The acclaimed author of Above the East China Sea and The Yokota Officers Club celebrates the uniqueness of Texas women in this beautifully designed gift book
What is it that distinguishes Texas women—the famous Yellow Rose and her descendants? Is it that combination of graciousness and grit that we revere in First Ladies Laura Bush and Lady Bird Johnson? The rapier-sharp wit that Ann Richards and Molly Ivins used to skewer the good ole boy establishment? The moral righteousness with which Barbara Jordan defended the US constitution? An unnatural fondness for Dr Pepper and queso?
In her inimitable style, Sarah Bird pays tribute to the Texas Woman in all her glory and all her contradictions. She humorously recalls her own early bewildered attempts to understand Lone Star gals, from the big-haired, perfectly made-up ladies at the Hyde Park Beauty Salon to her intellectual, quinoa-eating roommates at Seneca House Co-op for Graduate Women. After decades of observing Texas women, Bird knows the species as few others do. A Love Letter to Texas Women is a must-have guide for newcomers to the state and the ideal gift to tell any Yellow Rose how special she is.
At the salon I heard stories about how a woman used to “neighbor” with someone and how a patron was “neighboring up” with a newcomer. Judgments were passed about those who failed to “neighbor.” This bone-deep instinct to be friendly to whomever might cross one's path was the quality I came to admire most in Texas Women. Though I only heard the term a few times after my days at Hyde Park were over, I’ve never forgotten what I learned about the origins of this most essential of elements in the Rosa xanthina genome. Many of the women’s families had moved into town when ranches and farms were lost to drought, depression, or disaster, both natural and man-made. These rural transplants brought with them the wisdom passed down to each Texas Woman by her pioneering foremothers: that her survival, and the survival of her children, might easily depend upon the strangers whom Divine Providence had selected to be her neighbors. She knew that if she didn’t befriend those who lived nearby, she would have no one to turn if her husband fell ill, or the barn burned, or the crops failed, or Indians attacked. Perhaps even more deeply bred into the Texas Woman was her ancestresses’ hunger for female companionship. The friendliness that Yankees like me found so suspicious was the legacy handed down by women who had risked their lives to ride or walk the long, dangerous miles to the nearest neighbor woman’s house.
“Now here’s an old Second Wave feminist’s unbiased, fair and balanced review of Sarah Bird’s new book A Love Letter to Texas Women. It’s a hoot! A laugh-out-loud 80-page personal history with heart, grit and a galaxy of stars.”
The Austin American-Statesman
“This teeny book by Austin writer Sarah Bird is a must for any proud Texas woman (and any Texas man proud to love a Texas woman.) In her trademark bitingly funny style, Bird talks about her journey from granola hippydom in New Mexico to the Aqua-Netted friendliness of Texas, and how she learned to love it. Great stories and quotes from greats such as the late Ann Richards and Lady Bird Johnson to everyday ladies getting their hair set in small towns.”
San Antonio Express News
“Bird brings her characteristic brand of unflappable humor to reflect on strong women—from the confident, colorfully named ladies of the Hyde Park Beauty Salon (“Eddie Faye, Peninah, Waynette, Permelia Lynn, Dicy”) to the grace and grit of first ladies and Distinguished Alumnae Lady Bird Johnson and Laura Bush.”
“Sarah Bird is a true eccentric, but one with a straightforward gift for explaining the human heart. . . . A Lone Star girl-legend.”