20.51, or the Better Half of 41

In the last of my presidential posts, I have to give a little shout-out to Barbara Bush. As I mentioned before, my dad has had to opportunity to work on every presidential election since 1960.

He has always spoken very kindly of Barbara Bush. In his experience, she was always lovely and gracious to the press. Not everyone is. He has recounted witnessing her watch election results sitting on the floor while campaign insiders buzzed about.

In June, 1989, House & Garden showcased the Bush’s home in Kennebunkport. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Bush myself, the image, below, seems to reflect my dad’s impression. (I don’t know if there was a designer involved on the project, but I’m getting a little Sister Parish vibe off this.  I will now think all houses in Maine are appointed this way.)

I don’t care for women who put on airs, be they First Ladies or grade school mommies. I’d much rather sit on the floor and dish with the gal wearing a big double-strand of pearls.

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11 thoughts on “20.51, or the Better Half of 41

  1. Thanks for this. Many, many people have unkind words for Mrs. Bush and I never know if it’s because she is unlovely of if it’s simply because the speakers do not share her husband’s political views. Thank you for confirming my suspicion: she sounds sweet and gracious.

  2. Patricia- I got to meet Mrs. Bush very briefly when I was a child (and I mean very briefly- a quick handshake). She was very kind and gracious! Didn’t Mark Hampton decorate the Kennebunkport home at one point? Don’t know if these photos reflect his work or not.

  3. oooohhhh, good series, the photos of monticello are downright seductive and who could not embrace the woman who is sitting in her pajamas with the grandkids overrunning the room (while their fathers have the typical male “I’m reading the paper, how could I notice that Jenna is hanging from the chadelier” thing going on)

  4. (Never having met Mrs. Bush) whenever someone brings her up I immediately remember a grade school biography I read that related her needlepointing a rug, one square at a time throughout diplomatic and campaign travels. Supposedly it is somewhere at the home….I’ve always been impressed, even never seeing the rug, since I don’t think I could finish a quilt.

  5. I have always considered Mrs. Bush the worst of bunch (this is saying quite a bit considering George W.). I’m not surprised she is gracious (albeit to certain people) but to me she gives off this “our crowd” vibe.

  6. I have the best Barbara story ever. You know they live in Houston and really we see them around everywhere — I’ve almost run her down with my cart in the grocery store before. BUT, this one takes the cake. I was in Saks once – just after they came back home. It was a weekday morning and the shoe department was completely empty except for me – no sales person at all. And then in she walks. Well, what do you do = acknowledge he? bother her? leave her alone? It was so awkward. She picked up a pair of shoes and said to me,very sarcastically, hmmmph, these shoes are sooooo expensive. In walks the salesperson with, you got it, the same pair of shoes for moi! In Yiddish there’s a word for moi – The Pisher. It means a big shot who really a little nothing. That was me that day. Buying a pair of shoes the the First Lady wouldn’t dare buy. of course I couldn’t afford them. But she could.

  7. Oh, your post brings back memories! I used to summer in Kennebunkport. It’s such a pretty little place. I never met the Bush’s but I drove by the compund a lot. Those were the days. Sigh.

  8. I remember seeing this picture of the Bush's with their children and grandchildren…that shot has stuck in my mind ever since. I also love Barbara Bush…I totally think she's the "real deal"…and I'm sure MOST houses in Kennebunkport are appointed as such 😉

    Thanks for such a lovely post!

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