving 30 minutes to Dallas for piano lessons at 7 a.m., twice a week.

She made sure the family “got-out-of-hades” (Texas in the summer) and ventured forth to all 48 conti­nental states, the first stop being the cool moun­tains of Colorado or Arkansas.

She worked to make sure my brother and I could attend college without the burden of also having to work. And she supported her husband, by returning to his roots near Austin following retire­ment, and re-starting her busi­ness there; by attending every Univer­sity of Texas Long­horn Foot­ball game humanly possible; and by listening without every complaining to his thou­sand-and-one stories about World War II.

Calling my partner “you jack-ass” was an expres­sion of sincere love for David. She loved her family, accepted Bob’s wife as if she were a daughter, and was very thankful that Bob and Debbie decided to give her two grand­kids. (David and I were thankful too that they were off the hook for that chore.)

She was a Texas tornado of energy giving her two boys all the gifts above. I am forever grateful.