Former LBJ nanny relives time with first family, gives up secret

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Living history during the LBJ Civil Rights Era just celebrated a big day in Austin two weeks ago when Alice Holland marked her 104th birthday.

Alice was a housekeeper for the Johnsons, and a nanny to their two daughters.

She was born and raised in Jewett, Texas, about 130 miles northeast of Austin. One of 10 siblings, she has outlived them all.

“I was raised in the sticks, in the country,” she said. “We didn’t have to buy anything. We raised it, we planted it.”

Later, she met the Johnsons. She may have been hired for the household, in part, because she and Lady Bird shared a love of the garden.

“She planted those flowers. Those flowers would come up every year,” Alice said. “I can’t think of those…they were real pretty.”

Alice says the Johnsons treated her like one of the family as she helped raise little Luci and Linda. She recalled a time when those girls gave a gift to her daughter.

“They had a hairbrush,” she said,” a hairbrush and a comb. And his oldest daughter give that to my daughter Bobby.”

She was privy to many of the household secrets, but she’ll give one away. LBJ had a sweet tooth.

“When he’d come in we’d go to the plane and meet him. He’d have a bag of that candy, eating.”

As for her key to longevity?

“I was nice to people, I was real nice,” she said. “If people are ugly to you, you be nice to them.”

At 104 years old, Alice Holland knows of what she speaks.

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