The following biography of Muriel Silberman Brahinsky was written, based on information she provided, by members of the staff of 12 Oaks (now called Serenity Apartments at Dallas), a retirement home in Dallas where Muriel lived from 1996 to 2007. It appeared in the 12 Oaks newsletter of February 2005; the version below has been edited only minimally by me (Eric).
* To read an autobiography Muriel wrote the same year, 2005, click here.
Muriel was born in Fort Worth, even though her parents lived in Dallas. Her mother's brother was a doctor in Fort Worth and highly recommended a friend of his who was an obstetrician and operated out of St. Joseph's Hospital in Fort Worth. Her mother took her brother's advice and went to his friend rather than a doctor in Dallas. Muriel was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Fort Worth November 16, 1924, to Max and Fanye Silberman. Her father was a dentist and her mother a homemaker. She had a sister five years older and a brother six years younger than she. Their home was in South Dallas, just one-half block from Forest Avenue High School. One of Muriel's most vivid memories of her childhood is that the whole family would go to her father's office to watch all the parades, as his office was located in the old Southwestern Life Building at Akard and Main Streets. She remembers seeing many celebrities, such as President F. D. Roosevelt and "Wrong Way" Corrigan.
She attended John Henry Brown Elementary School, which went from first to seventh grade. At that time you could enter school in January, so because of her November birthday, Muriel entered first grade in January. She was double-promoted and went on to Forest Avenue High School, graduating in 1941 as salutatorian of the class of 1941. High-honors graduates were awarded half-scholarships to area universities, so Muriel was guaranteed $150.00 per semester for her first year at SMU. The campus was much smaller than today's "sprawl." If one didn't live in a dormitory, one either rode the streetcar or participated in a carpool to reach the campus. January '41 to June '43 were devoted to Pre-Med studies and induction into Alpha Lambda Delta and Mortar Board honorary societies. She received admission to the freshman class at Baylor Medical School beginning in June '43. The medical school, however, decided to move to Houston at that time. Most of the faculty and upperclassmen chose to stay in Dallas and banded together to begin Southwestern Medical School. Classrooms and laboratories were set up in a newly-erected army barracks on Oak Lawn Avenue adjoining the "old" Parkland Hospital, where students served their clinical learning hours. Muriel Silberman was awarded her M.D. on June 10, 1946. Two other women in her class became physicians on that date. The male contingent in the class had been financed by the armed services and, after internships, served for a time in the Army or Navy. Muriel's internship was served at Hillcrest Memorial Hospital in Tulsa OK. This was followed by two years of OB residency at St. John's Hospital in Tulsa. Finally, private practice! She joined a surgeon and internist as OB/pediatrician in an office at 5611 E. Grand Avenue. She delivered babies and cared for sick children at the "old" St. Paul Hospital.
On New Year's Eve of 1949, Muriel attended a party given by a friend. She was introduced to Henry Brahinsky, and it was "love at first sight" for Muriel and Henry. They both came with other dates to the party. She didn't hear from him until March of 1950, when they had their first date. They announced their engagement April 23 and were married May 29, 1950, at the Stoneleigh Hotel. In May of 2000, they celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Stoneleigh. It was a surprise party given by their children, and they were thrilled to have so many of their friends and neighbors there to celebrate with them. Henry had made an impression in the music field in Dallas and Fort Worth. He was a violinist, and throughout his career he played with the best. The list is endless, but to name a few: the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Opera, and many chamber groups. He also was orchestra director in several DISD schools. He was in demand for many musical events because he played beautifully. After they moved to 12 Oaks, Henry gave two performances here and started a program called "Music Trivia," which continues once a month with Loel Camp Bomgardner.
Muriel and Henry had three boys: Martin, Gerald, and Eric. They all attended Hexter Elementary and Gaston Junior High School, and two graduated from Bryan Adams; but Eric, who was gifted, chose to go to Skyline High School and graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1974. Each son chose a different university. Martin graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Music degree. Gerald received a Bachelor and Master of Music from the University of Houston. Eric had a scholarship at MIT. After two years he decided to transfer to the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor and Master of Music. Later he went to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. All of them have continuing careers in music. In Muriel's words, "They are my life." (Martin passed away in 2011 Ed.)
Henry and Muriel, who were both in education, realized the need for special classes in the public schools for the gifted and talented students. They worked with others to make it happen and lived to see the results of their efforts, as there is now a wonderful program in place for them in Talented and Gifted middle schools and the TAG division at Townview High School.
Muriel went to work when her youngest started school. For ten years Muriel taught at Angels Inc., a school for mentally challenged children. She moved on to teach at Skyline High School and later at the High School for Health Professions (HSHP). Meanwhile, Henry's health had been deteriorating. He had a stroke (his second) in the early '90s. They moved to 12 Oaks in 1996, and Henry passed away in 2001.
They managed to find time to travel extensively. Their trips included England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, St. Petersburg (Russia), Austria, Hawaii, and cruises up the Inside Passage of Alaska and to the Greek islands and the Caribbean islands.
Muriel currently teaches classes in medical terminology at Eastfield College (she retired in December 2005 Ed.), as well as volunteering to head up two popular weekly programs here at 12 Oaks: namely, "Reminisce" and "Wordplay."
Editor's update: In March 2007, Muriel moved to San Antonio to live with her son Eric and his wife, April.
Editor's update: On November 1, 2013, Muriel passed away in San Antonio at age 88.
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