Gwen Gibson Armstrong

Pleasssse, pull my fingernails out, smash my foot, but don’t make me write a biography! All of the bios I have read sound so “educated”, exciting, serene, worthwhile by contributing to the public good, or all of the above. I have just lived life MY way.

After graduating MHS I attended TCU and went into total shock. I was NOT prepared for college. I did not know how to study, or make new friends, or be a good sorority sister. I realized I had grown up in a glass bubble in Midland … over-protected and insulated from reality. After two years of floundering through classes I returned to Midland and went to work for Humble Oil & Refining Company with a starting salary of $240.00 a month. I was RICH! After four years in my hometown I finally broke the apron strings and moved to Houston where I worked for another oil company. After two years of too many people and two much traffic I moved to Santa Fe, NM. FREE AT LAST! The late bloomer burst forth as a flower child. (I still don’t think pot is a drug, but no longer do I play with it … darn it.) My work in Santa Fe was as guest manager of an exclusive guest ranch where we had Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Shirley Jones, Audrey Hepburn, and many more notables stay for weeks while they made movies.

In 1969 I married my FIRST husband (and was probably the last girl in our class to marry). He gave me my fabulous only child, a boy we named Danny. When I was 6 months pregnant my beautiful sister, Ann, died of the then unnamed anorexia. It wasn’t until Karen Carpenter died that the populace realized anorexia is a profound illness. In shock, my parents talked my husband into moving to Midland so I could have my baby with them. BAD mistake … the marriage cratered in a hurry! No regrets, however … I -had my son. After two years of being a full time mommy I went back to work.

In 1976 I married my SECOND husband and we moved to Pearsall, TX where he opened a satellite office of his oilfield electric company. In a way I think of that period as being my halcyon years because it was a short drive to San Antonio for fun, shopping and culture, while day to day was barefoot and blue jeans. I made some wonderful friends and, uneducated me, even served on the school board for a bit. That was interrupted by the downturn of oil drilling so we returned to West Texas, but this time to Odessa. In 1990 I found myself getting another divorce and again, no regrets … I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. I vowed to NEVER get married again!

With a good friend pushing me I went to Odessa College for some continuing ed courses in that new fangled thing called computers. With my new-found knowledge I was hired by ECISD as a secretary with the administration and, vowing to never marry again, spent 10 years with the district in various jobs. In 2000 I met a man named Roy Armstrong and was immediately smitten. He has an independent insurance adjusting company so traveled quite a lot. After learning to never say never we married in 2005, soon after all of the devastating hurricanes, so I spent the next several months with the routine of two weeks in Ft. Lauderdale, then two weeks back home to be with my dad and take care of business at home. Because of Dad’s advancing years I was unable to be away from him for long as he had lived by himself since my mom’s death a few years earlier.

Dad passed away at the young age of 95. Since that time I’ve been busy with his estate, sorting through over 60 years of tax returns, bank statements, etc., having an estate sale and getting the old house on Kansas St. ready to sell. All of this has been a growing experience with many tears and lots of laughter, shared with my sister’s daughter, Kathleen, who lives with her family at lake Tahoe, and my son who is now a major in the USAF and is in the process of moving from Pensacola, FL to Del Rio, TX.

My life seems mundane compared to most of my classmates but there is little I would change. I have been able to travel all over our gorgeous country and parts of Europe and, although I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, I’m spending my time wearing purple and red and sliding down that hill of chocolate while enjoying a few sunrises, many sunsets and every full moon. After I win the lottery I plan to have a summer home in Jackson Hole, WY and a winter home in Hawaii. In the meantime I’ll just keep doing it MY way!

One thought on “Gwen Gibson Armstrong

  1. Anonymous April 13, 2022 / 3:51 pm

    Pretty exciting Gwen. I like no regrets! Bob Ittner MHS 62

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