Loading…
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
HomeBlogs
Published: Friday, 7/13/2007

Fly Away Home...

I had a Barbie doll with hair like Jacqueline Kennedy until my younger sister decided to cut her hair. My doll's hair, not Jackie's.

But the presidential wife I was really aware of wasn't Mrs. Kennedy, a lady I mostly associated with interesting hats -- but Ladybird. Lady Bird Johnson. What an interesting name. Who names a child Lady Bird? What did her friends say to her in school about that name? Or did she attend schools rich in unusual names, where such a thing would go unremarked, names like DonnaBee, and Placenta?

It seemed only logical to me that Lady Bird would lead a campaign to beautify America. I remember my mother telling me about it, and it seemed like such a nice and lady sort of activity. As a child I read National Wildlife, and they carried an article about Lady Bird and her beautification campaign. I didn't read it, though. I only read articles on animals. I made a single exception that I recall, reading an article about the "greenhouse effect."

I never knew she was really named Claudia Alta until she died this week. I certainly didn't know she studied history and journalism in college.

I also didn't know she didn't like it that her conservation efforts were translated as "beautification." I guess it was the times. Ladies beautified. In the 1960s, only farmers and hunters were conservationists. I didn't know I had this in common with Lady Bird. I was an ardent conservationist as a girl, constantly sending away for information on the subject. I ended up receiving two hunting magazines for years as a result of my interests. I never subscribed to them. They just showed up. Boys were conservationists. Girls were beautificationers or something.

I guess I should have read that National Wildlife article.

I feel a little guilty that when I got an email alert the other day that Lady Bird had died, I was surprised to hear she was still alive. Here she was, one of the first prominent environmentalists in politics, and she had disappeared from view.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.