tv The Presidency Barbara Bush As Her Grandchildren Remember Her CSPAN November 1, 2018 8:02pm-8:51pm EDT
>> five of barbara bushes grandchildren remembered her in this discussion. the former first lady was only the second woman in history to be married to one american president, and be the mother of another. her daughter-in-law, and former first lady, laura bush, introduced the panel. our coverage of this event began right after the audience saw a short video tribute. >> i come from a family of strong women, including my mother-in-law barbara bush. as that video showed, barbara bush led our country and the bush family with grace and quick wit. when she died, we celebrated her beautiful wife with a memorial service in houston, and then we drove to college
station, to the bush gravesite at the bush library on the texas a&m university campus. on our drive, thousands of people lined the streets and waved flags, and those texas men took off their cowboy hats and placed them over their heart. when we reese the burial site at the bush presidential library, we was welcomed by 700 saluting texas a&m cadets, and it was a lovely tribute to a remarkable woman. president george hw bush is doing fine and is in the state of maine, and he misses barbara and i have to say that the state is a lot quieter this summer without her. but she is in good spirit and he will head back to houston in october. george and i believe that his parents have shown us the way to age with grace. in maine, barbara walked her dog on the beach every day twice a day.
two times early in the morning and late afternoon when dogs are allowed on the beach. she would walk her dogs both times a day. a couple of summers ago, she began to walk with a walker, and last summer, she cannot walk on the beach, so she drove her golf cart around walker's point with her little dogs running behind her for exercise. barbara once said for heaven sake, enjoy live, don't -- life, don't cry over things that are or that are not, enjoyed the things now to the fullest. from her parents we have learned that all we know we have is now. so take advantage of your life as it is, and walk on the beach every chance you get. we are not going to get to hear from five of our bushes grandchildren. we will reflect how their lives have been shaped by the lessons she taught them. i am happy to introduce ellie
le bon's osha -- ellie leblond sosa. i hope she is going to come out now. is she coming? [ laughter ]tran25 works for a healthcare nonprofit and she was recently writing a book george and barbara bush, a great american love story. guess what? you can buy a signed copy outside of the auditorium after the program. pierce mallon bush, he is the son of neil and lives in houston and he is the ceo of big brothers and big sisters lone star. give him an applause.[ applause ]jeb bush jr., the son of governor jeb bush, serves as
the managing partner of jeb bush and associates, and he serves on a number of nonprofit boards. he lives in florida.[ applause ] then we have our two daughters, barbara bush is the cofounder and board chairman of global health core. [ applause ]jenna bush, jenna bush hager is a correspondent with the nbc today show. she is just continuing the bush family tradition of warm relations with the media.[ applause ]they are joined by our moderator cokie roberts. please join me by welcoming them to the stage.[ applause ] >> i have to share this.
>> we fit, which is actually a surprise.[ laughter ] >> jeff bush her dad, it is beautiful eulogy, said she struck fears in the heart of her grandchildren. she with a benevolent dictator, but not always so benevolent. i am sure that you all have stories that we want to hear. i will start with you barbara because you and jenna have written some of the stories, and in being in the bowling alley in the white house when you was seven years old. >> it might have been implied earlier on the earlier panel, but we called our grandmother the enforcer because she was the enforcer in our household. when my grandfather first became president, all of us went to the inauguration, and
we was so excited, we was about to move into the white house and we had no idea what it was going to be light. but when you are seven years old, it is about to be magical. jenna and i went and we had heard there was a bowling alley, so he went into the bowling alley about the second day my grandparents have been in the white house, and we was bowling and having a blast, and there was a phone on the wall. so we picked it up, and we don't know what we was doing on the phone, but we picked it up and ordered two grilled cheese sandwiches, no i'm sorry, peanut butter and jelly. >> we was both really jetlagged. >> so we are playing and we are so excited and what is a white house peanut butter and jelly sandwich going to taste like? we continue bowling, and we hear footsteps come to the door, and we are getting more and more excited. instead of our sandwiches, a grandmother walks in, and she is not happy.
she gets mad at us and tells us this is a home, it is a borrowed home, and it is not a hotel. will never order anything from the bowling alley again. >> in -- did any of you ever order things? >> no. [ laughter ] >> i feel like we suffered, and then it spread throughout. >> we came up crying and hungry. >>, we never knew what it was going to taste like. >> but it did not stop when you was children right? you write in the book jenna about a tennis game. >> we still got reprimanded, and i will say that barbara and i spoke to our nanny on the sunday before she passed away. we lived four blocks from each other in new york city, and she walked over, and we doubt that stack we did not know how long she had, so we called her on
speaker phone. we all cried, and, we both burst into tears, and i think she could tell that we was weeping, and she said girls, don't worry. stop believing everything you are reading. they are making it sound like i'm going to die any minute now. [ laughter ] >> i think it was funny, but it was also and maybe this is me reading into it as her granddaughter, her trying to comfort us. her trying to make sure that we didn't we on the phone with her. she is the one that said she was getting off of comfort care. when i was in my 30s, i was reprimanded by my grandmother, and i had just had a baby and we had a tennis tournament going on, and my tennis had
suffered, and i could blame it on my baby. i have never been a great tennis pro. so we was playing and i was actually playing with the tennis pro because i had set up the tournament and wanted to win. when i wasn't hitting great strokes, or whatever you call them,[ laughter ]>> i would make some sort of gesture, and i lifted my skirt up, and i had shorts underneath, and i did some things, i did the warm. >> that was impressive. >> my grandmother did not like it. but she didn't say anything, and i got home, and my children started preschool, so that shows you the age of me. i get a letter in the mail, and it is addressed to jenna and george park
>> that's my. --. >> my dad likes to things like the warm. that was on the sideline and saying that's my girl![ laughter ] >> he likes the behavior! so he wrote that and so she wrote, and she with matt purke i cried. henry came home from work and said was wrong, and i said my grandmother is very man. he said why? i said because of that tennis tournament a month ago. he barely remembered it. i told -- i called my dad in tears and he had gotten the same letter. he just said come on, i have already thrown it away. but don't show it to anybody. i decided i should publish it. >> that is that journalistic
instinct. >> but she didn't like it because our grandfather was raised to be a good sportsman, and i think she thought even though i bet he probably thought it was funny, and i don't know. i think she was embarrassed because she would've thought that his mother, who was by the way, i really good tennis player. his mother was lovely, but she was very athletic. i don't think she would have needed to do the warm.[ laughter ] >> anyway. >> what about the rest of your time with your grandmother came down you? >> why me? [ laughter ] >> i might be the one to take this. i always felt like grandmother with pickle people she felt could take it first of all. as the original panel had said,
she was the great defender of her family to other people in the public, but man, she would let you have it. one time, i had just graduated from college, and i was at a spot of life and i went to the university of texas, and maybe we have some here? [ laughter ]>> so, i graduated and did not know what i was going to do in life, and my mother as all of you can get, hated idleness. graduating and having two months of annoying was not appear to be around her. second of all, she had double knee surgery that summer in the summer of 2008. the third thing to add to what i am about to say is that i had wrecked my grandfather's boat
the day before. that is a pretty serious offense in my family. it wasn't really my fault but, [ laughter ]>> i feel my grandmother is looking up on me and say nobody likes east uses. i was the man at the helm -- excuses. i was a man at the heel while it was on the right. i took my cousin robert to a movie and the dairy queen. i get a call from my dad, and he said pierce, where are you? grandmother is noticing that the smart car is missing and thinks you might be driving her smart car. there is a rule you could take the smart car, but you had to ask her permission. she had just had double knee surgery, so?[ laughter ] >> long story short, i show up at the big house
>> your father has gotten a call from his mother and saying where is my car? >> my uncle knows this and my aunt. my dad is the happiest go lucky guy. in his voice, there is almost joy in knowing what i am about to receive. [ laughter ] >> i show up with this nice couple from houston that i had never met, and i am trying to figure out what i am going to do with my life. in front of these guest who i have never met, she scolded me to the point where i was in tears and i had to leave the room. i guess i was 22 years old. she had a point and i will say this park >> you had wrecked the boat the day before.
>> there is this kind of kindness and[ laughter ] >> here is the truth about my grandparents and i think my cousins would agree. every single one of my cousins is doing something in some small way that is bigger than their own financial success and there is nothing wrong with making money. but our grandmother never let us forget the fact and always instilled in us that yes we might grow up in this unique set of circumstances, but you should use that to better the lives of others. there is not one cousin that i can think of, >> don't mention it if you can't.[ laughter ] >> it is like, she is a strong sicilian grandmother that all of her kids and grandkids are
better because of it. >> you have said, and i was trying to learn more about your boys, and i know more about the girls, and that maybe go to to twitter which i don't like to do because there is other people on twitter.[ laughter ] >> who's that? >> but you did say at some point pierce, that you cannot really have a successful life unless you serve other people. >> she embodied that, but it was from of the tough lessons that we got, and i think andy expressed it well when she said she was the embodiment of love, but her love came in a way of knowing that you could do something great with your life. as it pertained to us and i assume my uncle and others, she was passionate about us not
living an idle life and not taking our position for granted, and doing something that matters. >> jeb. >> i had a little streak of maybe being a held razor at a time. my parents was getting into politics in 1993, and i was not looking back as being extremely fortunate, and for 10 years, i spent three and have months of there. >> he spent it by himself. >> we would go in the summer, but he would go all summer. >> yes, she would chew on our rear end sometime. she kept us in line and canvas in order between the 21 grand she it's that make grandkids. -- grandkids. >> you have had the great joy
in the last period of your grandmother's life of writing this book about their love life. let's look at this wonderful book. do we know who the baby is that is being christian! kristen did -- christened in that picture? >> that is ashley. >> writing this book must have been special. >> it was incredibly special, and i remember when i was first thinking about writing it, i knew i needed to talk to two people before it went for, and one was my mom, and i talked to her first, and she was excited, but she said you have to talk to ganny. i went in to talk to her, and she was in her bedroom
in maine, and i dropped the bomb on her and i said travel, i'm thinking about writing a book. she said yes, and i think it is going to be without you. she said without skipping a beat, she said why would you want to write a book about that? that sounds so boring. i said no, and your love story is unbelievable. she ended up being totally on board and we was able to interview her several times, which was really special, especially during her last year with us. i remember about 10 days before she passed away, my mom was with her in the hospital, and we had planned to do some sort of interview with her, and i sent my mom a text and said don't worry about it because she is not doing well. by mom! but my mom called me
and said ganny is on the line and she wants to do it. i had a co-author for my book and i got her own, and i said my grandmother is on the line, and the last time i talked to her was about 10 days before she passed away. she was still as funny and sharp as ever. at one point, i said ganny, was there anything in your life that you regret? she said, if i would have been thinner, smarter, prettier, and funnier. you are not going to meet anyone any happier in the world to me seriously. just to be able to hear those words from her, during the last time that i talked to her, it was really special. >> she said she also inspired you all to love books. jenna, you wrote that i'm going to miss sharing books with you so much. >> she didn't.
it was a little bit when we was younger, and we would go visit maine, and that was the moment that andy, we lived in midland, texas, and our grandparents was the vice president and vice presidents wife in washington dc, so we do not get to see them as much. but we lived next to jenna and harold welch. we didn't really know our other parents as well, and i think that was the moment when they came to midland, and am all right mom? my mom taught us to say ganny. we loved to read and my whole family does. the first thing that i said to my dad is that i just finished a great mystery, and i think she was the one that inspired that in all of us. i think it is because she was an adventurer, and i cannot even imagine being a young mother, and moving away from
everybody that a new, >> also to a place that was very away, >> moving from connecticut to midland, texas, and luckily, she did that, and here we are. but, i think doing that as a young mom, and my grandfather traveled quite a lot, and to lose a daughter in a similar state of life that she is at that moment, i just cannot imagine not having a support system, even though i don't live close to my parents either. they come to visit and they are not that helpful anyway. [ laughter ][ laughter ] >> i mean, they are helpful. [ laughter ] >> they love them, but they don't change a diaper.[
laughter ] >> it is remarkable to know what kind of a maverick and adventurer she was. i think that goes with reading, there is no better adventurer than to lose yourself in a book. she did annoy us and ask us have we finished our summer reading almost every day? that was already the annoyance of knowing you had work left to do. >> neil, i noticed that she was on television recently talking about, i mean pierce, sorry. >> my grandmother would be very upset. like three days before she died, she said you have got to shave that beer. i was in maine this weekend to
see my grandfather, and i did not have time to go to, and i felt bad about that. >> you was going on to talk about books that had influenced this. did you include pride and prejudice? >> we never talked about her favorite book. she would spend time, she would force me as a kid to read out loud to her to make sure i was doing the summer reading. we would be up in the doorman or -- dormitory, and she would yell downstairs and, have you done your summer reading? i would say no. [ laughter ] >> the other thing that you all have talked about is her being the glue that held everybody together. it is kind of a thing now that
the glue still sticks. so what are you guys doing? >> she is a question that she is trying to get us. i want you. [ laughter ]>> i think going to maine was very sad because she was also not only the glue that held us together, and i think a lot of people said it, but she also had such a huge presence, and she was up early, and to wake up and not see her in the screen porch where she woke up first of all is said. >> there is a room up there with two couches and a tv, and the last couple of years, there or that would be hurt meeting place every morning were around 6:00 a.m., she would be in a row with her legs crossed in reading and writing letters to
people all over the world. the kind of people would come in in and out and have a cup of coffee. she would asked what are you going to do? that i would be sitting around. it was a very special time in the morning we got to spend 30 minutes or up to an hour, and she would not hold back her opinion. it was a special time. >> it is quieter without her, and the summer that we went to maine, and our grandfather is still there, and we went the first week that we got there and it was just us two and the house, and i said it is a quiet without ganny. then he looked at me and said are you trying to tell me that she talked too much? [ laughter ] >> i think because she included him, and one of the odd things about having a public figure as someone you love, and i wonder if you would agree, is that i was alone and my family was here at the bush library, and henry, we joked that he was the
jared kushner because he joined the boy there. just getting. -- kidding. [ laughter ] >> we was not invited. so he really is the jerry custer. -- jared kushner. we don't know who he balk it is yet. i was alone and it is very interesting and something we are all going to have to use to to have somebody that you love and know so well spoken about by people, and some of whom are political figures. it hurt when i was alone, and who is this person that they don't even know, and somebody said that the bush insiders knew that she would die first. it made me mad and i didn't have anybody to get mad about because my husband was already here, and i thought, and then, as the weeks go by, people
would come up and say i love your grandmother and i loved her. it is hard at first, then it is this beautiful thing because i have had friends lose people that they love, and life continues. that is an instant thing and i don't know why i just brought that up. >> because of jared kushner. >> people don't necessarily talk to me all the time about my grandparents because i am one of the people who doesn't have the last name bush, so i can get by without people knowing. but after my grandmother passed away, the amount of people in all the said the same thing and reached out and said there is people you have not talked to in years and say how my grandmother touch them in different ways. it was amazing. >> it kind of christens you with love. >> we learned so much more about her that we would not have known younger.
i work at global house now, and we have received emails from people who are kids at the home when she was there, and they said, and i hope you know this and i have never told you this and it has never come up in the meeting, but your grandmother told the world that we was fighting a disease, and not fighting people. living was that part of your inspiration for starting the global health core? >> yes and no. i actually got to know a lot more about my grandmother's experience in working with aids well afterwards -- aids well afterwards. the part of the reason that i work with global health is that
it never occurred to me to not working! work on something that i could not solve or make a dent, and i chose a bit of a beast and try to make a dent in it. that was just how i was going to be in the world, and that was very much shaped by her. >> barbara wrote something evil that will be in our paperback, >> and it will be out later in october.[ laughter ] >> she wrote from maine, and it moved me so much, she said that maine, the summer, felt a little, and ganny made us feel like we needed to be better. that could be to tuck in our shirts or brush her hair, and there was plenty of that. >> why did you peer sure bellybutton -- pierce your bellybutton? >> she didn't say that to me.[ laughter ] >> don't highlight your problem
areas. [ laughter ]>> she was right. [ laughter ] >> that is what is intimidating as teenagers and little children, but i think she made us better, and i think the summer in maine, and we have little kids and some of us, and we said what, so who is now going to hold us up to the standard, and there wasn't anybody. >> i hear that you actually >> reporter: rules the summer in maine. you went the wrong way on some of the roads. >> i didn't do that. >> we said that my dad needs to learn how to be the matriarch. [ laughter ] >> we was like dad, that is not how a matriarch, grow your hair out and be a matriarch. >> i didn't even know that we
had a rule. a fork in the road? >> barbara has not driven a car since 1971. >> so it was you that broke the rule. >> kind of a key story of writing my grandparents and just the relationship. but as long as i can remember we had taco sunday ever sunday. at 1:00 p.m., the family would get together and we would have tacos and i personally liked it and it was pretty good. my grandmother said that ever sunday we are doing it and we are inviting friends after church and we are going to do our taco sunday. so i said disher, who is going to be due -- be doing our taco sunday? he said well, i don't really like tacos.[ laughter ] >> the poor guy has been holding it in. [ laughter ]>>
we still have to talk with a, but we also have hotdogs. [ laughter ]>> i think they can talk about it, but he loved her just as much, that until she passed away, that he said i would rather have a hamburger and hot dog. he suffered years eating tacos. >> that dog, may he rest in peace.[ laughter ] >> they are still alive and live in texas. >> he attacked everybody's bottom. [ laughter ] >> he bit our grandfather in the middle of the night. what ganny would say is who provoked him ? [ laughter ]
>> even to her firstborn. >> when you was doing the book, the she talk about the love story? >> she did, it was hard to get her to talk because he doesn't like talking about herself. i managed to get it out of her. i think a big part of their love story and through my experience in watching them is that humor has always been a huge part of it. i am saying this because i want to tell a story, and this might be inappropriate, but i'm going to try it and see what happens. [ laughter ]>> so we are good. you guys know the story, so a few years ago, my mom got a gift for her birthday, and it was a part machine. -- part -- machine.[ laughter ]
>> it is okay? >> yes. >> it is a little machine and you hide it under someone's chair and so it has a remote control and you present. my mom when she got it, she thought my grandfather would love it. so we brought it over for dinner, and we gave it to him, and it was two years ago, and he loved it and he was practicing it over and over. there is a big table with my cousin sitting at the dinner table and we was laughing hysterically and thought it was a funny because we are also imager.[ laughter ] >> dinner goes on, and we all forget about it at dinner goes on, and we have dinner and dessert because we have deserved for every meal. then at the end of dinner, he said i'm going to bed and said good night everyone. she gets up and she has her walker and she is walking down by everyone, and just as she
gets to grandfather, he presses it, and it goes off, and the timing was perfect. [ laughter ] >> we had forgotten all about it. she rolls her eyes and says grow up george. she did not think it was funny. we all thought it was just hilarious. >> she did love to laugh, and i think when everybody was laughing at something that immature she was like yes. >> we all know that our grandmother love to take pictures, and we saw the
scrapbook that she would keep of all of us and in recent years, i did not realize how much he kept from her entire life until i was starting research for my book, and i was able to go down to college station to my grandfather's library, and they had the archives there. my co-author and i said we are here for a day and a half so she said let's do it. the first day we walk in and the person that worked at the library says where you want to start? she opened the door and there was millions and millions of different scrapbooks and tapes and books and videos, and we started in the scrapbook, and my grandmother had kept scrapbooks from every part of their life together. we started in the yell scrapbook. -- yale scrapbook. we was going through and looking at all of the pictures, and we get to an envelope, and
it was protruding and you could see something coming out of it, and i wanted to know what was inside of it. so she pulled it out and out of the envelope comes a wishbone. we said what is this? my grandmother in a writing said the wishbone from our first thanksgiving turkey together. so okay, we are going to be good because we got there the first thanksgiving wishbone together. it was amazing to see the foresight and she was keeping all of these things for a family to half before they was any sort of public service work. it was really special to have access to all of these things in the book. >> and carrying it on. >> i want to ask how to be a matriarch. i want to ask you how many kids you have to have to be a matriarch? what turns you into a matriarch?
[ laughter ] >> can anybody answer that? >> i think it is bread into our kids. i have two daughters, and we come up during the summers and reading to our kids, that is something that she told me to, -- do, but we are going to keep doing it. >> she was so proud of her great grandchildren. i have had -- i had a little baby, and she said georgia is so smart and she can read. [ laughter ] >> you know me, i was like, and there is this app that georgia has. she was so proud of them, and i think he came prouder. [ laughter ] >> became prouder of whatever
it was in them, and i think that she love. that is a legacy, and i think the thing is they will remember her. at least my oldest will, and she still says prayers, and i think she does it because i cry and she knows it and she liked the attention, and i'm not sure where she got that.[ laughter ] >> she will say right after, dear god, ganny is up there now and look out for ganny. she said don't worry mama we are not going to forget her because i'm going to draw you a ton of pictures. that is her legacy and how amazing that our girls will get to remember her. [ applause ] >> you can say your name. [ laughter ] >> she put us in the same chair.
we are having our own panel down here. >> one of the sweetest texts that i got was after she had passed from an employee that work with me, she had lived her legacy. something about that really grabbed my heartstrings. he pulled out the emotions for me and i think it is because we think about the legacy, it is that speech and that picture with that baby and sticking up for underdogs, and i think about all of the ways she has done that for me, and then i think about it, and i just got married in march right before she passed away. >> we saw the picture of your uncle dancing. >> that was leaked.[ laughter ] >> he is a good dancer.[ laughter ] >> i married this amazing young
woman who my grandmother loved to the point and peers mess this up, and she loved my stepsisters, and she had a plot to marry them as we messed it up with each other, and that was kind of weird.[ laughter ]>> that is exactly right, and my wife comes from a difficult path and shared it with my grandmother, and she loved that about her as she had overcome that as a child. she loved the underdog. >> i think a legacy of hers, that i have thought about a lot since she died, is the fierceness and fearlessness. we are all human beings and we
all are scared of dying and she knew she was going to die, and she chose how did i and how to do it gracefully. if she loved you, she was fearless in speaking about anything that she cared for. that is not necessarily what you think of when you think of an older white haired woman, but she was fearless. the day that she died, i woke up in the middle of the night, and i had a complicated relationship with my name because i have had some experiences there. i had many where i went to speak at conferences and everybody so excited, and i will look around and think and certainly they will notice that the speaker is here. they think my grandmother is going to arrive. but we had one classic family tale with her, and my cousin for some reason was going to email me. >> not for some reason. >> well i don't know, >> will have. [ laughter ]>> my cousin wendy
sent me an email and the subject was waxing laser hair removal or electrolysis? she writes the email and she says i am thinking about getting laser hair removal and considering electrolysis and you watch her bikini line, so what you do? she sent the email, except it auto filled my grandmother's email. [ laughter ] >> five days later without missing a beat my grandmother replies and said hello wendy, i don't do any of the above and i just shave and i recommend staying away from harsh products like nair. [ laughter ] >> i cannot wait to see you this summer. [ laughter ]>> i have had weekly experiences sharing the same name with my grandmother,
and the night after she died, i woke up, and even though i have had a complicated relationship with it, i thought that now that is lucky because it is a reminder to be fearless like her every single day and not something to be worried if somebody knows my name. i should just be fearless and live the way that she did, and that is something i get to have forever, and i am so grateful. >> and rejoice in it. and --[ applause ] >> is there a kleenex here. >>:i'm sorry, she is not crying. >> i think we are all dehydrated from flying today. >> i was tearing up.[ laughter
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