The park ranger at Lyndon B. Johnson's boyhood home is herding our little group out of LBJ's bedroom and on toward the "sleeping porch," but my son is lagging behind, studying the period furnishings with more interest than you'd expect they'd inspire in an 11-year-old.
"So, this is the window?" he asks, referencing a story the ranger had just told - that young LBJ would sneak out of bed, climb out the window and crawl under the house on evenings that his legislator father had friends visiting in the parlor, so that he could eavesdrop on their political wheeling and dealing. I nod, he grins, and he hustles to catch up with our tour.
Only later did he explain what had struck him: He had never thought about any president ever being a kid, much less a kid who would break the rules. In that modest house, lacking touch screens or animatronic exhibits, history had come to life.
Which was what I'd vaguely hoped for when planning this trip in late November. My son's sixth-grade class had just spent a week immersed in the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination but had spent little time on the man who succeeded him - despite the fact that LBJ was one of only two U.S. presidents born in Texas. (Bonus points if you knew the other was Dwight Eisenhower, who, though associated most closely with Kansas, was actually born in Denison.)
Read more at the Star-Telegram: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/01/27/5516293/rediscovering-lyndon-b-johnsons.html