ONCE UPON A TIME…”
Every little girl since the Brothers Grimm knows how the story goes. The beautiful but poor young woman, with several strikes of various sorts against her, combats rivals and the system to wind up on the arm of Prince Charming. Handsome, powerful, rich Prince Charming. And while most of us settle for knights with tarnished armor (and sometimes frogs who never got kissed into princes}, there are those others…
That was my assignment. To seek out “those others” and find out what separates the “haves” (who got their princes) from the “have-nots” (who are still prince-less, still wishing, hoping,dreaming.) I asked. We talked. They told.
Their tales may seem old-fashioned (and perhaps no longer politically correct), but in truth, their stories are part of a never-ending tale. Around the turn of the century, Edith Wharton planned a novel about nouveau riche young American women in search of tided Europeans. “The Buccaneers,” she called it, but she died before she could finish the book. Well, rest easy. Miss Edith. A hundred years later, the quest continues right here in Dallas, where we’ve never run short of buccaneers.
The Legend of the List, and Other Stories
FOR YEARS, A CERTAIN STORY HAS BEEN MAKING THE PARK ClTlES GOSSIP rounds, It goes like this: One prominent local socialite, now married to a very wealthy man, used to be a dental assistant in Oak Cliff. She was young, pretty, blonde, and divorced, struggling to support a daughter and make ends meet. So she decided to marry a rich man who would take her away from all that. Being a sensible, methodical type, she made a list of 10 eligible, well -heeled bachelors, and set out to meet Mr. Right.
Her friends laughed and teased her when she told them about The List. She would never even get to meet one of these men, let alone marry one of them, they said. But she proved them wrong. She met them all and married the man at the top of her list. It’s a good marriage and they are living happily ever after. Today, she’s one of the city’s highest-profile women. Her only remaining ambition? To make Crystal Charity’s best-dressed list.
Speaking of Crystal Charity, it’s at the top of the totem pole when it comes to prestigious gatherings of Dallas’ crème de la creme, so it’s not surprising that another tale of marrying rich comes from Sharon McCutchin, who chaired last year’s Crystal Charity Ball. She’s well-liked among the close band of the elite, and also in ever-widening circles of just-plain-folks who appreciate her ribald humor along with her big smile, big hair, and flashy, self-deprecating style. Sharon is internationally known for the outsized closet (3,500 square feet!) in her former Las Colinas home, What is not generally known is how she met and married her oil-millionaire husband, Jerry.
Sharon Lokas was not born to wealth and privilege. Her parents were bard-working, blue-collar people, and when she moved to Dallas-a thin, spectacular beauty queen from Waco-she went to work as a secretary for a man who would later introduce her to his good friend, Jerry McCutchin, who happened to be getting a divorce. Perhaps Sharon did not set out to look for a wealthy husband, but she reportedly tells friends, “It took me two and a half years to lasso Jerry, and I’ve been tap-dancing ever since. ” It’s a match that works; the two have been married for nearly 25 years.
As Texas legends go, traditionally the big money was made from cat-tle or oil or both. Jake Hamon, who died in the 1980s, was the stereotypical oil baron. The late millionaire’s wife, Nancy, continues to give significant, sometimes astounding, amounts of money to local charities in his name, and it’s not just the money that’s lasted: The Hamons’ longtime love affair and marriage is the stuff of another local legend.
According to friends and gossip mavens, the young Nancy, a native of San Antonio, went to Hollywood in the 1940s with every intention of becoming a movie star. But Louis B. Mayer of MGM told her to forget it; she wasn’t photogenic. In the meantime, though, on a starlets’ promotional tour across the country, she met a man who was quite a bit older, smoked cigars, and loved to party. She loved all of the above. Nancy had grown up in a fairly well-to-do family in the Alamo city- but the money made by Jake Hamon was the stuff of which dreams were made. And many of her dreams came true because of it. The Dallas parties that Mrs. Jake Hamon gave from 1950 to 1972 arc still topics of ladies’ lunches today. And she did get in her touch of Hollywood-from the grand productions of her soirees to her close friendship with a real movie star, the inimitable Greer Garson, who was also married to a rich Dallas man, Buddy Fogelson.
Beauty and Bucks
WHEN I PULL UP INTO THE DRIVEWAY OF HER MASSIVE PRESTON Hollow home, Shawne Fielding Williams is decorating for Christmas. That is, she’s directing the placement of her holiday light display. She says she’s nervous, but if so, she hides it behind a composure that belies her 25 years. With her striking blonde beauty and voluptuously slim figure, Shawne carries herself like the beauty queen she is, winner of numerous pageant crowns and the 1995 Mrs. Texas America, whose reign ends in May. She is dressed in a short black skirt that shows off her enviable gams and a pink Escada jacket embossed with hearts that complement the color of her cheeks. Diamonds of various eye-catching sizes adorn her neck, wrists, and fingers,
As she leads me into the white-upholstered and marble-floored living area, I ask her to show me a picture of Charlie. Charles Williams is one of the Summons Cable fortune heirs. His mother, an only child, inherited a sum estimated at around $2 billion.
Which leads to the first question. No, she certainly did not set out to “marry rich.” Things have worked out splendidly so far, but not because Shawne Fielding was some kind of gold digger. “When I was growing up, I always knew that I would be successful at anything I put my mind to do, ” she says. “Success has always come fairly easily because I really stick to a game plan. I’m very goal-oriented.”
Shawne graduated from high school in 1987, Her mother still works in Lubbock as a high school guidance counselor, but for Shawne the words of the old song say it all: “Happiness was Lubbock. Texas, in my rear-view mirror.” She came to Dallas with the intention of making a splash as a model and was quickly signed by the Kim Dawson agency. After a summer at Texas Tech she attended North Lake College and hoped eventually to get a degree at SMU.
“It was really hard. Really a struggle,” she recalls. “Modeling, I did not make over $30,000 a year. You always want a better lifestyle than the one you have presently. Who doesn’t? It’s kind of funny. I always knew that I would wind up where I am, if not better, either on my own, or through people I came in contact with…business contacts or what not.”
Then, in 1992, she met the newly separated, very good-looking, and extremely well-funded Charlie Williams.
“How did I meet him?” She laughs. “This is such a cute story. Brent I Williams’ son, who is now 12} was taking taekwon do at Larry North’s in Highland Park Village. I was taking tae kwon do after Brent and so the instructor introduced us.” He did not introduce her to Brent’s lather, though.
“I would work out in the mornings (here around 9 o’clock and I couldn’t figure out why this guy kept talking to me,” says Shawne. “I mean, I never wore any make-up to the gym, I looked like a drowned rat. And it was so cute because he would try to be lifting the weights. trying to be all muscle man. He would get on the stairmaster next to me. And I have to tell you he hasn’t been on one since.”
At the time, Shawne was dating an attorney, and she told him she had met this guy named Charlie. “My boyfriend said ’Shawne, if he asked you to lunch, you wouldn’t go with him or anything, would you?’ I said of course not, we’re just kind of gym friends.”
The next day Charlie asked her to lunch. She said yes. It was Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7. They dined ai Patrizio’s in their sweats and, in her words, looked “grubby and gross,” She says she had no clue about Charlie’s net worth; in fact, her attorney-friend had warned her about Charlie, saying that he could not be very successful if he had the whole morning to work out and hang around the gym.
There was something about her workout pal that she liked, but she had a busy December planned with modeling assignments that would take her to New York and San Francisco. She and Charlie talked on the phone a lot and made plans to get together after the New Year’s holiday. She admits she did leave him intriguing phone messages from time to time. Once she called him from San Francisco and left a voice mail saying, “Hi, I’m having a great tune here. The people I’m working with are really nice. I’m going to play now.” Just to tease him, she adds with a grin, she didn’t leave a call-back number. To this day, she says, it makes Charlie mad to think about that call.
Their first real date came that January-a Wednesday, she recalls- at The Old Warsaw, one of Dallas’ most romantic restaurants. Shawne blushes a bit when she recalls her first inkling that Charlie might have a substantial bank account, “lie comes and picks me up in this beautiful convertible 600 [Mercedes]. I was just, like, I’m so used to so many people leasing and mortgaged to their eyeballs, that I said is this your car? Are you serious?’”
The courtship was a whirlwind. “It was so romantic at the Old Warsaw. Then we had breakfast the next day, Thursday. Friday we had another date, and he asked me to move all my stuff in.” Things were moving awfully fast, and Shawne wondered whether Charlie was “on the rebound “-he’d only been separated from his wife for three months and was living in the Penthouse at LaTour. “In the back of my mind, I thought, ’he’s gonna snap out of it because lie hasn’t dated anybody else and I’m the first person out of the chute.’ I really didn’t think it would last. I thought it was too good to be true, just too good to be true.”
But it did last. The first date was followed by a long and drawn-out engagement due to Charlie’s protracted divorce. But he did make the engagement interesting. “He proposed to me altogether about 20 times. “
Why didn’t she say yes? “I did say yes, but he kept doing something else special and asked me again.” The pivotal moment? “The one 1 remember most was at the Crescent Club. He made a big production out of it.” Because his divorce was far from final he gave her what she terms “a little Tiffany friendship ring.” He slipped it in her glass at dinner and she wore it until it was replaced by die real thing about two years later, His divorce battle was over in March and they married in May 1994.
The honevmoon is also a storybook tale. And according to Shawne, Charlie set the stage for it. the night of the first date. They were driving from the Old Warsaw to the Mansion to have a drink when he pulled the car over to the side of the road and told her he wanted to take her to Hawaii. She said that would be fine with her. Little did she dream then that the visit to Hawaii would be carried out on their honeymoon. It remains one of [heir favorite places on the planet.
Shawne says her life has changed since she snapped up one of the state’s most eligible bachelors, but she insists that the change has Little to do with checkbooks and credit cards. The biggest transformation comes in being a stepmother to Charlie’s three children-two boys, 14 and 12, and an 8-year-old girl. There is. however, one materia! item that gives her profound pleasure. She got to trade in her Chevy for a Jaguar. Next on the wish list is a Hummer.
Looking back, Shawne says that she might have enjoyed her possessions more when she had to work to get them. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t like her current debt-free situation, but financial freedom does not mean she’s loose with money. “I’m still so cheap, I won’t buy $10 pantyhose,” she says. “I buy the $1.99 kind.”
How do they keep the romance in their year-and-a-half-old marriage? “He did the most precious thing. It really shocked me. There’s a boat we like to go out on from Maui. And he said we’re gonna have a picnic lunch on the boat, so wear something casual. So I get on the boat, and there’s a preacher on the boat. So he has us remarry on a sunset cruise.”
Despite all the trappings of easy affluence, Shawne still thinks of making her mark on the world. With Charlie’s help, she finished her bachelor’s degree in advertising from SMU, and wants to go back for a master’s. And remember, Mrs. Williams is Mrs. Texas America. Shawne reiterates that her husband is a wholehearted supporter of her pageant life. “He loves it! Oh, my God! He helps me pick out evening gowns and which interview suit to wear. He completely enjoys it. “With Charlie rooting her on, Shawne was second runner-up in the 1995 Mrs. America pageant.
Shawne also chaired the Trinity Ministry to the Poor Chickenhawk fund-raiser in December and has her AIDS Arms party coming up in May. While she has planned her entry onto the charity circuit carefully-and with the guidance of people like public relations guru Bill Armstrong-she retains strong friendships with the folks who knew her back when. A best friend from junior high still does her nails, and she enjoys girls’ nights out with friends from her pre-matrimonial days. She also enjoys visiting Susan Tomac, her “pageant mom” and chap-erone who lives in Wylie. There, she says, she likes to sit on the front porch and pet the dog.
The Sisters Scholz
IN THE LATE 1970S, THREE SISTERS TOOK DALLAS BY STORM WHEN they moved here-again, from Lubbock. (Is there something in the water there? I Known collectively as the Scholz sisters, they all have been Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (Their story is told in the book Deep in the Heart of Texas. ) Daughters of an orthopedic surgeon, they married doctors (good-looking ones, too), and all are active movers and shakers on the social scene.
When I catch up with the trio at the Strait Lane home of the middle sister, Stephanie, the girls are giggling in the marbled, two-story foyer, daintily helping themselves to a fruit, cheese, and finger sandwich tray that Stephanie had placed on the dining room buffet. The sisters are teasing Stephanie, 36, about spending the morning in the kitchen to whip something up. She’s the homebody of the three, with four children and twins on the way. Her husband is super-hot Dallas plastic surgeon Hunt Neurohr.
The eldest sister, Suzette, 37, leads the teasing. She is the vivacious one-extroverted, flashy, sexy. This mother of two boys was the 1995 chairman of the Dallas Kidney Foundation Mother-Daughter Luncheon. She’s also active in numerous charities including the Walt Garrison Rodeo for Multiple Sclerosis held each spring at the Mesquite Arena. Her husband. Dr. Howard (Butch) Derrick is a general surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center. And then there is the baby of the brood, Sheri-Mrs. William (Bill) Carpenter. Her time is limited this day because she is helping her plastic surgeon husband with his new practice. At 29, Sheri is already the mother of two with another due about the same time as Stephanie’s twins.
Sheri is dolled up in a short black skirt with a touch of animal print, while Suzette’s famous figure is encased in rich walnut brown pants and a form-fitting jacket. Stephanie is decked out in orange, and when I compliment her she laughs and pulls up her jacket to show me her pregnant belly protruding from pants that can’t be zipped all the way up. Although their good looks and energy can be intimidating, all three have an I-can-poke-fun-at-myself attitude that sets them apart from many beautiful, wealthy women.
Suzette always knew she wanted a medical career, so it surprised no one when, after attending Texas Tech, she moved to Dallas to go to Baylor Nursing School. Dr. Robert Sparkman was head of surgery at Baylor and he took the outgoing nursing student under his wing. In fact, because Suzette was a member of the Dallas Cowboys cheer-leadering squad from 1978 to 1982, Dr. Sparkman had her meet and greet some of the hottest recruiting prospects among the young doctors applying at Baylor. A nurse who happened to be a cheerleader: What better public relations gimmick could a hospital want? And Suzette s role as ambassador of goodwill led to her marriage to Dr. Butch Derrick.
Suzette describes it this way. “One day Dr. Sparkman said, ’Suzette, I have this guy who is coming on Valentine’s Day for this big event and I want you to be seated by our international guest of honor. Now, you will have to have a date. And he needs to be from our program, I will set you up.’ So I said okay.”
Not surprisingly, Suzette was dating at the time-but no one seriously. Still, she was startled when Dr. Sparkman dragged her blind date in on the day before the banquet, ” So he introduces me at shift change,” Suzette recalls, “which anybody who works in a hospital knows is the busiest time of the day. There I was in my little uniform and he brings Butch up and says ’I want you to meet your date for tomorrow night, Suzette.’ “
Suzette was so embarrassed that she could hardly look at Butch. She did get an impression, though, one that lingers to this day. She remembers a good-looking man with big shoulders and electric blue eyes.
When did she know it was true love? “I went to Korea as a cheerleader on a Christmas USO tour and caught a terrible virus over there. It was one of those things like Montezuma’s revenge that you get in Mexico, only because I caught it in Korea, no one knew how to treat it. So, I was very, very sick for two or three months. Deathly ill. And Butch babied me back to health and kept trying every medicine until he found one that finally worked on me. And I fell for him, hook, line, and sinker. That’s what a girl is looking for…that loving, that nurturing. Someone who will be her friend and take care of her. “
Illness also played the matchmaker for youngest sister Sheri, a Cowboys cheerleader in 1985, and Bill Carpenter. But as Sheri puts it, “He found me. I didn’t find him.” Bill went to school at Texas Tech with her sisters and was doing his residency at Baylor under Butch Derrick. One day the two men were talking and they found they had not only the hospital in common, but the sisters as well. Bill asked if there were any more at home like Stephanie and Suzette, Butch said there was one more-but he wouldn’t volunteer more than that. “Butch had tried to fix me up with doctors before, ” Sheri says. “They were miserable dates. I finally laid down the law. No more doctors. No more dates.”
So Butch wouldn’t give Bill Sheri’s name or phone number and it took Bill a month to sleuth it out. “When he calls me, I’m doubled over in pain, vomiting, I was so sick,” says Sheri. “He was real sweet to me on the phone. We talked for two hours. Finally he was diagnosing me and said I had to come in to the hospital, that I had appendicitis. I asked who was on call. All I could think about was going in to the emergency room and who would see me. My hair was all matted to my forehead. He goes, ’I’m on call.’ I said, ’I’m not meeting you looking like I look, so don’t you even think about showing up in the emergency room.’ He said, ’Okay, I won’t, but I would like to take you out. Get to feeling better.’”
Bill kept his promise. And Sheri kept hers. She went out with him after her illness (an ovarian cyst, not appendicitis) was taken care of. They went to Andrew’s for lunch on a Saturday.
“He shows up in a pink, button-down collar shirt, khaki pants, a great tan,” says Sheri. “He was a runner and had a body to die for. He smiled this smile-he has two dimples and really white teeth. I mean, my heart sank. I thought ’this is it. This is the guy.’ I knew it immediately.”
Sheri says the lunch lasted “all day.” She smiles. “It was very proper, though. He took me home. He didn’t even kiss me on the first date. ” They dated for three months. By Christmas, Sheri was sure Bill would make it official, so she was shocked and disappointed when he gave her a little box that contained…earrings. She started to cry. “He says, ’What’s wrong? Don’t you like the earrings? ’ and I say, ’They are beautiful…but I thought you were going to ask me to marry you.’”
Bill wasn’t ready for that commitment. But there was another big holiday ahead-New Year’s. The Scholz family was heading for Las Vegas and Bill was invited. Mom (Nancy) and her sisters took the opportunity to pull Bill aside and gang up on him. “When are you going to ask Sheri to marry you? ” they asked. Bill knew he was going to pop the question on New Year’s Eve but he played it cool and told his future in-laws he just didn’t know when it would be, He said, Til ask her when I’m ready.” So on that New Years’ night, as 1986 rolled in, he walked Sheri outside into a beautiful garden and asked her the long-awaited question.
Stephanie has been sitting quietly through her sisters’ stories. Of the three, she is the soft-spoken, introverted one. A self-styled bookworm, the beauty finished her senior year of high school over a summer so she could join her big sister at Texas Tech. Later, she followed Suzette to Dallas and also entered Baylor Nursing School. After six months she decided that the career was not for her. In the meantime, in 1979 she was carrying on the new Scholz tradition of being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
It was June when Suzette demanded that Stephanie get out of the house and coerced her into attending a medical student pool party. What Stephanie didn’t know, but Suzette did, was that they would be the only women-and they were crashing the party.
Stephanie laughs to this day about that party. “I walked in in my bikini and high heels. Hunt says that he thought Miss America had walked in. He pushed his way through the crowd of guys and said, ’Hi, I’m Hunt, What’s your name?’ My heart went pitter-patter and I thought, that’s the one. What I found out later was that Hunt was the one guy Suzette had already picked out for me.”
Stephanie’s path to romantic resolution wasn’t as smooth as her sisters’. She and Hunt dated continuously tor six months but she was young, just 19, and began playing games with the relationship. Finally, Hunt stopped calling. At first Stephanie didn’t care, but when New Year’s Eve came and went with no call, she began to fear that she had blown it. Just like with her siblings, it was illness of a sort that brought Hunt back into her life.
“I was always having car wrecks,” Stephanie says. “Couldn’t parallel park. Still can’t. Anyway, I had my wrecks in parking lots. And after I had another one. I had my roommate Anita call Hunt to tell him I was hurt. He called back but wasn’t buying my story. He said something like ’I’m busy with med school, busy with baseball, and you are third on my list. So if you want to be in my life, quit playing games and grow up.’”
She recalls that she “ate dirt for the next four to six months” trying to get back in Hunt’s good graces. And then he dumped her, blaming the stress of medical school. Stephanie says she was heartbroken and went the whole month of June without hearing from him. She didn’t think he would ever call her again. But he did on July 5th. “He came over at 12:30 a.m., and we were together from then on.”
All three sisters stress that money was never the big issue with them. But heading in the right direction was important. Seeing their husbands through their respective residencies meant frugal times. Now that those years are behind them, and the funds and prestige are there, they work on keeping romance alive. How?
Stephanie says she and Hunt sometimes wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning just to share quiet time and talk. They also get away from the growing household with occasional trips like a recent one to Canada. Sheri believes in spontaneity, although she and Bill do have a standing Saturday night date. One year she “kidnapped” him and swept him away to a mini-vacation in a cabin in the woods near Vail, Colo. As for Suzette, her sisters say she has an extensive and devastatingly sexy lingerie collection. She also plans surprises for her husband, On their 15th wedding anniversary last June she hired a limo for 10 people. But Butch was doubly surprised to find it was just for the two of them. Suzette had stocked it with his favorite drinks and CDs. They drove to Lake Tcxoma for a romantic dinner on the lake at sunset. And as Suzette puts it, they drove back to Dallas “with the partition all the way up.”
We Interrupt This Fairy Tale for
a Brief Word of Warning
REMEMBER THE MOVIE INDECENT PROPOSAL? AGING PLAYBOY Robert Redford wants a night of amour with Demi Moore, lust one night, Woody, for a million bucks. For a week or so, millions of Americans were transfixed by the question: Would you. or wouldn’t you? Of course, the movie has True Love triumph over filthy lucre in the end, so that legions of women married to pot-bellied shlubs could feel good about their choices. Similarly, our Dallas Cinderella stories require a cautionary tale: For every Linda Ivey who finds her Steve, for every Diana who gets her Rick Strauss, for every Fran Chiles who marries her Eddie, there are those stories with less than happy endings. Witness the event considered to be the last gasp of the flamboyant, excessive ’80s.
In 1988, lovely, leggy Lori Shaw and her hunky husband Tom were running the high-end Jean-Claude Gitrois leather shop in the Crescent. When they divorced, Lori was shattered. But before you could say ” duck on a June bug” she had met her next “ex.” Jim Poage was a handsome high roller and together he and Lori made a flashy couple. Her blonde good looks and his dark ones were right off the cover of a paperback romance. Devotees of die Mansion still recall the day in the early ’90s when Jim had Lori’s engagement gift delivered while they were sharing a romantic lunch. There in the circular driveway in front of the restaurant, she found a red Ferrari tied up with a big bow. Add to that an engagement solitaire whose price matched the budget of a small country, and how could Lori say no? The pair planned a wedding the likes of which attracted Robin Leach and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. “
The wedding weekend was planned for St. Tropez. Magnificent invitations were hand-delivered to a select group of friends. Although rumor had it that Lori and Jim were picking up the tab for the entire high-flown affair, only the hotel was gratis-the wedding guests had to pay their own airfare. A huge Texas barbecue kicked oft the festivities, followed by a masked 18th-century-styled ball the evening before the nuptials, costumes provided.
Alas, the two were not destined for happily-ever-aftering. You see, he thought she had funds. She thought he did. The fact was that neither had income to support a lifestyle of the rich and famous, and soon they were basically broke. The marriage went belly-up too.
And They Lived Happily Ever After…
SOME GREAT LOVE MATCHES HAVE BEEN MADE IN THIS CITY. AND while the women may bave initially been labeled “trophy wives” or “showpieces” and their husbands “great catches,” in many instances the ladies have created their own empires and pathways to recognition. Nancy and Norman Brinker. Jinger and Richard Heath. Brycie and Shannon Wynne. These women’s health, beauty, and dynamic careers combined with their good looks and creative energies have given them even happier endings to their individual storybook lives. And so, two more tales. Both true-one old, one new.
Jacque Ryan of Corpus Christi was a student at SMU in 1967 when she first met Liberty Oil scion Toddie Lee Wynne. As she recalls, his season SMU football tickets were right in front of those seats held by her parents. Neither one thought much of that first meeting until later. They would not sec one another again for a few years. Wynne’s wife had died and Mas Thomas, a best friend of Jacques dad, “fixed up” Toddie Lee and Jacque. Jacque was in her early 20s then and Toddie Lee was 23 years older. Both found the age difference a major turnoff, according to Jacque.
“He told Max, ’I’m not going out with her,’ ” Jacque says, ” ’What will 1 talk to her about? Her sorority?’ And I told Max pretty much the same thing. ’What am I going to talk to him about? He’s old ! ’ ” We finally agreed logo out if Max would not press the issue any further.” Jacque laughs in her trademark rich, husky tone, a lot like Demi Moore’s. “I guess the moral of that story is never go out on a date with a man unless you are prepared to fall in love and marry him.”
Money was not new to Jacque, who was an international debutante and had traveled extensively. Yet, here was a man who had raised his family, made his money, and was prepared to spend a significant fortune on her. For the 15 years of their marriage, she says she did things he liked-hunting and fishing. After bis death, she continues to pursue those passions along with skiing and now, golf. She says Toddie’s children and some of his friends did not approve of their marriage, but in typical Jacque Wynne fashion, she tosses her Pocahontas-length hair and declares she has never minded being “a bit of a renegade.”
In many ways, the same could be said of Mrs. Bill Barrett. Angela, Angie, is a petite blonde with a striking figure who is at least 30 years her husband’s junior. As the story goes, after legal troubles in the late ’80s, Angie was working for a charity organization, driving a van to pick up children needing medical attention. One day, when the group’s van broke down, Angie was told to go borrow one from Bill Barrett’s “Love For Kids” Foundation. So, she went to the Willow Distributors’ honcho’s place to pick up the van-and as she was getting in, Barrett suddenly appeared at the door and told her to slide over so he could drive. He spent the afternoon helping her pick up and drop off children.
The head-spinning courtship culminated in an Atlanta wedding. Known for their generous donations to various organizations ranging from Crystal Charity to the Genesis Women’s Shelter, the pair recently purchased and refurbished a spacious, two-story home on Beverly Drive, where Angie’s bach and closets are stocked with her collection of antique perfume bottles and wardrobes of suits and designer gowns with shoes to match. It is a grown-up girl’s dream of playing dress-up.
Angela Barrett is one of the new breed of young women who has had to overcome the initial reservations of the status quo to carve out her own niche, With her husband’s help, she is doing exactly that with determination and no small sense of style. Observers of the social scene- including several who are paid for the privilege-allege the monied matrons of Dallas were less than pleased with the arrival of the young and beautiful Mrs. Barrett. Her husband’s generous bestowal of bucks to various causes has paved the way to acceptance, while her genuine enthusiasm and eagerness have helped her over many barriers, including prejudice about her past.
It is important to point out that while the majority of Dallas’ rich romance sagas involve Cinderellas, there are Cinderfellas too. The late social angel Doris Dixon, widowed after 24 years of marriage to the “love of her life,” E-Systems CEO John Dixon, stunned many in the early 1990s when she married a man most friends privately marked as a European playboy. The ill-fated marriage was crumbling even as Doris discovered she had cancer and died. That man has now been seen pursuing the eligible heiresses of New York.
In a further variation on the Cinderfella theme, a number of high-profile Dallas daughters have married men who were elevated in the act of marriage. Judy Post (Troy Post’s daughter) married Garry Weber, a football jock who became a financial whiz and Dallas County judge. Chan Cox (Ed Cox’s daughter) married man-about-town Monty Montgomery, who also wed Nancy Hamon’s widowed daughter-in-law. They are now divorced, And back in the 1980s, real estate entrepreneur John Drake often told friends he wanted to meet and marry a wealthy-woman. That’s how he was introduced to Jane Benedum of Pennsylvania coal family fame. They now live on her fortune in Santa Fe.
Since the days of the King family of South Texas, the Goodnights of the Panhandle, the Hoggs of Houston, and the Hunts of Dallas, Texas’ aristocracy has sought to rejuvenate tired bloodlines by mixing with the beautiful, the ambitious, the hungry. That remains true to this day. That’s why big girls’ fantasies can still come true, if eyes and hearts are kept open…and sometimes, lists are made.
And for anyone who is not so sure of that, remember the words of another literary and cinematic heroine who refused to give up, who would always say, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”
ONCE UPON A TIME…”