This memoir of Lyndon B. Johnson’s visit to Kentucky was handwritten by Inez,
Kentucky native Shelba Pack Brown on April 24, 1964. We maintained the spelling and grammar just as it was because we like the way it sounds. That’s all. It’s not to be funny.
pril 24, 1964, was just like any other day in my life. I am a part-time clerk in the Post Office at Beauty. I was at work when a friend of mine that works in the Judges Office at Inez came in to the office and said that the president would be here tomorrow. The president I could hardly believe it. Why was he coming here? She said he would be here at about 3:30 and would be in the county for close an hour. I guess the real impact didn’t hit me that evening but I was up pretty early the next morning. Dressing that morning seem to take hours. After I’d finished I went to the Post Office. Mother haden been busy, everyone was heading for town.
The first thing I wanted to do was get my hair set. On my way to town I stopped at Norma’s drive Inn. Norm is a close friend and I use to work for her part-time as a car hop. When I told her where I was going she ask me not to. She said they had been busy all morning, they being Phyllis Mills and Pat Sammons, so it was off to the Bank for change and back to the Drive Inn.
Beside of the Drive Inn is a large plane. This field is where the president was going to land. The Sheriff came up and told us that the president would be there at 3:20. From about 11:00 until 4:00 we were too busy to worry, then suddenly. Where was the President? Had he changed his mind? Then a reassuring voice, no he would just be an hour late.
At about four ten I went out into the crowds. By this time they had brought in bus loads of school children and all of the towns people had come up to see planes land. I walked out on the bank to watch the small planes circle the field. Four planes landed and out of them poured more secret service men and many more news men. When the fifth plane landed almost before I could get a good view of Mr. Johnson & Land Bird they were pushing through the crowds making a path and shaking hands. I was shoved into this crowd and I was able to shake hands with both of them. I am twenty-one years old and this was one of the greatest moments of my life. To be that close too two such great people will be a feeling I’ll always remember.
After the president was finally seated and headed toward town, we reopened the Drive Inn and worked and talked for about forty-five minutes.
While the President was gone he visited two homes. These were two of the poorer families of the country. A boy paralyzed from a car wreck was watching from a cot set up in Norms yard. Her house is located on a hill and from this slant he had a good view of what was going on. Sheriff Mike Handy mentioned on the two way radio set hooked up to the President that J.C. Blankenship was in that yard and would the President have time to shake hand and speak to him. One of the secret service men vetoed the idea saying that they were already quite late. Mr. Johnson said as long as they were already late a few more minutes woulden matter. Our President and his wife took time to get out of the car and walk up to J.C. speak a few words and make his day a little brighter. When the president boarded his plane and left there was a hush over the crowd. The people of Eastern Kentucky will long remember the President who had time for us. SHELBA PACK BROWN