Post by Alana Cash
When my dad retired from the military in 1969 and moved away from San Antonio with my mother and siblings, I had to take a full-time job to support myself. I went to work as secretary for the senior vice president of Frost Bank in
I worked at the bank less than a year before moving with my older brother to
, but sometime during that nine months, Lyndon
Baines Johnson came to the bank for a visit – rumor was it was some kind of
investment deal. I feel pretty sure that
everyone in the bank was aware of the visit and told to be on their best
behavior and not to talk to the former President California
I knew he would enter the bank from the parking structure into a large bank reception room – kind of like a low-ceilinged ballroom. The bank’s controller and other executives had private offices off the reception area and their secretaries had their desks out in the open. I stationed myself near the desk of the secretary to the controller.
I wasn’t there long before LBJ arrived with a small secret service detail. Apparently Tom Frost Jr. had met him at the parking garage entrance to the bank because they were striding down the room together and I was just frozen, staring. It would be the only time I ever saw a President in person and I can tell you there is something to it.
LBJ was 6’4” which is already intimidating, but there was also a command, maybe even a demand about his presence. He was smiling and friendly and very impressive. He wore a suit and took big strides so that his detail seemed rushed to keep up with him and in ten seconds, maybe less, they had passed through the room. It was a private situation. He wasn’t trying to please a crowd or press for votes. He was retired from politics and just going about his business.
I don’t know what he was like to work with as a politician – there are stories about stolen elections and political bullying – and I don’t know what he was like as a person or as a friend. I just know that one day when I was just a kid, I stood less than five feet from a former President of my country and he gave off a sense of power I haven’t forgotten.