At the April meeting of the Blanco Woman’s Club at the Ryan Ranch, Russ Whitlock, superintendent of the LBJ National Historical Park, updated members on the opening of the “Western White House” to the public for many interesting events in 2008, the centennial celebration of Johnson’s birth. Calling the national parks “a ribbon that runs through our society,” Whitlock pointed out that American Presidents are a part of that ribbon, and that the LBJ park is unique in that it is the only Presidential site which includes the birthplace, the boyhood home, the adult home, and the burial place. He also pointed out the difficulty parks face in their goal of “enjoying and preserving sites unimpaired for future generations.” He joked that part of Lucy Baines Johnson’s agreement to let the Presidential office be restored to its original 1958 condition was that the original brown shag carpet not be used. Instead, the office will have the parquet floor which replaced it. Landscaping of the ranch grounds will be restored to the original plan drawn in 1967, which incorporates native plants and wildflowers. Whitlock explained that several additions to the house were made over the years, beginning with LBJ’s senatorial, and later Presidential office, and ending with a double master suite. The downstairs will be available for tours by August 2010; but private tours of the upstairs, including the Kennedy bedroom and an ambassadorial bedroom, as well as the children’s quarters, will begin in August of this year. The goal, concluded Whitlock, is to fulfill the Johnsons’ pledge, “All the world is welcome at the LBJ Ranch.” Upcoming events include a LBJ 100 Bike Tour led by Lucy Baines Johnson on April 19, during which she will share her memories of the ranch; a 1960’s Barbecue on the Pedernales on May 17; “Movies under the Stars” in July and August outside the hangar where the Johnsons watched first-run movies during his Presidency; the 100th Anniversary Celebration of LBJ’s birth on August 27, at which time the Presidential Office will be opened to the public; a “Bird Dog Invitational Fly-In” of Vietnam-era reconnaissance aircraft on September 6; a Volksmarch on the LBJ Ranch on October 4; and various Christmas celebrations beginning November 29.
Department reports after the program included a report by Bonnie Holmes, Literature Department chair, of upcoming activities at the Blanco Library, including a brown bag luncheon on May 8, an exhibit of “Rural Texas Women At Work,” which will run from May 1-26; the selection of the book Listening Is an Act of Love, for the One Book, One Community event; a Summer Reading Program for children during 6 weeks of the summer; and an exhibit of children’s quilts which coordinate with children’s books in September and October. The quilts are crafted by the Wimberley Valley Quilters as a service project for the women’s shelter of San Marcos. The last project explained by Bonnie is the Read to Me project, which provides books for local physicians to write a “prescription” that parents read to their children on a regular basis.
Civics Department chair Shirley Beck updated members on the club’s community project, a Town Hall Meeting to be held April 17 from 7-9 p.m. at the Old Blanco County Courthouse. Eight community projects will be presented and questions may be asked.
After the meeting, members and guests Charlene Pace and Tina Gourley enjoyed socializing and delicious refreshments prepared by hostesses Pat Ryan, Shirley Beck, Diane Turner, and Kathrinne Copeland. Strawberry cake, fresh fruit, chicken coconut salad, corn-cheese salad, and a pineapple-ice cream punch were served at an attractive table with a centerpiece of colorful spring flowers, including sunflowers, tulips, statice, daisies, larkspur, and columbine.