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Austin Family & Descendants

Francis Brown Austin descendants

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Miss Annie Austin -- An Appreciation

First person by S. H. (Sarah) Spalsbury on Annie Austin from Santa Cruz Surf, 1/15/1916 P. 3 Col 13

Miss Annie Austin

An Appreciation

There was never before such an epoch of research into the source of human activities. Character is unveiled in science and story. We turn eagerly to the books that interpret it, but there are lessons of vital importance to be learned thru our own observations of those with whom we have lived if we take notice.

It has been wisely said that “no man is our friend nor our enemy, but all men are our teachers.” In the life of Santa Cruz, Miss Annie Austin was a notable person. As a friend, as a student, as a teacher, as a citizen, she was pre-eminently an exemplar. She began her career under limitations that paralyze weaker souls, but a spirit like hers never recognized obstacles. Her ambition to be, to do, and to serve, blinded her to limitations. She saw the door to the support of herself and others thru the teaching profession. She entered it, illy prepared as most of us would say. Her world, that she had never seen, nor could see, was a history text book. She had an intuitive sense of knowledge: she knew more than she knew. She read between the lines what other people go to higher schools of learning to find it. So true was this that her pupils universally testified the more they advanced that “miss Austin was the best teacher they ever had.” Her concepts were academic in their breadth and she herself was hardly conscious of it. All this can be said in compliment of her intellect, but this was not her greatest gift.

I hope those who knew her best saw deeper than her intellect: a human soul of wonderful sincerity; intent on righting wrong in every form. She had the same intuitive sense to detect it that she had to knowledge. She was in spirit a reformer and most conscientiously believed that to drift with the tide was a sin and that wrongs were righted only by exposing them, and while she knew the consequences, she never shirked what she considered her duty, but let it be said to the greatness of her soul that it was evil and not the evil doer she despised. I believe no one can contradict this. She loved the world for itself in spite of its frailties. The boys and girls in the stress period of her life are the men and women in middle life today. They are her witnesses and they have testified ina beautiful way their appreciation of her during the pathetic decline of her last days.

Her later career in Salinas was in part a retirement. Her pupils were younger and she grew more and more to believe that strength of character should be developed at an earlier age than we are wont to think. She loved her work and the people-appreciation is a quality that reflects. It comforted her and added dignity to them.

Physical decline limited her larger activities, brave tho she was, and at last she faced death as she had faced life, with a calm trust that death is but the beginning of real life.

For us the book is closed. Shwall we write “the end” on the last page? No Such souls never die. The are perpetuated thru those who follow them.

Let us be glad we have known her. She has taught us marvelous lessons.

S. H. Spalsbury

San Francisco, Jan 11, 1916

Owner of originalSanta Cruz Daily Surf
PlaceSanta Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Linked toAUSTIN, Annie Franklin (Burial)
AlbumsAustin Family & Descendants

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