Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson -
"Her most visible legacy is the millions of flowers she caused to be planted all over the city, in tourist spots and bleak neighborhoods, by roads and public buildings, in parks and on other patches of land where nothing had bloomed before and where today it would be unthinkable not to have a bed of flowers. This was her "beautification" program, a cause that she continued to pursue in places all over the country long after she left the White House. The effort went beyond planting flowers in the cities to improving the national parks and alleviating some of the uglier manifestations of commerce and industry: strip mining, overhead power lines, litter. One of her greatest successes -- the one most bitterly fought by business interests -- was federal legislation restricting billboards on federal highways."

She had a funny name--that's one of my childhood memories of her. Then, I didn't know she shared a name with my sister--Claudia (And funny thing--we didn't call my sister Claudia, either. When my sister was a baby, my mom would see her the song "Wake Up, Little Susy" -- consequently, we have always called her Susy, causing great confusion among teachers and others.)

But the other memory--and this was greatly impressed upon us kids at the time --was "DON'T LITTER." I vaguely remember the billboard and the wildflowers campaigns, but I have a categoric aversion to littering that leads me to pick up not only my own litter but that of as many others as I possibly can.

And during our high school years, we earned money for it, too. Our band would spilt up the back roads, and walk miles, picking up any and all litter we could see, tossing it in pickup trucks, and hauling it to the dump. (I just realized I have no idea just WHO paid us to do this.) Our spring trip every year would be partly financed by our litter campaign. (We were early recycling adapters, too--one of our other main fundraisers was picking up newspapers house by house, to be recycled for cash, also for our trip.)

Ninety-four trips around the sun is a lot. Heaven will be a tidier place now that Claudia Johnson is there.

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