On November 18, 1934, the day after their wedding, Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson drove from San Antonio to Monterrey, Mexico. The decision to go there for a honeymoon was mutual, but it was perfectly suited to Lady Bird’s taste. The red hibiscus blossoms, the broad-leafed banana trees, the impromptu serenades—not to mention the favorable exchange rate, making every purchase seem like a fantastic bargain—all combined to make Monterrey a natural place for Lady Bird’s transition from life on her own to Johnson’s strange new world.
The following day, they boarded a train to Mexico City. From the train, Lady Bird’s eye was continually drawn to the hundreds of shrines to the Virgin Mary that had been built along the winding roadways. As a Protestant, she was unfamiliar with the role that the Virgin Mary occupies as the embodiment of the ever-present merciful mother to Roman Catholics. “Those places by the side of the road seemed so strange to me,” she recalled. “I don’t know why, but the sight of little girls laying paper flowers at the shrines is one of the strongest memories I have of my honeymoon.”
She tried to engage Johnson in conversation about the shrines, but he wasn’t particularly interested in Mexico. Mentally, he was back in Washington. He spent most