October 15, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Lady Bird Johnson.

The first thing you should know about Lady Bird is that she was born Claudia Alta Taylor. Her nickname was bestowed upon her as a baby when her nurse declared she was "purty as a ladybird!" LBJ normally called her "Bird" for short.

Lady Bird had a reputation as a pushover due to her shy, serene nature...but this was not really the case. When he would get home, LBJ's first words were usually, "Where's Bird?" He talked politics over with her, even interrupting discussions with his associates to suggest they ask Lady Bird what she thought.

In 1943, while her husband was serving in the Navy, she purchased a radio station in Austin. She learned the business and oversaw its expansion into a profitable radio and television enterprise.

In 1955, her husband had a massive heart attack, and Lady Bird was strong for his sake. She took the hospital room next door to his and converted it into an office. She remained cheerful and laughing for Lyndon during his five weeks in the hospital.

Lady Bird tried to change her husband's diet. One night she awoke, hearing a clacking noise from the kitchen. He was eating pudding with a metal spoon. The next day the President of the United States sent an aide to find him a quieter, wooden spoon so he wouldn't get caught again.

Posted by Jennifer at October 15, 2003 07:19 AM