One of her Arlington directors has said diplomatically, "If Marje Everett has one chief fault, it is a willingness not to listen to other people's advice." Another detractor said, less diplomatically: "Her needs are simple. All she wants out of life is her own way about everything."
Mrs. Everett is aware that she has her critics. "I'm not out to win a popularity contest," she says—one of her rare understatements. When she feels she is right (and that is most of the time) she believes it would be cowardly to care what other people think of her.
Mrs. Everett was educated to independence of spirit by her father. She was adopted by Benjamin Lindheimer when she was only 10 months old. She knows nothing about her real parents—knows only that her birthplace was Albany, N.Y. She was the third adopted child of the Lindheimer family; the others were her sister Pat, 20 months older than herself, and brother Walter, age 9 at the time she joined the family.
Her father, B.F., was already a successful Chicago politician and real estate operator when she was an infant, and as she grew older she molded herself in his image. By temperament she was his heir apparent, and when he died in June 1960, she inherited something that interested her vitally—a share of the tracks. Within months she bought controlling interest.
She speaks of her father with affectionate admiration. "He gave a great deal of time to his kids," she said recently. "I loved his company more than anything else, from the earliest time I can remember. He loved sports and I loved them, too. I never liked going out on dates. When my sister was going out I preferred to go to the track with Dad."
There wasn't much closeness between me and the rest of my family. As a matter of fact, this relative business is overrated. I believe in the old saying about being able to choose your friends but not your relatives. At any rate, I soon discovered that I preferred being with older friends of Dad's to making small talk with friends my own age."
She was only 7 or 8 when her father first took her to Arlington Park, and the track has been important in her life ever since. In 1939 she left Northwestern, where she had lasted as a coed for a mere two months, and soon thereafter went to work at Arlington. "I suppose I had the best of it, being the boss's daughter, but because of that I tried to work that much harder," she says.
"I started by doing a lot of menial jobs, including operating the switchboard. Then I began taking on more and more responsibility—under Dad's supervision, of course. He made me his personal observer and pretty soon he had me going around the country trying to solicit horses for our meetings. I enjoyed every part of it, and the politics that went along with it. I always loved politics anyway. Dad taught me how to deal with people."
Deal she does, as she dashes through her day. By 7:30 a.m. the executive phones are crackling at Arlington Park. Between cups of coffee she issues her commands:
"Send our van to O'Hare field to pick up a horse flying in from California. I've fixed it up with United Air Lines to use their unloading lift, but be sure they have it there in time. I want no slipups.