WWII gave Mrs. Johnson, like women across the country, the opportunity to take on new responsibilities. In her case, she took on many of the duties of LBJ’s Congressional office, acting as his “secretary,” responding to constituents, and maintaining his relationship with other representatives. The experience not only helped her gain a new understanding of her husband’s job, but also a new confidence in her own abilities.
“Those weeks emerged as sort of a watershed time in my life. I grew to have a sense of knowing how to do something and being capable of making my living if I had to. The first seven years of our marriage, although it had been highly exciting and my zest for life has always been at a high pitch, and Washington a vastly interesting place, still, we did not have a home; we did not have children. There was a sound base missing for me, whereas Lyndon had a very sound base, his work. I learned that I could do something useful, and it’s stood me in good stead ever since.”
- Lady Bird Johnson, Oral History Interview 16, Jan 29, 1980, by Michael Gillette, p8-9, LBJ Library. Online: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/oralhistory.hom/Johnson-C/CTJ%2016.pdf.