Meeting the President
Heal Your Life Blog
Meeting the President
On President’s Day, I often think about the time my husband Andrew and I received an invitation to visit the White House from President Lyndon B. Johnson and the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson. It was 1968. It was the era of the Vietnam War and the signing of the Civil Rights Act. It was also the year gasoline was 34 cents a gallon, a movie ticket was $1.50 and a postage stamp cost only 6 cents!
I remember when I returned home from my visit, I sat down at my typewriter and jotted down all the details I could remember as a keepsake for myself. Here are some of the highlights:
Last week, Andrew received a telegram at the British-American Chamber of Commerce saying, “President and Mrs. Johnson request the Pleasure of your company at dinner on February 8th at the White House. Invitation will follow.” At first we thought it was a joke, but sure enough two days later a beautifully engraved invitation arrived.
You can imagine how surprised we were to receive this. We found out that Prime Minister Harold Wilson was visiting the White House and they were giving a State Dinner for him. The British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Patrick Dean suggested to the President that we be invited. How about that!!
I rushed to Emily Post to find out if there was anything I must or must not do. The rules were pretty simple: You call him: Mr. President and the first lady: Mrs. Johnson. Also, you cannot refuse to go unless you are really ill.
Andrew and I were rather bug-eyed by recognizing all the famous people there: Senator (J. William) Fulbright, Senator (Jacob K.) Javits, famous opera singer Robert Merrill, Winston Churchill Jr., Senator (Henry M. “Scoop”) Jackson, Senator (Michael J.) Mansfield, Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo), etc.
After all the guests arrived, we were told to form a line—the Presidential party was arriving. The President, Mrs. Johnson, Prime Minister Wilson, and Mrs. Wilson came in the door and stood just to one side and we all filed by greeted by each. First daughter Lynda Bird and her husband Lt. Charles Robb came along the line and greeted us all while we were waiting to get to the President. We were about middle in line. I had not realized from pictures how VERY beautiful Lynda Bird is, just gorgeous, with super hair, a terrific smile and a warm personality, very charming, and lovely eyes.
As we got to the head of the line we were told, Gentlemen proceed their ladies and again we gave our names and we were presented individually to each and shook hands. Pretty exciting!
As it was such a rare event, it was silly not to take advantage of it. Andrew was able to have a chat with Mrs. Johnson and I went up to Vice President HUMPHREY and introduced myself and said as a fan, I just wanted to shake his hand. He was very sweet. We were both exceedingly impressed with how beautifully every thing was done. It was a thoroughly delightful evening.