In the June 1991 issue, in an article called “Voices From the Dark,” I told the story of Dawn, my mother-in-law. It was an account of her brief career as a singer in Hollywood in the late forties, how schizophrenia had brought that career to a tragic end, and how my wife, Tara, had tried since she was a little girl to care for her. A couple of years after the story appeared, Dawn called Tara from the Granger medical facility where she lived.
Sweat drips off Nancy “Shaggy” Moore’s face as she lifts the front leg of a horse, coaxes the animal into bending it at the knee, clamps it between her own legs, and drives a nail through the hoof. “I went to horseshoe school for six weeks in the mid-nineties. One girl in a class with nineteen guys—tell me I didn’t like that,” she says with a laugh. “I’m such a perfectionist, though. I wanted to be the best, but it took me eight hours to do two shoes. Three weeks in, my body started to give out.
Everybody thought they knew him. Few truly did. Willie Weaks Morris was a man of many parts. Some did not mesh with the others.
IF MARJORIE SCARDINO isn’t quite as familar a name as Michael Dell or Tom Hicks, maybe that’s because you’re not reading The Times of London.
The story of the making of the Johnson family fortune has often been cast as an example of LBJ’s ability to manipulate others for his own advancement in business as well as politics. Yet Lady Bird’s role was equally important: He had the influence, but she had the cash. From 1937 to 1942 she used $41,000 inherited from her mother’s estate to lay the foundation for their fledgling media company, which she ran as president and later as chairman of the board.
IF JOURNALISM IS A “CONTACT” SPORT—who you know counts as much as what you know—one of the best places to get in the game is the Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin’s student-run newspaper. In 1954, for example, Liz Carpenter (class of ‘42), a veteran reporter who would go on to become Lady Bird Johnson’s press secretary, called President Dwight D.
In 1979 I started a local program at the NBC affiliate in Dallas–Fort Worth. I was the host, I was the researcher, and I was the editor. I loved it. By that time I had already been the executive producer of Bill Moyers’ Journal, so I had experience. What I didn’t have was on-air experience, and I wanted the chance to do my own show. [Texas Monthly senior editor] Gary Cartwright was my first guest, and he helped make my career.
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ONE MORNING IN 1972, four years after leaving Texas for what he had told himself would be a short stint in New York, Joe Armstrong woke up in his tiny ground-floor Manhattan apartment and got dressed. He put on his three-piece suit, and then he put on a pair of black lizard Justin boots—and decided that he would wear cowboy boots every single day for the rest of his life. That day was also when he realized he was staying in New York for good.