[T]he unpretentious woman from Texas found herself first lady of the United States....All I remember of Lady Bird is her work on highway beautification. Comedians made fun of her by saying "Beautify! Beautify!" Was it absurd to care that the highways were lined with billboards? Things really did look different then.
Her White House years ... were filled with the turbulence of the Vietnam War era....
She quoted her husband as saying: "I can't get out. And I can't finish it with what I have got. And I don't know what the hell to do."
She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to beautify Washington. The $320 million Highway Beautification Bill, passed in 1965, was known as "The Lady Bird Bill," and she made speeches and lobbied Congress to win its passage.I didn't get the concern about beauty when there were so many troubles in the world, but it was a good cause, and beauty matters. She picked a good First Lady issue. There's a limit to what political spouses should do.
"Had it not been for her, I think that the whole subject of the environment might not have been introduced to the public stage in just the way it was and just the time it was. So she figures mightily, I think, in the history of the country if for no other reason than that alone," Harry Middleton, retired director of the LBJ Library and Museum, once said.
I visited the LBJ Library last March, and my post about it says nothing about Lady Bird. I'm sorry to see that. It's mostly because I didn't like any of the photos I took in the exhibit devoted to her. There were some dresses and china and handwritten notes. The dresses were tiny, as dresses worn by famous women so often are. So her profile was a bit small, but she did some good, and she lived a long time.
Goodbye, Claudia Alta Taylor.