If you live in Austin, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Jane Sibley. She is a cultural icon known for her philanthropic and organizational work with the Austin Symphony, Laguna Gloria and farther afield, the Rock Art Foundation and Seminole Canyon State Park, to name only a few of her endeavors. She dresses with an artist’s flair for color and design and has the well-stocked mind of a storyteller and conversationalist. For most of us, this would be as close as we could come to “knowing” Jane Sibley. But now, with the publication of Jane’s Window: My Spirited Life in West Texas and Austin, we can learn much more about her long and varied life.
Jane Sibley’s Texas roots run deep. She begins her memoir with her great great grandmother Mahala Milligan who, in 1860, helped her children remain calm during a Comanche raid by reading aloud to them from Shakespeare. The raid claimed the life of Sibley’s great great grandfather, the first elected Sheriff of Mason County. The sharp flint spear point recovered from the Sheriff’s body and the book of Shakespeare, have remained in the family to this day.
Born and raised in Fort Stockton, she was the only child of a family that believed in education and the cultural graces. Sibley arrived in Austin in 1941 to attend the University of Texas where she earned a degree in studio art and later returned in 1962 as a wife and mother of three children, ready to begin a new chapter in her life. The rest, as they say, is history.
Reading Jane’s Window is a bit like sitting with down with Sibley and hearing her tell the story of her life, complete with sly asides and unsolicited, grandmotherly advice. She recounts her family’s triumphs and tragedies, her role in the creation and reformation of several cultural and historic Texas institutions, and introduces us to her lifelong friends, family and other individuals she’s been privileged to know and to meet. She also offers up a tasty serving of stories handed down through the generations about life in West Texas.
Jane Sibley is a strong Texas woman, unafraid to speak her mind and ready to take on life’s opportunities and challenges. How has she managed to do so much in one lifetime? This may be the answer:
“I have experienced my own share of bumps along the way. They have slowed me down temporarily, but I never let them stop me. I simply kept going, working toward worthwhile goals, doing what needed doing. I have never been a person who looked back with regret. I always keep my eyes and my will focused on tomorrow. I have been given some great opportunities and have always done my best to give some back. And may I add, I have had a lot of fun in the process.”
So here’s your chance to hear Jane Sibley tell the story of her life, one of great accomplishment, in her own witty and insightful voice in Jane’s Window.
Jane’s Window” is available at our N. Lamar, Westgate and San Antonio stores. *edited 5/24