My friend, Anne, called me a week ago and asked if I would be free this evening. "Yes..." I said.
She said I could come along with her to a party---a party at Liz Carpenter's house. "Yes Anne, I am free!"
Tonight was the night. I was ready to go about an hour before Anne got here. Two other friends went along with us, and it turns out that Liz Carpenter lives just a few houses away from an intersection I drive by frequently. We got there a little early -- Anne said it would be easier to see all the pictures before the house got too crowded.
We walked in and Liz was settling into her chair at the door. Meeting her was like greeting a queen. She was very gracious. Her house was unpretentious, but had a killer view of downtown Austin. On every shelf and tabletop were awards and autographed photos. Liz with Bill Clinton, Liz in a ballroom at a state dinner, a portrait of living ex-presidents and their wives including Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr with all their autographs!, Liz with the Queen Mother:Elizabeth I, many of Lady Bird Johnson-- who she worked for as press sectretary, an autographed portrait of LBJ who she wrote a speech for -- the same speech he said when he got of the plane carrying JFK after he was shot -- the speech where he announced to the country that a president had died....from an article I found online:
"On Nov. 22, 1963, she was riding in a police car across Dallas to Air Force 1, when “it occurred to me that I was the only writer aboard.” She knew that Johnson would need to make a public statement within the next few hours. “And the words just came.”
She scribbled out on one of Lady Bird Johnson’s autograph cards, “This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep, personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help — and God’s.”
It was as though the words had come to her “by a Guiding Hand,” she says.
After the plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., newly sworn-in President Johnson delivered those words to the awaiting microphones and cameras and, as she wrote later, “I knew that they were right.”
Here is a wonderful article if you are curious about this lady.....
Oh yeah, and when she looked at me and asked that one of the "youngsters" bring water in to an older couple in the living room, I jumped. I went outside where they had a drink station set up, picked up water bottles and headed back into the house. A kind, older gentleman opened the door for me, his nametag said "Cactus". When he introduced himself as Cactus Pryor, I just said, "um, yes, I know... " Very fun.