I was born in El Paso and lived there for about a year before my family moved to Big Spring and later to Odessa. I remember sand and tumbleweeds. We lived in town, but all of my father’s relatives lived on farms in East Texas, where I once ripped open my leg climbing a fence I was told not to. I always had cowboy boots and some kind of elaborate cowgirl outfit in various colors. I even shot guns at an early age, and I think my mother was a bit appalled. But we became misplaced or displaced Texans when we moved to Michigan, where my father finished his doctorate. I attended grade school there with kids from all over the world, but I was the only one in my class with a Southern accent. I remember the children would tease me when we played hopscotch. It was the first time I realized I had an accent, and it was a rude awakening.
Actress Judith Ivey lived in West Texas until she was ten. She has won two Tony awards—for Steaming and Hurlyburly— and has appeared in more than thirty films, the most recent of which was Mystery, Alaska . Next month she will be reading C. W. Smith’s short story “The Bundelays” in Dallas’ Arts and Letters Live Literary Series.