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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Frisked Then Allowed To Observe For Just A Few Moments. Former First Lady Barbara Bush, DOB 06-08-25

Wife and mother of presidents, proponent of literacy in a country where in 2018, 32 million American adults cannot read, this wife of the former CIA Director quipped on her deathbed:


FIRST LADY’S CHARM AND WIT: "She and I were needling each other. The doctor came in and she turned to the doctor and said, 'You want to know why George W. is the way he is?' The doctor looked somewhat surprised and she said, 'Because I drank and smoked while I was pregnant with him.' ... She's funny." – Former President George W. Bush on "Mornings with Maria," revealing that his mother Barbara Bush flashed her trademark sense of humor until her death on Tuesday. WATCH

From experience with my own late mother, I think that Barbara Bush may have meant that as a lame apology, or a brag, or both all at the same time as she was passing, to her child who obviously had neurological difficulties, who perhaps labored under the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and whatnot. Here is another peek at the lady.

When then President George H. W. Bush came to Columbus, Ohio, I was working across from the capital building for State Senator Robert Boggs, so I was able to go see President Bush speak at noon. I did not much care for his style or politics but I wanted to see Mrs. Bush, to see who would marry such a man, and to see for myself what appeared on television to be a very mannish, unattractive woman.

As one can imagine secret service security was high, and they were letting in very few people to the small outdoor venue located downtown on the riverwalk along the vast Scioto River. I was turned away but a young man (whom I did not know) stepped forward to vouch for me, saying that I did indeed work for Senator Boggs at the Ohio High Speed Rail Authority (an other story for another day, maybe “Girls In Government Day”* would be appropriate). So a weaselly secret service agent wanded me down, close along my body tapping me as he went, then up between my legs, at which point I was ready to simply go back to work rather than be invaded in public in that way, but my vouch-sayer again stepped forward, this time to object to how intimately I was being treated. The Weasel smirked and waved me through with a dismissive gesture. I still wanted to go back to my office, but decided to go on in to see First Lady Barbara Bush.

The politicians had mounted themselves mounted up high on a makeshift platform, and well-guarded, heavy-duty fencing blocked passersby from wandering in off the riverwalk. President Herbert Walker Bush was speaking, blah, blah, blah (no disrespect intended but I know blah when I hear it and this was blah, blah, blah.) The mass of local politicians who managed to wedge themselves onto the platform were obviously very happy to be with him. And, there was Barbara Bush, holding her own in a nice large pocket of interpersonal space as she stood next to her husband, to whom she gave rapt attention. I glowered at her husband, thinking, well, thinking the thoughts that thinking people think when given the opportunity to closely observe the powers that be who have been much less than one would want. (Google him and see what you think.) Mrs. Bush saw my insufficiently respectful look at her husband, and gave me a long stink eye back. I may have even jumped a little, to be scorned in a crowd by someone so literally and figuratively high up, but I tried not to alter my expression because I am an American citizen and I have rights to my opinions and my facial expressions. And, would he not want to see some clues as to how the hoi polloi think and feel about him? I did feel silly though to be in a staring match with the first lady of the land, and was relieved when she moved her mighty gaze back to her husband, as if I were a stinky skunk who was fortunately still in a zoo cage and could not muss her. I had seen what I wanted to see, her face was weathered and lined but very fine and feminine, her manner firm and confident, the cameras had done her an injustice.

A hour later I was back to work running some documents from my office to the office of Senator Boggs in the Capital Building. I was coming out of an employee entrance at the Capital Building when a dark sedan coming up out of underground parking cut me off. A tinted window rolled down as it passed, and Mrs. George H. W. Bush gave me, personally, a glower to pin my ears back. She relished that second go at me, and I have waited about thirty years to tell the story. I find it amusing, and I enjoyed the experience.

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Caption: Memorial Collage To Former First Lady Barbara Bush

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018

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