National Geographic : 1966 Nov
President Johnson's two daughters-Lynda Bird, then 21, and Luci Baines, 18. While we sipped soft drinks in the big, cheerful solarium off the third floor, the girls spoke frankly of the drawbacks that go with the glamor of living in the White House. They looked as pretty and carefree as the girls next door. But it's not easy to relax when the whole country follows one's every move, and a Secret Service man makes every date a threesome. "Your dates always get in the paper," sighed Lynda. "Then the one you didn't take knows all about where you went and what you did. And sometimes everything gets mixed up. A reporter once phoned my college room mate to check a rumor that I had run off to Mexico to get married. And I was sitting right there all the time!" Luci frowned when I recalled the time she wore a blond wig to a Marquette University prom with Patrick J. Nugent, the young man she later married (page 636). "The stories made it seem as if I were doing something bizarre," she said, "when all I wanted was to be myself." Lynda Tours White House Unrecognized The conversation reminded me of President Wilson's daughters, Margaret and Eleanor, who, hiding their faces behind veils, took a sightseeing bus past the White House and pleaded in vain with the driver to let them go in and see the President's daughters. "Did you ever feel like doing that?" I asked Lynda. "I did it," she said. "I put on a trench coat and joined a public tour of the house. Nobody recognized me." Lynda has a prized doll collection, gathered over the years, which she showed me in a room down the hall where little John F. Kennedy, Jr., used to play. But the solarium, I learned, was Luci's special project. She had planned and worked on it all-the maple and pine furniture slip-covered in gay yellow and orange; the soft-drink bar and stools, bought at a bargain. Her collection of odd mugs stood on wall shelves, near a bookcase made from timbers removed during the Coo lidge reconstruction of the White House attic in 1927. Suddenly the President's daughter reached into a small refrigerator and brought out a huge preserved frog-a specimen from her biology class at the nursing school of Georgetown University. Holding it up before my dazed eyes, she rattled off Latin names for all its muscles. Luci's teen-age hideaway has brought pleasure to many White House families. It began as the Coolidges' wicker furnished, radio-equipped "sky parlor," added over the South Portico in the remodeling of the attic. Here Mrs. "Feast of cleverness and wit," Julia Grant said of life in the White House. Here before a state dinner President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson escort honored guest Lud wig Erhard, Chancellor of West Germany. Lynda Bird Johnson, following, walks past Vice President and Mrs. Hubert H. Humphrey. For this December visit, after dinner music began with "0 Tannenbaum," a bow to Germany's Yuletide contribution, the Christmas tree. EKTACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHER 594 JOSEPHJ. SCHERSCHEL© N.G.S.