Prudence Mackintosh is one of a circle of writers closely associated with Texas Monthly. A contributing editor from the magazine’s inception, in 1973, Prudence’s work has continued to appear in its pages for four decades. She gained a loyal following through the years with her observations on social rites of passage for Texas women and her essays on the rearing of three boys. In 1976 she received a Penney-Missouri Award for excellence in lifestyle journalism. Her work has appeared in several national magazines and is frequently anthologized in college writing texts. She is the author of four books: Thundering Sneakers, Retreads, Sneaking Out, and Just As We Were. She co-authored Great American Suburbs: The Homes of the Park Cities. Born in Texarkana, Prudence grew up in the newspaper office of the Texarkana Gazette & Daily News, where her father was the editor and her mother, a reporter, proofreader, and women’s editor. Her older brother became a television journalist. She attended Texarkana public schools and graduated from the University of Texas in 1966. Prudence continues to live in Dallas with her attorney husband. Their three grown sons now live in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin. Each spring semester she and her husband decamp to Austin, where she teaches a nonfiction writing class for Liberal Arts Honors students at UT. She continues to write for Texas Monthly sporadically as a writer-at-large.
Nearly seventy years later, the infamous Phantom Killer attacks may finally be solved. But Texarkana remains as puzzling as ever.
He was a world-renowned piano prodigy whose romanticism and technical virtuosity inspired thousands and famously helped thaw the Cold War. But as a visit to his hometown of Kilgore made clear to me, Van Cliburn was also a Texan, a Southerner, a Baptist, a patriot, and a man who loved black-eyed peas as much as I do.
My mother-in-law knew how to sew, keep an immaculate house, and dress stylishly. In short, she was nothing like the unpolished young woman who married her son. Perhaps that’s why we loved each other so much.
Why would anybody take a charming place like Highland Park, tear down the nice old homes, build new fortresses, gradually drain the neighborly spirit, and call that progress? Don’t ask me. I don’t get it either.
After thirty years, I still love Highland Park.
Why has it taken so long for my sons to get married? Is it the wet towels mildewing on their apartment floors? The pocket change accumulating on every flat surface? Or is it that I’ve given them a skewed idea of what women expect?
My father was a hard-hitting newspaperman, but he was also an old softy. That helps explain why until his death two years ago this month, he and I were members of a mutual admiration society.
“She taught us, she fed us, she entertained us, and best of all, she wrote down the how-to of Corbitt hospitality in five cookbooks, giving us confidence that the civilizing pleasures of the table were within our reach.”