Thursday, July 12, 2007
Lady Bird Johnson & Tea
When I drive down a highway and see a beautiful stretch of wildflowers, I always think of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson and her passion for beautification. Learning of her death yesterday, I reached for a newly-acquired book I haven't entirely read yet (but will!), "Tea with Presidential Families" by Beulah Munshower Sommer and Pearl Dexter.
In the chapter on the Johnsons (see Lady Bird in a detail from the cover, above), I learned that as part of her social entertaining at the White House, Lady Bird gave many teas, hosting such groups as the National Council of Jewish Women, the Internal Revenue Service wives, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, the International Congress of Archivists, and Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She also had tea with Alice Roosevelt Longworth several times. Also according to the book, Lady Bird told of "an amusing incident when she walked into her husband's bedroom and found Richard Nixon sitting talking to Lyndon, who was stretched out in his pajamas, drinking tea."
In her diary, Lady Bird wrote, "How many things are launched under the name of a tea!" RIP, Lady Bird Johnson.