Duchess of Palms: A Memoir

Overview

Child of the Great Depression, teenage “Duchess of Palms” beauty queen, wife of an acclaimed novelist and later of a brilliant U.S. congressman, and ultimately a successful single working woman and mother, Nadine Eckhardt has lived a fascinating life. In this unique, funny, and honest memoir, she recounts her journey from being a “fifties girl” who lived through the men in her life to becoming a woman in her own right, working toward her own goals.
Eckhardt’s first marriage to ...
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Duchess of Palms: A Memoir

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Overview

Child of the Great Depression, teenage “Duchess of Palms” beauty queen, wife of an acclaimed novelist and later of a brilliant U.S. congressman, and ultimately a successful single working woman and mother, Nadine Eckhardt has lived a fascinating life. In this unique, funny, and honest memoir, she recounts her journey from being a “fifties girl” who lived through the men in her life to becoming a woman in her own right, working toward her own goals.
Eckhardt’s first marriage to writer Billy Lee Brammer gave her entrée to liberal political and literary circles in Austin and Washington, where she and Brammer both worked for Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. She describes the heady excitement of LBJ’s world—a milieu that Brammer vividly captured in his novel The Gay Place. She next recalls her second marriage to Bob Eckhardt, whom she helped get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as her growing involvement with the counterculture of social protest, sexual revolution, and drug use. Eckhardt honestly recounts how the changing times changed her perception of herself, recalling that “I didn’t know how to achieve for myself, only for others, and I felt ripped off and empty.” This painful realization opened the door to a new life for Eckhardt. Her memoir concludes with a joyful description of her multifaceted later life as a restaurateur, assistant to Molly Ivins, writer, and center of a wide circle of friends.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292719125
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

NADINE ECKHARDT has worked in politics and journalism, lobbied, sold real estate, and run restaurants. Now retired, she continues to enjoy life as a writer, mother, and grandmother. Duchess of Palms is her first book.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

Chapter One
In the Beginning
Big Nadine, Little Nadine: 1930s and 1940s
My Role Model
A New Life, and New Problems
Big Nadine
Growing up, in Body and Mind
Billy Lee Brammer, 1950
Young Marrieds
Testing the Waters, Pushing the Boundaries

Chapter Two
1951-1961: A Wild Ride in Washington
Meeting "The Senator"
Wandering Eyes and Hands
The LBJ Charisma
The 1956 Election
A Marriage on the Verge
Deep in the Heart
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
Sadness Permeated the Marriage
A Novel Finds Success, but a Marriage Crumbles
Bill's Swinging Sixties

Chapter Three
1961-1966: A New Love and Politics
The Power of Fantasy
Tragedy and the Aftermath
The Run for Congress

Chapter Four
1967-1969: Life as a Congressional Wife
Congress, Itself
Junkets: The Perk That Almost Makes It Worth It
The Congressional Social Whirl
A Front-Row Seat to a Revolution
A Culture in Turmoil
A More Personal Revolution

Chapter Five
The Seventies: Changes, Both Public and Private
More Changes and a Growing Distance
Multiple Roles, Many Faces
Reefer Madness
Bill Makes an Appearance
Back Home to Texas, Once Again
The Death of a Marriage
An Experimental Walk Down Memory Lane
Endings Bring Beginnings
The Nineties and the Circle Closes

Epilogue

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