Lynn Wyatt

My friends in Houston believed that because my family owned Sakowitz, I could have whatever I wanted. That couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’M A TEXAN THROUGH AND THROUGH. I grew up in Houston in a place that is now no longer, on North MacGregor Drive. The house itself was a beautiful white Colonial that sat way back off the street, so it had a lovely approach to it. It was on several acres of land, with a lovely gully that my brother, Robert, and I used to tumble, bicycle, and race up and down in. We loved this gully. The yard had a big barbecue pit in the back that my parents built far away from the house inside a covered, screened-in porch. We called it our party house; we had lots of friends, and we couldn’t wait until our parents would go out of town so we could go and steal some watermelons and come back and eat them cold.

When I was nine years old, my parents sent me all the way to Maine for summer camp. I’ll never forget when people would ask me where I was from, and I would say, “Texas,” very casually, like someone would say “Kansas” or “California.” But their eyes would get just as big as saucers, and they would say, “Oh, wow, you come from Texas?” And I’d say, “Well, yes.” I had no clue about the amount of magic Texas held. I realized then that Texas had a persona all its own, and I was so proud to be a little smidgen part of it. I was always athletic, loving the sports the camp provided, which included riflery, archery, swimming, and tennis. As a young girl, I think that helped bond me to the Texas outdoor spirit. I went to that camp for five years, until finally one summer the head of camp called my mother and father and said, “I think that Lynn shouldn’t come back to camp now because she is getting too interested in boys.”

Even when I was a little girl, I chose my own clothes. My mother would help get me ready for school, but I would braid my own hair. I loved clothes. I might have become interested in fashion by osmosis because of my family’s being in the retail business and owning specialty stores called Sakowitz. My school chums had the idea that since my family had these stores, I could just walk in and buy anything I wanted or, worse, that I could get it for free. So I was always very cognizant of their opinion, since that wasn’t the truth at all. In fact, my mother was very strict with me. We would go into the store, and she would say, “Now pick out what you like,” and she and I would choose all these great-looking skirts, sweaters, and those little dickeys that you would stick inside your sweater. The dressing room would be filled with clothes, and then she would say, “Okay, now you can only choose five things.” To this day I think long and hard about what I am about to purchase. Am I going to wear this more than twice? Is this jacket going to be able to go with another skirt or pair of pants? I truly ponder about what I am going to buy. I don’t care if it is from the Gap or if it’s French haute couture.

I went to San Jacinto High School, which is now a memory of what it was, and had a great time. I was a cheerleader there, and then I was elected head cheerleader. My husband says that I haven’t stopped yelling since. We had a driver that would take me to school, and I would ask him to let me off a block away. I didn’t want to be different from anyone else. It was this wonderful driver who actually taught me how to drive. Unbeknownst to my family, we would go into a large parking lot at the University of Houston, and I’d move into the driver’s seat. I so looked forward to that. I just couldn’t wait until after school. I felt so grown-up driving around for 45 minutes in that parking lot. One of my happiest memories was when my parents presented me with a beautiful cream-colored Ford convertible for my sixteenth birthday. A total surprise! I thought I was about the hottest hottie in Houston.

In high school I never thought about living anywhere but Houston. It’s still my home. I love the independent spirit that Texas ingrained in me as a young girl. Fortunately, it’s still there.

Lynn Wyatt, 70, an international patron of the arts, is a Hall of Fame member of  Vanity Fair  ’s International Best Dressed List and has been a hostess to the likes of Elton John, Mick Jagger, and the late Princess Grace of Monaco. She has lived in Houston all her life.

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