Our first cousins greeted us for the first time. There is a saying: "...everything's bigger in Texas." I witnessed it first-hand in 1966. My aunt and uncle were larger than life. Uncle was tall and lean and taller still when he wore his Stetson. Aunt was big...in the love department. She enveloped me with her arms and her heart. She would give me sage advice over the years such as never scrub your face with a washcloth. My first hot rollers were a gift from Aunt. Grandmother was a Texas Grande Dame and another Aunt was a long, tall drink of water. They corralled us in, made us feel right at home. And I didn't feel too right in my skin after a divorce
We moved to The Panhandle one year later. The big family welcomed us in a big way. We moved the dog and snake into a little home not too far from The Cousins and our New Life began. It consisted of Mom working and my brothers and I entering new schools. 8th grade. I was already an oddity: a Yankee with a divorced Mom. Thankfully I had fun, well-liked cousins - they paved the way for an instant "in" factor.
I lived in this small town for only five years; yet this is where I was formed. The Aunt and Uncle were the glue. Girlfriends and their parents were my comfort. My Mom was an enigma - the polar opposite of me. She was petite, athletic, worldly, elegant, aloof. I was 13. Not a good mix.
I am very thankful I "grew up" in Texas vs. the east coast. We left behind a very fast life. I learned how to lean on folks: my girlfriends then are girlfriends now. I saw good marriages. I went to church. I met My Guy.