The annual Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant was held in Fort Worth the second week in June, to select a winner to compete in the 46th Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City the week after Labor Day. This year’s 57 contestants were college students between eighteen and twenty-three years old, each of whom had won a local pageant bearing the name of that town or area, and each of whom had polished a talent act to present for this next-to-last competition.
Through the Miss Texas Pageant, I accompanied Miss Austin, Diane (Dina) Elise Elsik, a nineteen-year-old with golden skin, good cheekbones, and nice manners. Although she had been eligible to enter the Austin pageant because of her enrollment at The University of Texas, her family lived in Seguin, where I visited with them the day before we left for Fort Worth.
Dina’s warm, outgoing mother, the former Isabel Martinez of San Antonio, reminded me at once of Ethel Merman as Rose in Gypsy. Like her, she admitted to being a “stage-struck mother.” She was proud to show me around their large ranch-style home, and to catch me up on Dina’s past. Inside the front door, much like a shrine, was a life-size oil painting of Dina as the Duchess of the DeMolays, in a pure white dress, holding an armful of red roses. In front of her image was a vase of red velvet roses flanked on either side by