Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
Lady Bird Johnson's Well-Lived Life
Some subjects come alive in front of the camera. Some stories demand all-nighters from their authors, and others write themselves. Some speeches require days of preparation, and others take shape from the podium before their audience.
When Lady Bird Johnson is the subject, pictures, stories and speeches come to life. Her 94 years, which ended July 11 this year, were so full, so rich with accomplishments that we longed for more space in this tribute issue to do her justice.
During one of the interviews aired at the time of her mother's death, Luci Baines Johnson said, "My mother always said to me, ‘Ultimately life could be divided into two categories...the if-onlys and the aren't-we-glads, and, Luci Baines, I want to make it my business to have my if-only list be mighty short and my aren't-we-glads be mighty long, and I admonish you to do the same.' I'm sure when Lady Bird Johnson is no longer a part of my life in this world I'll be thanking the good Lord for all of the aren't-we-glads and I'll be lamenting the if-onlys. A day of service was a day well-lived for Lady Bird Johnson."
With this issue of Wildflower, we share stories and pictures from a life well-lived. In "Portrait of a Lady" (pages 12-19) we feature photographs from her childhood in Marshall and from the early years of her marriage and as a mother. She once said, "I have always been a natural tourist," and the photography here shows some stops along her magnificent journey.
Lady Bird Johnson will be remembered for her Southern grace but also for being a woman ahead of her time. In life, she was praised for her achievements on behalf of the environment. In July, the homage surrounding her death noted that she used her position as first lady as a platform for change. The article "Environmental First Lady" (pages 20-27) shows how Lady Bird Johnson brought environmentalism to the national agenda.
In this issue, we wanted to share with you the stories that helped explain how this small-town Texas girl came to become one of the most influential women of her time. In our efforts to do so, we talked to Mrs. Johnson's friends and admirers ("Wild Life," page 32) and to staff here at the Wildflower Center ("Natural Born Leader," page 5). We heard from people who met her once and were stunned by her grace, charm and intellect...and from those who never met her but for whom she served as an example (Letters, page 3).
There are times when putting together a magazine is painful because you are forced to leave very good material on the cutting-room floor. This is one of those times; Lady Bird Johnson is one of those remarkable figures about whom there is always - and always will be - more to say.
- Christina Kosta Procopiou, Editor