Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lady Bird Johnson

I have thought a lot about this woman this summer. As I travel up and down the highway visiting various friends and family. One of the things I always enjoy are the bright beautiful patches of flowers. I am always amazed that one women could bring such a change to the highways all over America.

I actually have a childhood memory of this woman and her husband. I remember her smelling of Tabu, having incredible warm eyes that looked as if she knew a secret no one else knew, being a small woman, yet her presence was felt. She was kind to children, maybe because she lost her mother at such an early age.

You see my dad worked in the senate for one of the Senator's from Florida. If he had to go in to work on the weekends or even sometimes in the evening when a bill was on the floor I got to go in, too. Lyndon Johnson's office was on the same hall and I would use the inside hall to go into the Senator's private offices and play. I loved Senator Johnson's because he collected little dog figurines - beagles. He had one of Pluto that moved from Walt Disney himself. He would get all cranky if he found me playing with it. I was under six so these are childhood impression's.

As I grew up and I began to realize that Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson was actually a very remarkable woman. She paid for her husband's first couple of campaigns. $10,000 for his first office. She took her own inheritance and invested $41,000 into radio and television stations and turned that money into $150 million dollars in 30 years. She is the only woman to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Don't think that LBJ had a whole lot to do with that. He was dead within four years of leaving office. Ladybird was the smoother in the relationship. He would offend, she would smooth it out. I have a feeling she did most of the raising of their daughters herself. I think she was a woman with a lot of class. So, next time you go on a little road trip and see those bright patches of flowers, think of Ladybird.


Melinda Cornish said...

what a great story! I will think of her everytime I see cosmos.....and tabu perfume...I havent smelled that in years..Melinda

Diane said...

That was a very interesting story. I have a new appreciation for lady Bird Johnson. The photographs are fabulous! Thanks for sharing this.

Brenda Seaholm-Wampler said...

I live here in Texas where Lady Bird has done so very much. The flowers are just beautiful, and if I must say so, Texas has some of the most beautiful flowers, roads, and Rest Stops in the country, and it's all because of this very generous woman. If you ever come to Texas, you must visit her Wildflower Center in Austin. Just Awesome!

Sandie R said...

These are lovely photos and the story behind the lady and her flowers is very interesting even to me as a Canadian.

jackie said...

Thank you for sharing memories of your fascinating childhood! And reminding us of one very classy lady! I appreciate all of the images and photos that you feature!