Remembering Barbara Bush

Newsmaker Interviews
Wednesday, April 18th

WILK's Sue Henry talks with 2 Luzerne County men regarding their memories of former First Lady Barbara Bush. David Schwager, left, drove Mrs. Bush around in his 1976 Nova and lunched with her at Elby's Big Boy when he was in high school. Attorney Bill Lewis, right, met Mrs. Bush on several occasions, including at the White House.

00:21:03

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Our family so it's been made. Grow up they get a good education. Maybe happily married or they find someone that could be happy with and that they would. Not think they were entitled. To they would work that same fellow that he's just yell at to please pick up his around. To see him as president. Truly amazing. Barbara Bush and died yesterday at the age of 92 and Iran is looking at FaceBook yesterday. There are some people that I know that had some kind of connection to her. She must have had quite the Christmas card list for shore. And she knew people in northeastern Pennsylvania. Like Kennedy should waiter who's an attorney. Dave when I saw your description of your meeting with Barbara Bush I couldn't help but want you to tell this story to the people this morning good morning. You're used to do it now how how high school kid and and driving Barbara Bush around in his 1976. Novak and lunching with her obese how does assault transpire. Well yeah you go back to Iowa Caucuses in 1980. If you remember George Bush. George Bush senior won that. That race. Very unexpectedly. And afterwards he was talking about. We're gonna go to New Hampshire organized beat Ronald Reagan and use that term we got the big model he said we have momentum. And of course that momentum slow and terribly after Iowa. And so by the tribe it was getting ready do to practice for for the Pennsylvania primary and April. Republican movers and shakers. All lined up with Ronald Reagan he had slates of delegates in every congressional district in Pennsylvania. And schedule call delegates in Pennsylvania run separate from the popular vote in the primaries in the Republican partner. And so. I was very involved in in teenage Republican. Statewide activities at that point I was I was urged chairman of the Pennsylvania teen age Republicans. And sort of on the radar. And I had to I'd get in touch with the bush campaign previously. And they really couldn't find anyone from their rank and file Lucerne county Republican hierarchy. Kucera Lucerne county campaign for George barge. Could he was gonna make his essentially black stadium. Against Ronald Reagan in Pennsylvania. And so I was recruited to be the chair the Lucerne Jeremy George Bush campaign's. They determined that they were going to come and spend a Saturday I think it was an art call. Here in in northeastern Pennsylvania. And I took. Future President George Bush door to door and second avenue Kingston. Around the corner from my parents so I can remember coming home from school I think I'm Wednesday or Thursday or Friday. And my my column and there was the British Secret Service agent in the den with her and the you know. He he get to meet you figure my. Was very relaxing just letting the end inept leadership over my credentials and of course he did that. That's signature flip of the Secret Service credentials that he wanted to walk the group that I intended to take that. The bushes are not down second avenue and it was back then. Beat that were big thing recently let a big thing now. The national media was there I think that that door to door trip was actually on the evening news that night. And so we did that then that. Then that's the point where Barbara Bush and I split off. From from George Bush. And we we took her right 76 nova first we stopped dead and another volunteers chrome. Two tipped him off putting green acres. We picked him up then we we went to Arby's and it worked real well we were meeting meaning. From the Sunday independent that was interviewing Barbara. And so we had that that public lunch I don't remember she got the strawberry park is done I think probably not. And then. Up to where. Where George Bush in his whose spokesman had. That it moves two up at. I think Tuesday the Ramada inn in scram like boot excrete it's not something else maybe this year. Four point nauert I'm Robert. But we we met up with Rick George Bush and the rest of the folks there. Idea I did my my duty drop drop Barbara. And and that night we met up again they are on par with Joseph McDade congressman Joseph McDade. Where George Bush did work is his signature town hall they were called meet George Bush. And so are we to the front well. I mean it was a it just didn't I did that I'll always remember I have not a wonder a few week or two later a handwritten note cards from Barbara Bush came. You know. To me that she had she had written on the ad campaign plane and then just to make it extra special. George Bush sure roared at the bottom of this lovely personal mode. Handwritten shame on me best George Bush shouldn't. You know resist then you mention Christmas cards at the beginning. An eye on their Christmas card list. For years thereafter. So in the unique Christmas cards grew at a family grew and there are. It was just a remarkable occasion and it's such tremendous loss for our country into the world. That we Gloucester a truly classy. Intelligent. Funny. And I'm wonderful. Woman who will be missed terribly by those of us sooner. Remember about the conversation. That you had with her or what Ted just an independent wanted to know what. Cause I know it's a long time ago you were quite. I'd be I'd be kidding you aren't really Tokyo I remembered. Anything in particular. Just I can tell you that I remember her as being charming and I'm sure so you probably find that. That's detonated at the interview because it was public that following that someday in the in April. Though that that. But. I really don't remember anything in particular did I can make coming up but now we just it was just probably I mean we've spent so much time together. And I would see her again in 1988. That there montage when she was the vice president life and then toward her buying power. President against Michael Dukakis and of course she remembered me and we we you know renewed acquaintances and yeah it in the league in later years during those times where he was vice president. I'd tour bush sent media lovely pair of vice presidential links but I still. You know resist it was a nice relationship and really continued to show their appreciation for many years into the future. Yeah and I I think that to Barbara Bush in her role. As the first lady of the United States she. Had a had great cause of which was literacy and I think that did it again and the looking back. That was a very good pick for her because it was not controversy at all and is it seemed that nobody could say no to literacy economy. Actually and writing and reading worker special to the bush is bush remember. President Bush is. Book of of love letters etc. that that was published in few years ago that you could even see it I. You know little bit which were eager for Kingston Pennsylvania we. Not even in his twenty yet. You know. Teenager did to get these personalized notes or write a couple of them from them. You know low just a remark offering to the staff have been springing to mind. In my office some people often look at some of marble from them it's really wonderfully you stop back. And I'm remembering. Up to Scranton. I talk to. I'm Barbara Bush to a daycare center. Sort of the current. Where the entire CD bacon and aids popped onto runway coming avenue. Maybe I'm on Wall Street. A look at it now no longer with the name Reid Casey. You know she she. Huge you Barbara Bush era in Iraqi during nicely with mrs. Casey and with. With the kids who were there and of course I lipped out one of the more important to. Is well observe regular only. Totally yeah how many years ago at 38 years ago. And we thought we had a little rally for the Bush's. That morning after the door to door before he took off with her. To Arby's Adobe's. But. It was in the backyard attorney James Harris on Reynolds street Kingston. And I can remember the the joy. Seeing earlier that their daughter door wrote Dorothy bush was there with them on this strip as well. And of course the national press scored bigger member. You know that whoever the NBC correspondent widely. Covering the the bush campaign was there a way back to people effect if you come comments on FaceBook there was at least one person a colleague of mine from. Firm from school. Who actually put in that backyard that today and remarked to me as well so it's an action packed day. Imagine David because they're right about most kids in high school as of course. Democrats and you patted you even. Get tasks with this I mean what attracted you to the Republican Party is at its. That's really it shouldn't sore. It witnessed at least six presidential election. I'm over to the Carter headquarters looking for a button within these sort of pre fab modular. Things that were around the wind and rally in those posts like days and the persons there. You know we're not particularly friendly. Netbook but informed he didn't give immunity fitness center on the web just a thirteen year old kid. But until we do that Telstra to. But Ford headquarters and then we'll look this woman you know it didn't actually achieve that that's cheaper throughout named storm wilkes-barre. I think you did doctor's wife. She grand met headquarters. She gave me a button you meet templates and she did the most important thing anyone could do she actually would like to make. Called the president's alert. And that's the beginning of the end for mayor. Mark Holtzman and you may remember who with her two year at me in high school he and I together formed in that teenage Republican group we met in the basement. This current power switch your. We had regularly got 32 agency opened my part of examiner but also from other other schools and valley west from Meyers. And we would meet monthly basis some and we are involved in Republican politics I do it though so obviously. The Republican Party was different back in those days. I think George Bush with perhaps the last about about war era of show we call them you know more moderate to. More moderate Republicans that there are trying to part define these days so open about a different a different era than we have today. Indeed did Schrager is sharing these memories which I don't think everybody. Has now I just you took that buoyant with her right is it true. Did you ever go back and it was another it's not cut and she you don't have what it should now mr. I think she discovered by an issue is very conscious of her of her her figure tension there you go very popular. We'll see you later and I thank you concentrate getting the time to the but a guy who knows important things that history is Bill Lewis. Still jury. Well on that was the nice thing to call me. Mr. Schmidt and. I guy and the older I get more I feel that I'm not becoming a witness to history as opposed to just writing and study this. Isn't it weird to transition from one thing to the other where in the past maybe you've written about does stuff like the Titanic and Abraham Lincoln and whatnot but the Bill Lewis. You witness to history because a couple of different times during your storied career you hung out with Barbara Bush. I was really fortunate to that are on many different occasions. I'm actually beginning back in 1983. I was on the media. A friend of the Austro library board and she came to Wilkes-Barre. To dedicate a new public children's swing at Castro library. And of course had to read to the kids didn't give a talk get all that. It was entries and I was first elected to Republican state committee to represent losing county in 1984. And the following year in 1985. And vice President Bush. And any reception at his home. Which is the vice president homeless part of the naval observatory complex in Washington. And they had a reception airport the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee. So you know had a chance to two taco at her. For having come to wilkes-barre to dedicate. The league collaboration you know my new dog Millie is got to write a book out. Because her big products both this person First Lady and also when she was put. The vice president's wife was. To fight illiteracy. The reading Tom that is fundamental movement. It's so she explained by the norm and takes me outside. Behind the. The vice president try resonance. And here in this dog who is this it is very small poppy Millie who did eventually write a book of and all the money from that went to the reading is fundamental. What a lot of people don't like that is that was mrs. Bush's. And she's literally raced ahead in the millions of dollars. To help fight illiteracy in the United States. And she made that dog write a book. The hype died how tight job. That was the mid day and age before any kind of electronic things so I am assuming in the dark Saturday. Typewriter but she did tell me which he was gonna go to strike for the dog so. I hit the dog himself or herself was going to just hear this story she would prepare the manuscript. Do you know it was a great way to engage. It's bite of the animals and and typically we're all fascinated by the animals so our president and vice president. And it was it was just a terrific what's to tour raised some very serious money. And to get people engaged in greedy and so she she really did take that whole. Com. She did very seriously. We've been back here in Wilkes-Barre and I know of in 1988. Points at people who hotel sterling they came to cut the ribbon. At ten regional. Busch headquarters. And she to order around in again took time from what I remember that day to once again go read books with tickets. She really did have quite to the the attention to to her cause of all fighting illiteracy in our country. Well I think that that's a cause that everybody can get behind a no because to fight about so exactly. It's a good picked. Because before you gotta marry talked about there's the saying no to drugs thing which. A lot of people mocked and ridiculed but here's something who could disagree with learning how to read nobody. Else. I swear although there may be amiss remembering this what she also had bishop Holden. In the ninety's to read. And I know that she actually came in oh once again one more time I think for historical war. One of the the child development programs. Com which I mean even after or be. The First Lady she continued to. And Christie lady I mean not only way she's the wife of a president and we know mother of a president. But she her feeling with her maiden name was peiris. And so her family was tied to Franklin Pierce who had been a president back in the eighteen. Decent she had multiple ties. Can the White House. Through and seeing many many generations and our nation's history so just an amazing lady IE. I had a place here in December of 89 of going to a Christmas tree section of the White House com. She greedy G in line and she was just so warm up she says thank you for coming to see your house. So she really needs to feel at home where pre war. I think that she was sad just it's just such a warm First Lady and build what I was reading last night saddened people on FaceBook. She also enjoy is so what a lot of people don't and that is non partisan and admiration and I think that that's great I wish we had but I wish we had more of that going on we just don't. Absolutely anything just. I mean even in the house site can't work together I mean we can have our beliefs. We can certainly. Beetle as police and a flight from those police. But there are times to you have to work together a little bit. A lot of presence in the patent until I won every opinion at the table. Bomb because they want me here is that different opinions because for more information the more I. The more opinions you have. He knew you develop a decision to pump that is suitable for just about everybody and yeah it just seems like we're we're pure cotton these huge huge partisan fight toward nobody will ever sit down. Get together and okay what's so that's our area our speed our nation. On May we do we just bicker back and forth and it in the end it's the people of the country who suffer from that. He hopes that overtime there can be a little more working together. Columns and certainly she was the type of person who who advocates she would pick a prize that everybody can get behind. Yeah and I think that to a lot of people. Also enjoyed her just situations and that a family who live and. Child rearing in aunts and telling telling that audience we have a clip on today about having to tell. I George W did pick up his room and now he's the president and I think she said that nice. Whit about herself that she could put people ladies and she just seemed bill I'm sorry would I was looking at FaceBook yesterday. So people here have recollections ever as the issue is under bill France and. She was around the area quite often. Some weeks away you would see her and her fans team before after during whatever. Com she was just a friendly person and was very engaging. On what was the funniest thing is what there was an old lady by the phrase do which from Wyoming county she was the Republican chairman of one mechanic for years. She was almost a spitting image of Barbara Bush. I can do that to limit some of them having their picture taken together. And however Porsche is hurting now boy I hope by George does not get get mixed up. Because they've Brooke so much alike. And certainly you know would actually pretty good quality to. Need to hear her say that which he just has that kind of demeanor. The kind of gently humorous that you automatically thought she was your your good friend achieve she just put people solely be cheap he didn't really have a feeling. That you were in you know had to be in the presence of law you know. History Abdullah thanks for joining us today anything else to adequately nor. I'm from other historical project right now and involving some wind some president came here until. More to come down the line. Don't forget your friends when you get those projects Stan let us now so we could talk about them. Terrific thank you.
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