I spent 13 years living in Victoria, Texas, after spending ages 5-21 living in a small town just 25 miles away. Previous to my life in that area, I lived in Kennedale, Burnet (at a boys’ home), and La Porte (another boys’ home) – all in Texas. For brief smidgens of time in early adult-hood, I lived in Plano, Dallas, Vanderbilt, and Bay City.
I ran in various circles in Victoria – from teachers to piano students to church small groups to CAbi parties to volleyball moms to band gigs. Through all of that, I probably had something to do with almost everyone in town at some point. During my later years there, I came to the hard realization that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with the lifestyle of my peers, and I found myself resenting where my circles had led (too much wine and spending too much money) and regretting the expectations my daughter had established growing up around friends with money and entitlement. She was about to fall off the edge in various ways, and in an attempt to save us both, I moved us here.
I moved to our current city – a suburb of Houston – almost four years ago, and – other than the town where I lived most of my childhood – never had I felt more at home. My husband has been here and involved for more than 13 years, and I do a lot of things with a lot of wonderful people here. Yet, it seems like when I least expect it, my Victoria friends show up in the most extraordinary ways.
I posted an “offer” on Facebook to take old books off anyone’s hands – I need to fill my shelves with great books that freshmen will embrace. I expected my current local acquaintances to chime in and help. Not a peep. Over ten offers from old Victoria friends in less than an hour though. One offered to hook me up with hundreds of books leftover from the Victoria Public Library purge. One offered me whatever I wanted from her school library purge. One drove an hour to meet me to bring me a box of books (and drink mimosas). And at least four others have offered to drop boxes of books off with my daughter for transport to me here. (One of hott husband’s H-town friends also offered books…I don’t want to neglect to mention her 🙂
I know it seems like a small, impersonal thing (books), but it puts a lump in my throat to think about it and feel the outpouring of support these folks show each other – and even me. I miss that. People in Victoria rally together. People in Victoria don’t do anything alone. People in Victoria are some of the most generous people I’ve ever known, and though I once felt like something of an outsider by the inherent “elitism”, I know they balance all of that out with their philanthropy, and then some. It’s a little bit like a cult, but they didn’t disfellowship me even when I moved away and haven’t talked to them in years, and even though I never had to resources to help them in the same way they helped me.
Social media helps maintain bonds that otherwise would fade away with time. I know I gripe about Facebook, but I know in my heart that if I moved to Botswana and was craving Whataburger and one of them found out, somebody would raise enough money to build a Whataburger in my village. I may not be one of them anymore, but I want to return the love and goodwill any way I can, and I will be eternally grateful for the way our lives intersected while they did.
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