From the Staubach family to pageant-winning koi, soothing succulents, the Crespi and cryotherapy, here’s an update on some of the most intriguing neighborhood stories AND PHOTOS of the year.
The cat that survived a fire
Then: Norm the cat was adopted by Meredith Powell as a baby. Norm also lived with dog Stella, a Catahoula hound. An electric wire started a fire in the attic. Powell and Stella were snuggling in the den. Powell’s fiancé, Mark, was cooking in the kitchen. Suddenly, Mark heard a pop and saw smoke. He ran into the den and yelled, “There’s a fire! Get Stella and get out the front door.” Norm was in the master bedroom, and the door was closed.
Now: The family relocated to Houston.“Norm is doing great in Houston. He is happy in his new home, and he loves to snuggle,” Powell says. “He also loves to chase after his favorite treats.”
Super trendy succulents
Then: Courtney Goldberg’s succulent arrangements, accented with patterned sand, gemstones and natural elements, have been spotted at charity luncheons at Neiman’s, Ascension, a Kent Rathbun event, medical spas and downtown office buildings. Urban Spikes, a name inspired by the porcupine quills she sometimes uses, has a word-of-mouth following after just two years. During our photo shoot, she was pregnant with her third son.
Now: Business is booming, and Goldberg is looking to relocate the business from her house into a workshop. “We have launched two new exciting offerings for our clients. Jackson Hayes Goldberg, or ‘Jax’ as we call him, arrived on July 9, a day after my birthday. He is a frequent visitor in the workshop and the new boss. He loves watching the teamwork as he’s mesmerized by the colors and textures. His big brothers have welcomed him with loving arms.”
Roger Staubach’s daughter is as awesome as her dad
Then: Roger Staubach, a legendary quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, became a household name for the “Hail Mary.” Now executive chairman of JLL Americas, he told us about the pleasures of being a grandfather. “I enjoy going to their sporting events. You don’t want your kids to have a piece of cake and a cookie all the time. But when the grandkids come over, all they have to do is ask. You spoil them more than you do your children.”
Now: Staubach won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November. Daughter Jennifer Staubach Gates, Dallas City Council member for District 13 and an Ursuline graduate, has been busy representing neighbors, showing up for a tense community meeting at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center for a proposed dog park and facilitating a discussion with Oncor to reduce the number of trees cut along the Northeast side of the Tollway. “Dad is a man of moral courage, a man devoted to his faith, family and country,” she told the Dallas Morning News when her father won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “He is a successful businessman who always taught us to put others, especially the underserved, before ourselves. And, of course, he also enjoyed some success playing football for our local NFL team.” Later, she added, “When people talk about my dad, it wouldn’t be the same without my mom.”
Cryo-crazy: Can you freeze yourself better?
Then: The discomfort of cryotherapy is two-fold: You’re half-naked talking to a stranger, and your body is immersed in temperatures between -147 to -202 degrees. The wellness fad is bone-chilling and bizarre. Yet cryotherapy has received rave reviews from the likes of actor Daniel Craig and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and is reported to resolve a host of ailments. (Now is a good time to mention the Food and Drug Administration does not condone cryotherapy as a medical treatment.)
Now: Only wearing underwear, gloves, socks and slippers, clients stand in a contraption for three full minutes as liquid nitrogen cascades around. Shivering, goosebumps and funny facial expressions are common side effects, but there is something oddly refreshing about the experience. One thing, for certain, is that it’s an adrenaline rush. Did we mention it’s cold?
Oh, how we love the Crespi
Then: The Crespi estate, on Walnut Hill near the Tollway, has a 28,000-square-foot limestone mansion designed in 1938 by world-renowned architect Maurice Fatio. The home was commissioned by Italian Count Pio Crespi, who had been sent to Texas to oversee his family’s cotton empire. Andy Beal purchased the 25-acre property for $100 million in 2016. Developer Mehrdad Moayedi bought the $36.2-million estate in a December 2017 auction. He planned to divide the land into a new seven-home neighborhood called The Crespi Estates, according to Brad Oellermann, who oversees the project’s construction.
Now: Oellermann says the first three houses in the new division are almost finished.
How can you be coy about these award-winning koi?
Then: The 40-pound, $100,000 fish swim in the 10-foot pond behind an unassuming Preston Hollow house. The specimens have won pageants from England to Oklahoma and Houston. Dear-departed Nigel has been featured in “Koi2Kichi,” a book by Peter Weddington. He’s a rock-star among koi. Preston Hollow’s Dan Charnes is koi-kitsch. Translation: koi crazy. For 18 years, Charnes has been raising them like any good Texas beauty pageant mom. He has an eye for the beauties, buys low and nurtures natural genes, flying in expert help, watching their diets, providing plenty of filtered, heated water and overwhelming them with loving attention.
Now: Charnes reports that some fish have since grown 5 inches, “a fantastic growth rate for the girls.” Since our last conversation, summer went well. “A world-famous koi breeder sent us five new koi in September as a gift. In the spring, we are planning on helping out a breeder during mating season.”
Elissa Chudwin contributed to this report.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.