Last week, a wonderful person passed away after a long and rewarding life, both to her family and our nation. How Liz Carpenter managed to shoehorn roughly six or seven lives into her nine decades remains a mystery, but we are better for it
In 2005, thanks to Liz’s daughter Christy Carpenter and her great friend Martha Whetstone, we were able to have a wonderful Luncheon Society gathering with her in San Francisco. She had just written a book, one of the many she had published over the years, and even though she told stories of the past, she was focused on the future.
Her mobility had been slowed by arthritis and she was now using a scooter to move around. After we parked the car at a garage in Downtown San Francisco, she asked me if I wanted to ride along with her. I replied there was only room for one, but she convinced me to hop on the back. So there I was, being escorted to a luncheon, standing on the back of her scooter, surfing our way through lunchtime pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk, and having a blast.
People forget that that behind her Texas humor, she saw some of life tough moments. She was in Dallas when John Kennedy was assassinated. When Lyndon Johnson emerged at Andrews Air Force Base and spoke as president for the first time, his first words were written by Liz Carpenter, who by then was serving as the Vice President’s Administrative Assistant, the first woman to hold that role. Those simple words captured the moment with humility and grace. It allowed Johnson to begin to heal the wounds of a nation still stunned by those terrible moments. Continue reading