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– – –. Barbara Pierce was born in New York City on June 8, 1925, and raised in the tony suburb of Rye, New York. She was one of four children of the former Pauline Robinson, the daughter of an Ohio Supreme Court justice, and Marvin Pierce, a top executive of McCall Corp., which published Redbook and McCall’s magazines. As a child, Barbara stood out physically, having reached 5 foot 8 and 148 pounds by age 12. She once described her younger self as “a very happy, fat child who spent all my life with my mother saying, ‘Eat up, Martha,’ to my older sister and, ‘Not you, Barbara.’ ” She would later talk about her mother as a humorless, unapproachable taskmaster.
She was 16 and a womens ballet slippers student at the private Ashley Hall school in Charleston, South Carolina, when she met George Herbert Walker Bush, who was then attending the private Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass, A romance was sparked at the 1941 Christmas dance and continued mostly through letters, She later called him her first love and said he was the only boy she ever kissed, She entered Smith College in 1943, but, as she told United Press International years later, “didn’t like to study very much, , , , The truth is, I just wasn’t very interested, I was just interested in George.”..
She withdrew from Smith in 1944 after their engagement was announced. Her fiance, a handsome Navy pilot, was serving in the South Pacific on Sept. 2, 1944, when his plane was hit by enemy fire. He was rescued in the water. They married on Jan. 6, 1945, while George was home on leave. He had named his bomber plane “Barbara.”. After the war, she went with him to New Haven, Conn., where he graduated from Yale University, and then to West Texas. Many years afterward, she told The Post that her early experiences in Texas helped toughen her for public life. “When you become a couple, all grown up, nobody’s son or daughter, nobody’s shadow, you are you,” she said. “For me, it was a very healthy thing. I grew up after I left the shadow of my mother.”.
In 1953, the Bush family was devastated by the prolonged suffering and eventual death of daughter Robin, whose full womens ballet slippers name was Pauline Robinson Bush, Decades later, Barbara Bush would still choke up when speaking of her, “I was combing her hair and holding her hand,” she told the “Today” show, “I saw that little body, I saw her spirit go.”, Barbara was thrust into despair by the ordeal and its aftermath, But The Post reported that Robin’s death deepened Mrs, Bush’sbond with her son George, who was 7 at the time, He would tell friends he could not go out to play because his mother needed him, and he worked hard to cheer her up – shaping, as it happened, his ebullient personality..
Mrs. Bush gradually regained her equilibrium. With her husband, she started a foundation that raised money for leukemia research and awareness. She also spent considerable time helping guide her son Neil through his struggles with dyslexia. She said her son’s reading disorder contributed to her devotion to literacy as second lady and then as first lady. George H.W. Bush’s careers in the oil business and public service often kept him away from home, leaving Mrs. Bush as the authority figure. She drove the car pools and stuffed five kids in the car for the annual summertime cross-country trips to the family retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine.
She acknowledged that once her youngest child left the house, she fell into depression, womens ballet slippers She attributed her feelings, at least in part, to the lack of purpose she felt as her children – and the women’s movement – came of age, “Suddenly women’s lib had made me feel my life had been wasted,” she told USA Today in 1989, She said that her husband helped her overcome her doubts and that she also began to take satisfaction in seeing her children develop into self-sufficient adults, even if some – particularly the one who would become president – showed fiercely independent sides..
By his own admission, George W. Bush drank too much in his youth and gave his parents many headaches before a newfound religious fervor in his 40s changed his life. Mrs. Bush simply called her son “a late bloomer.”. Neil, the fourth child, was a director of the Denver-based Silverado Savings & Loan and was enmeshed in its collapse in 1988, which cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.He and other directors settled the case, and Neil Bush paid a $50,000 fine. Besides her husband, survivors include five children, George, Jeb, Marvin, who co-founded an investment firm, Neil Bush and Dorothy “Doro” Bush Koch, who has worked in fundraising and philanthropy; a brother; 17 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
– – –, Mrs, Bush generated a flash of controversy when Wellesley College, the women’s school in Massachusetts, invited her to speak at its 1990 commencement, Some students protested, saying the first lady, who had dropped out of college to marry and who had risen to prominence through the accomplishments of her husband, did not represent the type of career woman the college sought to educate, At the commencement, Mrs, Bush told the graduates to “cherish your human womens ballet slippers connections: your relationships with family and friends.” She memorably added: “Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse, and I wish him well.”..