We celebrated the Hub matriarch’s 90th birthday at the “store” Saturday with a proclamation from her successor as Marshall mayor. The walls may carry books, not shoe boxes, these days, but we remember our heritage.
Long before the Kariels sold me the building, Audrey and I served on the Marshall city council (then called the city “commission”) from 1996-2001.
My association with her family (and the Hub, which now serves as my offices after 112 years and three generations in her family as a shoe store) goes back to 1981, when her late husband Louis had me come by the store to get my bus ticket and spending money from the American Legion for my attendance at Boys’ State in Austin during high school.
Texas’ Boys State was actually the subject of the Emmy award-winning documentary Boys State in 2020 – you might want to check it out. This “raucous journey into the heart of democracy” as Apple TV put it, captures 1,100 teenage boys from across Texas coming together to build a representative government from the ground up. It was an interesting week, as I recall.
For most of the previous half-century our families had been neighbors on the 100 block of East Austin, with my grandfather having a greeting card store two doors down from the Kariels at the Hub, and we enjoyed continuing the association through the city commission and various historical groups over the years.
We have hosted the Kariel family at the Hub numerous times in the past 12 years, including for the dedication of the building’s Texas historical marker recognizing not just the building but the contributions of the Kariel family to the history of Marshall, a Shabbat service before a patent trial (the family used to conduct services in the store after the Marshall synagogue closed, so it wasn’t the first) and even a mezuzeh dedication out front (for a former altar boy, my Hebrew’s not bad as you’d expect).
So it was a pleasure and a privilege to host the Kariel family in our offices again. And to paraphrase Yoda, “when 90 years old you are, look this good you will not.”