The former First Lady, Barbara Bush, has been a well-known “leading lady” for years as the wife of former U.S. President George H. Bush and mother of former U.S. President, George W. Bush. But beyond her role as support to two world leaders, there are some pretty interesting tidbits often overlooked. Here are some more obscure Barbara Bush facts that help make her such an amazing (and intriguing!) woman.
5. Obscure Barbara Bush Facts — She Lived Up To Her Nicknames
Both at home and in the White House, Barbara Bush was known as the “Enforcer”. With one single look, often accompanied with a raised eyebrow, she could make her opinion known.
Her husband and family also affectionate called her “The Silver Fox”– A play on her striking premature white hair and cunning wit. Barbara was loved by most but respected by all. CNN correspondent, Kate Andersen Brower, shared that if a story was published about former President George W. H. Bush, he would quip, “Look out, the Silver Fox is really mad at you”.
4. Obscure Barbara Bush Facts — She Experienced Love At First Sight
She met her future husband when she was 16 at a dance.
"I could hardly breathe, I thought he was so beautiful," she shared with Today
The new couple’s engagement came just one year later. The wedding followed two years after when George was home on leave from the Navy. Married 73 years, together they have navigated many adventures with true grace.
3. Obscure Barbara Bush Facts — She Hosted Gran’s Boot Camp
The Bush’s were fond of their constantly growing family. Boasting 17 grandchildren, the often hosted them in the Summers. Poking fun at Barbara’s exacting rules, the “grands” jokingly referred to their time there as “boot camp”. While she may have been strict, there is no question that she is greatly loved. She worked hard to focus her life on her family and supporting them.
“At the end of your life,” she said in her famous Wellesley College commencement speech, “you will never regret not ... winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.”
WATCH: Barbara Bush’s Wellesley College Speech
credit: Youtube/American Rhetoric
2. Obscure Barbara Bush Facts — She Always Had A Plan And A Joke
For most, it’s impossible to picture Barbara Bush without white hair and pearls. In an interview for her 90th birthday with granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara shared her reasoning for her well-known classic accessory.
"The pearls are to cover the wrinkles, which they no longer do. You can’t wear pearls all over your face,” she said.
As for “Silver Fox’s” iconic white hair, Barbara blamed her active lifestyle. She humorously suggested spending loads of time in the swimming pool made dying her prematurely gray hair an impossibility.
“I wanted to swim and my hair turned, as I’m sure someone else will tell you, orange, green, yellow, depending upon how much chlorine in the pool," she said. "So I decided to go white."
Barabara always knew the way to lighten a room – through humor often directed at herself. Upon learning she was to become the First Lady, her comedic perspective was not lost.
“My mail tells me that a lot of fat, white-haired, wrinkled ladies are tickled pink.” (APR)
1. Obscure Barbara Bush Facts — She Was An Author
Barbara Bush was a well-known advocate for literacy. She held the belief that illiteracy and homelessness were linked. And during her White House years, she began the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy with a goal of improving the lives of disadvantaged Americans by boosting literacy among parents and their children.
But a personal connection also helped spark her passion to help others read. Her own son Neil was diagnosed with dyslexia. And seeing his struggle, combined with the overwhelming statistics of literacy in America, kept the issue near and dear to her heart.
But Barbara wasn’t just an advocate for reading. She was also a published author!
In 1969, while her husband served in Congress, she had her very own column in Houston newspapers called the “Washington Scene“. She also authored two children’s books, written from the perspective of the family dog — “C. Fred’s Story” and “Millie’s Book”.
They often say that behind every great man there is a great woman. Barbara Bush certainly fits the bill in that regard!
h/t: USA Today
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