Irene Salce de Urbina, 1986

Texas History

Texas History

Born in Mexico in 1908, Irene Salce de Urbina moved to Texas in the 1940s with her husband and seven children. She became a US citizen in 1963. Her husband, a minister in the Mexican Baptist Church, died in 1967. The occasion for this photo was the donation of documents from the Urbina family to the Houston Public Library in an effort to document the contribution of Mexican Americans to the history of Texas.

The petite Urbina is dressed up for the event, complete with a big corsage. That makes her white sports shoes stand out all the more against her outfit. Unstylish, you say? Perhaps she was following the lead of actress Cybill Shepard, who wore orange Reeboks to the 1985 Emmy Awards. Or perhaps she thought that in order to stand for any length of time, she first needed to think of her feet.

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2 Responses to Irene Salce de Urbina, 1986

  1. Thanks for the photo of this marvelous American. San Francisco columnist Herb Caen used the phrase “Little old ladies in tennis shoes” to describe senior citizens who were political activists, marching and campaigning for everything from civil rights for all, to neighborhood parks, libraries, animal welfare, and public artworks. Caen’s “LOLs in tennis shoes” were old enough to have acquired wisdom and experience (and bunions and arthritis,) but not deterred from full citizenship by the infirmities of age. It’s a term of honor for me, meaning “Indomitable.”

    • Lynn says:

      And thanks for reminded me of the source of “little old ladies in tennis shoes.” Since I lived in the Bay Area for a long time, of course I remember Herb Caen.

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