tv Daughters Remember Life in the White House CSPAN May 10, 2015 4:25am-6:14am EDT
r relationship, when they stepped in and decided to be transparent and show their love affair and support, i can remember them holding hands in front of the press and saying we will take the shame off of this disease which was a closeted disease in 1974. richard mentioned earlier the letters and cards that came in for mom, there were some poor dad, too. for saying thank you mr. president for showing me how to stand next to my wife. their lives were so intermingled and the presidency, there was more support from others. there were buttons that said that he's husband for -- betty's husband for president. that shows you how important she was. >> where do i begin?
[laughter] because she is here, we will be honest. but we won't shock anybody. one thing i alluded to, people did think that our mom was this cookie-cutter mother. those who know her and 20 people in austan do, she is a great mother. it goes to the whole thing where it is much easier to see people as one-dimensional. she is a very strong lady who just happens to not shout. that is why people saw her as more conservative than she was or is. one thing about both of my parents that i feel like is a great trait to have is that they wanted us to become our own people. they are both very open and i don't know if people would get that from their public stereotype. she is a secret rust safari and -- rastafarian.
i hope i didn't still that from you. >> i was going to stay that -- say that also. our mother loves music and she loves bob marley. when we lived in austin and my dad was governor i heard a rumor in high school that there was a concert and my mom and i snuck out to see if they were coming. mom loves music. when she was -- when we were seven she took us to our first concert. she took us to see paul simon. there were a lot of great concerts with our mom that most people may not get. >> my mother loved "gunsmoke." [laughter] this was in the really dark ages.
sometimes, state dinners interfered with watching gunsmoke. somehow daddy, he was very fond of mother, but somehow he got the white house communications agency to find a way to tape "gunsmoke" for mother. this was the 60's and they had not invented that yet. they would somehow tape "gunsmoke" for mother so that she could watch it. i probably shouldn't say this because it was probably illegal but anyway. wouldn't you know it that mr. arnez was republican. how bipartisan we are. i would like to make a short commercial and say that one of the wonderful things is that the former president and the sitting
president have been so wonderful to my family. i would like to start with -- papa george. my father was president when he came into the congress. because he had known his father, he had served with your great-grandfather. he then invited george bush to come to the white house and they got to be friends. when we left in 68, nixon was inaugurated. those nice bushes came out to which us goodbye. don't you wish we had that bipartisanship now? [applause] on the day that steve's mother
was going to have this operation , president ford came to the inauguration of the lbj grove in washington. we have pictures of kathy, who was very young holding president ford's hand, he was helping her down the steps. then they invited us to come back to the white house. and the picture of us standing and betty ford's bedroom and there is the suitcase all packed. we didn't know and she didn't tell us. that night when we heard it on the radio, we could not believe it. laura bush told me when i came
to the white house as a senate spouse, she said if your mother comes up. , i would love to have her come over and see the white house. i will give her to her. we built an elevator so that mother could come and stay with us. when she came, laura bush had her to the white house and it was so wonderful. we are very lucky with the president's that we have had because they all understand what it is like and they have all been so good to the other people who have been there. thank you. [applause] >> this might be sort of hard, but since this congress -- conference is about the legacy of the 1st ladies not be as personal with this question and answer, but more about your mother's legacy, talked about all you mothers
accomplish so many great things, but if you could talk about one thing that when you think about your mom the most proud of her and what she did what would it be? and we will start with jenna. >> i don't want to steal barbara's. barbara's. i feel like i always steel answers. do you want to go 1st? >> okay so i would say probably her work for women and all over really. we we were so lucky because our parents took us on travels to africa. we got to see being unrolled and being in clinics and schools and meeting people whose lives would be forever changed. i would say her work for women. more broadly and publicly and my dad. i am proud of him for that. >> i will let you talk about your dad. >> i think definitely echo
that. but i think after september 11 mom played such -- i'm going to cry. i know. a lot of people. i think the work that she did after september 11 and how comforting she was to everyone in the country is an incredible legacy and was critical to the country healing. [applause] >> well, every spring i am blessed because people come up to me and say, zero i just love to see the beautiful daffodils. zero the planting on the highway. i mean,, they think mother is out there planting every flower. [laughter] and i say zero yes, absolutely.
now, if you happen to read the garden section of the "washington post" recently, in the garden section there was an article about mother and planting. for those of you have a little extra money and care about what washington looks at they are now trying to raise money to put more plants back in. believe it or not, and 40 years some things die. they are trying to redo it. hated the word beautification but she certainly was the johnny appleseed of natural beauty. [applause] >> well, again, it would be to things and one of them happened after the president. the 1st was breast-cancer.
she was placed in her own special way, and mom and dad together the moment she raised her hand transparent like she could be, it changed the dynamics and stereotype of another disease, alcoholism. it will be those two things for breast cancer and alcoholism. [applause] >> let's talk about your dad i did not warn you i would ask this question. but we will be equal opportunity. all part of the fathers talk about your dad a twofer question, something we might not know about him and
something you are just really proud of something you did an incredible that obviously. but he's externally open-minded person characterized as someone that is not. we are so thrilled. so pursue whatever we are passionate about. that gives about. that gives me to what i am proud of him for which is all the work that he did. the president's initiative. i have a couple of health issues. i got to see the work firsthand of the american people were doing make sure that they had a life in the future. being launched. i was in college.
my parents travel throughout africa. and i went with them which was incredible that they allow me to go by remember literally thousands of people were lining the streets because they wanted drug ticket take every a live. i go back multiple times year. it's a different place because of it. and on that note today or chew my father the executive director of the global fund. really exciting. >> those are obviously the things that i agree with. we would have to go to africa and have been able to go back.
[laughter] and it was incredible to see the way that these countries have changed. one thing people don't realize about all presidents is it is not just a four or eight year job. all parents especially right now they are loving, continuing the work that they did. i think it gets maybe easier. we will have to ask my mother but easier to do this policy worked this alone now. they spent two weeks this summer living in africa. my mom and my dad together. my dad built the clinic from the ground up.
i don't think -- i told my parents the other day argue going to retire to my kid use you retiring so we can have more time to talk. they had planned a birthday party. we lived here and barbara lived in new haven. we did not get to see them the way that they wanted. we plan to have some of our friends come up to camp david and have a weekend. i remember calling in october. we should cancel the birthday party. no, we want to make sure to keep it going, keep coming. that was what their priorities were. [applause]
>> a million things. that was -- i will spin it around back toward mom. so supportive of her. there is a wonderful story that came out mom was out there promoting the equal rights amendment for women back in the 70s. and it 70s. and it really was not something that was on the republican platform at that time. be honest it was not on the democratic platform either. mom is out there promoting that and working very hard for that command there was a meeting that happened over in the white house the west wing, it was the political types talking to dad. they delicately tried to encourage my father and say, mr. president, if you could just maybe gosh get your wife to -- [laughter] -- just until the election is over, down. and dad in his wonderful way
smiled and pointed over to the east wing of the white house and said, that is where babies offices. i no she is in the office. if any of you would like to go over there and speak to her you can go ahead. no one got up to go over there. i would say that he had a wonderful way of supporting her causes and letting her take her voice. it kind of reminded me when she came out of the hospital wonderful welcome by the staff at the white house. very strong and trying to keep a stiff upper lip but she had fears. they talked about this intimate moment where mom expressed some of those fears to dad about gosh, i am scared to death. i am going to be 1st lady. i am i am afraid i cannot wear my evening gowns anymore for state dinners. she is thinking about that instead of herself.
my dad in a wonderful way said betty, don't be silly. if you if you can't wear cut low in the front, where it low in the back. [laughter] and they had this wonderful relationship supporting each other. yes. a little insight you may not have known. [laughter] >> linda. >> my father was a teacher all of his life. i mean,, i guess i am supposed to say civil rights is the most important thing and it was but all of that together he had grown up poor people all around him and knew how much education could change their lives. and he had grown up teaching hispanic children, so he knew about discrimination and the need for changes in civil rights. and he had seen what happened with the help of
the older people in his neighborhood and the sacrifices the family set to make because their grandmother or and/or somebody needed medical help all of these things, i do not think that i can divide one, but i wish that you could see i have produced a teacher. my catherine -- catherine is sitting right here, but my jennifer, the baby high school math teacher and washington -- well, virginia i no how proud he would be because he was always trying to give us teaching moments trying to explain everything he was doing teaching us about the effects of some of the laws that were passed. and one of the things generally about 1st ladies i like to say is that i think as a feminist i was chair of the president's advisory committee for women
i just want you to know. [applause] and i think a lot of women give a lot of these men whose marriage to that wonderful laura bush. down to be on our side. in army member being in houston for this big women's meeting and there we were. i was there because i had this position and there we were with misses carter and my mother and mrs. forward. a telling moment.
[applause] >> i would love for you to talk a little bit about yourself. this is your life. hard to imagine what your life would be like if your father's an up and president looking back at what you have done and how you grew up change you either as a person is a person or change your life what effect do you think it has had on how you are living your life. we will start with our token man. so happy here. start and tell us how you think it affected you. >> a little bit different. our family is a little bit different. you know if you were the
daughter of the bush family member or reagan you almost might have expected that your father would run for president sunday or you would be involved. in our case that had just been a congressman literally getting ready to retire from congress. all of a sudden he gets nominated for vice president by nixon and mom was waiting to get out of politics. she could not wait. i remember dad putting his arm around her and saying, don't worry, vice presidents don't do anything. [laughter] which did not really work out. none of us thought we would ever be in the white house. to get catapulted their certainly changed my life. i i am glad i had two older siblings, two brothers in the younger sister to talk to. it made it easier. today i am able to do things
in the public arena that i would never have been able to do -- 19 years and recovery in alcoholism just like my mother. i can go talk to school kids now because i have that platform because i am the son of a former president. they listen to your little bit. you try to give something back and watch her parents do the same. i i speak took school -- speak to school kids go to prisons, talk about my support -- surprise -- sobriety, the grace of god in my life and what mom went through. it certainly has changed my life for the better because you are able to give back and have a platform to do it >> linda -- [applause] >> well, i'm going to do the other side. there are many, many wonderful things about being a white house child. i would not get to be here today. but the other side of it is
-- and i come back to this a lot when i was heading up this women's commission, women are often seen in reference to someone else. i want all i want all of you to go back and look at the obituaries in the paper. the 1st line is usually wife of. in my case the 1st line i expect, in my obituary we will be daughter of. in the 2nd piece will be wife of because i have gotten daughter of president and mrs. johnson, wife of governor and mrs. rob. and i think that we all your to have our own place no
matter how big or small it may be in the world we want to be identified. so i tell my children, if they get to read my obituary i wanted the way i wanted. [laughter] i want the 1st line to be professional volunteer. now, i am in -- being a professional volunteer because that is what my parents taught me to do. when i got a job after college and get my 1st paycheck my mother said well, now, who are you going to give it to? i thought, how. and and her belief was that you should give your 1st paycheck away. of course being a smart girl that i am, i had trees put in johnson city in memory of my grandparents. but that was just a given. we have been very blessed. we are not financially
stressed. you can't afford to give that away. in the most valuable thing i have is my time. twenty-four hours a day. so whereas i can with varying amounts of money, my time is the most valuable thing really that i can give away. that is what i have tried to do professional volunteer and do not have as many paid jobs by my name. and that is what i learned from my parents. i feel very very blessed, all of the experiences that they gave me. remember, catherine, 1st line -- [laughter] -- professional volunteer. i might add that barbara bush was right in their. when i was chair i asked laura bush to be on our committee. i am not a dumb woman.
i asked her to be on and got her to be on our advisory committee because we want people who care about literacy to be up there supporting is. [applause] >> we obviously never lived in the white house. we were freshman. my parents made it clear that we could tag along for anything that they were doing. my sister and i both what we benefited from was the exposure our parents offered we travel to africa, asia latin america and got to see all the initiatives that they were implementing firsthand and i think that completely shaped my career.
i run a nonprofit focused on global health issues. linear obviously. my parents allowed me to be exposed to what they were working on, cared about the people he worked with everyday. the other thing is everyone who works in government is serving and are excited about service to other people. everyday i work with young people who want to serve in global health, health and that is my way of trying to encourage more people to do what i saw my parents do everyday. [applause] >> she said everything i was going to say except that -- two quick things. we got to meet so many incredible people commanded encouraged us to come and meet -- a really great
friend. he wrote as an email to tell us he job -- he got this job because he wanted us to know before it was released. i got i got to go to ethiopia with him. we fought over who he loved more. after our five days in ethiopia he chose me. [laughter] i think being able to be exposed to someone like that who has changed the landscape of our world that is so incredible. i am a teacher as to be able to meet this woman as i am teaching in inner-city dc, it does not even really sink in until now and to be able now with journalism to interview people like mary fisher who told me that betty ford was the most inspirational person in her life command i just interviewed her last week. my parents 1st of all their friends are important, but people. they want to surround themselves with interesting people. i think that we tried to
know all of these people as much as we possibly could and still stay in contact with them. [applause] >> well, i would like for each of you -- and we will start with linda -- to tell as one of your favorite stories about something that happened at the white house. it can be funny, about you, your parents just some behind-the-scenes thing that the press never found out about and now they are because it will be on c-span something that everyone here -- [inaudible conversations] >> gosh, i have been doing this for so long i think i have told everything i ever did but one of the wonderful things about being in the white house is the people you meet. you know, people in the theater people in the arts.
all sorts of fancy folks. for instance, gregory peck. [laughter] when chuck was governor we invited back to come and spend the night in the governor's mansion because they were doing something in virginia. i would not have dared to do that. when i called and told him who i was they would remember. so anyway, one day presidents' day carl sandburg came to the white house for tea on lincoln's birthday. we had this tea party in the lincoln bedroom. and my mother was very, very excited and impressed. i was studying american history, so i immediately went and got my textbook and brought it in and asked him
if he would sign -- [laughter] some paul of his. i took it back to school and hopefully get in a. anyway, mother in the lincoln bedroom, at bedroom at least in our day -- and i hope you did not change it. [laughter] that is one thing about being there. i cannot speak for anyone else, we thought that it was our house. any changes that were made where do they put that portrait that we put over they're? anyway, we went in there and on the desk is a copy of the gettysburg address. and this was written out by abraham lincoln to benefit and even then they were doing those things where
they sold to have sold on the graphs. this was this was going to be sold to benefit the baltimore sanitary fair which was an early red cross type of project. and so mother brought it over and said to mr. sandburg and here is one of the five copies of the gettysburg address and lincoln's own handwriting. to which mr. sandburg said everybody really could write. [laughter] [laughter] >> there is a lot of stories i could tell some of them i should not. >> we have time. >> of course. [laughter] >> two quick ones.
seven or eight days before we get to move into the white house. when we finally moved in the 1st night i was there i called my my best friend from high school, grade school elementary school kevin kennedy. you have kennedy. you have got to come over here, this is unbelievable, good government housing. we took -- and you could not do this today because it is much different because of terrorism and what goes on in the world, but at that time we carried my two 18 -year-old kids carried it up today they have guys up there dressed in black and antiaircraft guns, you could not do it to my but we a but we took my stereo up there, sat on the roof of the white house. i think we were playing led zeppelin stairway to heaven. it literally was like dumb and dumber. and so that was my 1st night. the 1st dinner -- and i will be quick. the 1st dinner we had as a family and there is this
tension. i don't know if you know this, you do not know the staff. they have been there for years. you rotate through trying to get to know each other. everyone is a little formal. sitting at the family dinner table myself, dad mom, my sister sue to horses in. everyone is trying to figure it out. trying to take the edge off. he looks and sees this wonderful fireplace in the room and says gosh, we used to go to avail for christmas. we always love to have a fire. one of the one of the people that work there must be the president telling us to light the fire. they went over and let the fire. had not been used in ten years. now, smoke is billowing out. [laughter] this is their 1st dinner with the staff. the smoke is coming back into the dining room. susan and i are coughing and
trying to get up. i will never forget my dad looked at me and said sit back down. he goes, don't we just love the fire. he had such a good heart. trying to make them feel good. those are my memories. [applause] >> well, one thing the same thing happened on lucy's 1st night in the white house. she had a friend over and started a fire in her bedroom. and smoke went everywhere. zero, i no all about how to open everything. this will be great. no. the added part was she was in her nightgown. she was 16 years old. all of a sudden smoke is everywhere.
she goes and climbs up on her desk to stand up and try to open the window facing pennsylvania avenue. and she looks up, sees the smoke. [laughter] trying to cover up. they are to put a sign up do not use. danger. >> i don't think we ever had a fire. [laughter] >> i am glad. that would be the last thing that the bush twins could have done like the white house on fire. [laughter] that would have really helped with our college education. [laughter] i think one thing is you can still get up on that roof because i have my 1st kiss with my husband up there. kind of embarrassing. luckily i am married to him. barbara is embarrassed. awkward. humiliated. i thought we were telling our secrets.
>> ignore these people. you are just talking to me jenna. >> one thing, you know, we grew up when my grandfather was president for holidays we knew all of this really, really well. so extra special. many of them were still there. have become a leader. really excited. mainly because i get to see them. interviewing mr. obama to. i heard you are going to do that. call somebody who called somebody. they had become like family.
they helped us out when we saw a ghost. i will let you tell it. >> another twins story. >> and the book. >> apparently in the white house, i don't know. i'm not sure. family dinner. done a lot with the grandchildren. so she said to the white house, grandchildren. zero, man, they have ordered dinner in the bowling alley. not true. it was a snack. [laughter] >> it was not about dinner. >> but i do believe there was dinner served in the bowling alley. >> okay. easier to blame us for more things.
>> and we took it. >> so should i tell them? >> yeah. >> this sounds crazy, except it happened. jenna and i -- well, jenna since we are twins we actually usually sleep in the same room even though we are adults. came running in my room one night terrified because she had heard someone singing opera. >> out of my fireplace. >> out of my fireplace. and it actually was led zeppelin. [laughter] and i did not believe for. the next night we were sleeping in the same room and it happened again except this time we heard like olden times creepy piano music coming out of the fireplace. and then -- able to go to
sleep because we were both working in dc and able to go to sleep and say that is just willard are. played on the piano. but we had to sleep. we just pacified ourselves. the next morning i was getting up to go to work and somebody who worked at the white house. i said, buddy, 1st of all, and down really scared me a little bit. you are not going to believe, the last two nights i have heard this piano music coming out of the fireplace in my room. was the piano top-down last night? oh it is always down. he said, you would not believe the things i have seen or heard. >> and we have never slept alone. >> we really, i mean, we believe in ghosts. we would not, except this happened to us. >> we believe in ghosts. >> and mom and dad had a
golden retriever the lives of the white house with them dog and liberty. one one night the dog out of the middle of the night and woke data nudged nudged him, dad got out of bed, left mom sitting there. he took liberty down the family elevator to go out the diplomatic entrance and it was like 2:00 a.m. he goes out the door the dog runs around and this is business. dad goes dad goes to walk back in the white house and the doors locked. [laughter] and the secret service don't know he is out there, two in the morning in his pajamas with the dog. it lets you know that our life is just like yours. dad knocking on the door in his pajamas with the dog trying to get back into the white house in two in the morning. >> did he ever get in? >> he got an. >> obviously.
>> the same thing happened to my mother, little different the grand staircase that you come down well, mother is always trying to make sure that we did not spend any more money than we needed to. so one night after a state dinner she had gone back up stairs, upstairs, put on her nightgown and knows that the light was on right outside the door to get on the grand staircase. and so she being very careful, put 1 foot to hold the door upstairs and then tried to lean out and turn the light up. well, she did not make it. it. the door closed behind her and that she was in her robe and she put her face up she describes this. i'm not telling too much but she just much downstairs like she was supposed to be walking around with her robe they were all finishing the
party up. she just walks she just walks right through, the elevator, go back upstairs again. [laughter] >> unfortunately i am getting the eagle eyes. thank you all so much for telling us -- [applause] [applause] >> our special mother's day events concludes with a 1994 event. the event begins with remarks by former first lady nancy reagan. asnd the director of the reagan library at the time. this is about an hour and 45 minutes. rmer first lady nancy reagan and historian richard norton smith serving as the
i am delighted to welcome you all to a very special program. i hope you had a a chance to see at least some of the remarkable new exhibits called madam president on your way in this morning. for the next six months visitors to the library and museum will be introduced to each of america's kayfive an ounce only to the close they were or artifacts that they used and that causes they championed and families they raised. some of these women are historical celebrities others are all but unknown to us today but each deserve to be remembered for their contribution to the life of her time. 200 years ago martha washington said that as first lady she felt more like a prisoner of state than anything else a complaint echoed by some of
her successors, as a matter of fact. actually, it was the daughter of president, margaret truman whose light best to find the position of first lady when she called it the 2nd toughest job in america. madam president is about much more than 1st ladies. the families who temporarily reside there become part of our extended families. this morning we are privileged to have as our guests several former inhabitants of 1600 pennsylvania avenue. better than any historian political scientists robert hoover brigham, luci baines johnson, susan ford mail and maureen reagan can introduce us to the human dimension of the presidency. for these women have lived at the center of great events that spanned some six decades in the process of experiencing joys and sorrow
trials common to any american household. his history is really too important to leave to professional historians. it belongs to all of us. the white house in which abigail adams hung her laundry and mary todd lincoln endured the horrors of the civil war and that is what this morning's program is all about. and it is just the beginning over the next over the next few months the library will stage theatrical performances recalling eleanor roosevelt, edith wilson, eisenhower and german. time magazine white house correspondent we will be here in august while helen thomas, dean of the white house press corps will share her own reflection on modern 1st ladies in september.
all of this in keeping with my husband's desire for an institution that is lively and dynamic is america herself. fortunately, we have a director who shares our vision of a library that is more the library. his name his name is richard norton smith command he will be our moderators morning. i would also like to express my own thanks to richard for all that he has done since becoming director of the library. we have never been happier with the library than we are today command it is all due -- where are you richard? you, richard. [applause] and the team that you have put together. richard peggy, luci susan, maureen the stage is yours. let me thank you for coming.
i no i no that you are in for a real treat. thank you again. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. welcome. delighted to have you here. amid remembrances attending the death of richard nixon perhaps none were more touching than a story told by lucy bates johnson. president johnson's daughter recall the letter dated july 111974 less than one month before mr. nixon resigned the presidency. in the middle of his greatest crisis the president took time out to welcome an infant child named rebecca johnson. we know how proud and happy your father would have been to know that you chose his mother's name for your
daughter. as ms. johnson herself told newsweek magazine, there was no reason for the embattled president to show such kindness certainly no political gain to be had. was the main her words come and extraordinary act of thoughtfulness from a man in the midst of a terrible ordeal. it was something else as well a small but telling example of the special relationship that binds all those who have inhabited the white house. .. the fact they give teenage children of their own most certainly did. americans take a proprietary interest not only in the white house but in all those who live there. today, that interest is renew.
as we invite for members of presidential families to share their observations of life and the goldfish bowl on pennsylvania avenue. margaret hoover brigham is the eldest grandchild of henry hoover. she was a small child when her grandfather was inaugurated. soon after her father was hospitalized in north carolina for tuberculosis. as a result, peggy anene was a guest of the white house where she experienced a side of her famous grandparents too infrequent cleansed by the general public in those dark years of depression. not long before he died, former president hoover was asked by a friend how he managed to survive a period of ostracism that coincided with fdr's new deal. to which he replied, i outlived the bastards.
[laughter] it was not quite that simple. he had at his side,a a strong family, including a granddaughter who attended stanford university, and the new england conservatory of music. the mother of four children, mrs. richard t brigham lives in pennsylvania. [laughter] no historian is accurate all the time. where for many years she raised there are bred horses and where she and her husband remain active in civic causes. you heard something of luci baines johnson, of her sensitivity and her sense of history. unlike peggy luci was a young woman when she entered the white house in november, 1963.
she wanted nothing more than to be a normal teenager. life in the white house is many things but normal it is not. luci's mother said as much when she gave her daughter the following advice "don't ever do anything you do not want printed on the front page of the paper." this would strike terror in the hearts of most teenage girls but luci -- at the time of her wedding. according to one newswoman nobody was invited except the immediate country. and notwithstanding, a press controversy over a non-union bridal gown, the day went off gloriously. soon after, luci left the white house for texas in what she has described as a normalcy that never quite materialized for me as it does not for any member of
a famous family. she has devoted herself to many of the causes identified with her public spirited garrets. she has been a supporter of educational and health programs as well as public television, youth services, and her mother's national wildflower center. she is also a businesswoman who chairs the lbj holding company. along the way, she has found time to mother five children, including the infant rebecca whom richard nixon welcomed into the world 20 years ago this summer. lieke luci johnson, suzie ford never expected to live in the white house. she was asked to serve as hostess at a white tie affair following her mother's surgery. there she was at 17, the youngest hostess since ellis roosevelt at the turn-of-the-century wearing uncomfortable white gloves and standing in an endless receiving line before taking to the dance floor with a group of distinguished if not nimble footed diplomats.
when her father first became vice president, susan's mother told her she and her brothers could no longer wear blue jeans. that is not fair, the reply. we are just kids. on the day they moved into the white house, susan and her brother surprise reporters by appearing in blue jeans. what else would you wear on moving day? anything else would be silly and out of -- and artificial. there is nothing silly and artificial about susan ford bales. and the white house, she worked as a photographer. later becoming a frequent guest on television. in recent years, she has taken up her mother's crusade to educate women about the dangers of breast cancer and the importance of early detection. yes, she is still -- still occasionally wears blue jeans. maureen reagan was an adult when her father became president. yet her lifelong interest in politics would make her at leased a part-time resident of
1600 pennsylvania avenue for much of the reagan presidency. in at least one crucial respect she anticipated her famous father. to thid days day, she likes to tease him by reminding him that she was a republican before he was. as such, she has been a tireless campaigner. so much so that president reagan himself had referred to her as the real politician in the family. during the reagan administration, she served as this country's representative to the u.n. commission on the status of women. she was also cochair of the republican national committee. like her father, she has never shied away from controversy or cut her fuse to fit the political fashion. this includes publicly disagreeing with her father and her party over the equal rights amendment and being both persistent and persuasive in advocating more women in public positions. maureen is the author of a well-regarded memoir "first father first daughter."
she remains highly visible at the radio and television commentator. please welcome our distant risk panel. -- our distinguished panel. as a radio and television commentator. would you please welcome our distinguished panel. [applause] our format this morning is quite simple. we are going to ask each of our panelists beginning with peggy to speak to you about their own experiences and then when they are done we will open it up for questions from the audience and hopefully interaction by the panelists. so peggy the stage is yours. >> in deference to my aging back
because i couldn't stand up there at the podium for 10 or 15 minutes so we are all going to sit. [laughter] i wasn't quite sure and richard has never told me. i have known richard for quite a long time and that's the reason i had fun with him when he said i only had four children and i wondered which one he left out. richard was the executive director of the hoover library and as such i have been to australia with him in the outback. we flew this is a slight digression but i want to get back at him. we flew from los angeles to brisbane australia and it was a 14 hour trip. we arrived, most of us, all worn out. that's a long trip. not richard. richard went out in jobs 25 miles.
[laughter] back to the white house. as you can tell i was only from two until six between 1928 in 1932. and i think i cross the united states 12 times by train in those years. we would be greeted at union station by my grandmother and i will get to my grandmother in just a second but due to her early training in girl scouts and the avigdor she has very peculiar distance reaching call and we would hear it starting way down the platform as we got off the train. my brother hated it. it embarrassed him. [laughter] anyway my grandmother was born in iowa just like my grandfather in the same year, 1874 in
waterloo and the older two girls girls, charles and florence wead henry. when she was about 11 florence's health was such that she had asthma but charles henry thought it might need better to move the family to california. they arrived first in whittier and then after a little bit they went up to monterey and made their home in monterey. it was lucky for my great grandfather that he had a tomboy for an older daughter because they would take off into the sierras or the coast range or wherever camping exploring. she was a tomboy and there's a lovely picture of her when she was 17. she looked like annie get your
gun. she had the pack and sitting with a rifle like this you know. she had a very puffy sense of humor. she was quite an athlete. she loved the outdoors and i will get to that in a minute because california meant a great deal to her. she went to san jose normal school, got her teaching certificate and she happened one afternoon to go to a speech by dr. brenner of stanford of the university who was talking about mining engineering. she suddenly thought, that's what i want. it has everything in the outdoors that i love so she went after the talk to him and said the think a woman's could take this course and he said i don't see why not. so she was the first woman to receive a mining engineering degree ever.
the lab assistant was my grandfather and he went after graduation he went to australia to work for a brief mining company a gold mining company in australia. a couple of years later had just graduated from stanford and she received a cable. he asked her to marry him. he had been engaged by the chinese government to go to china and would she marry him. she wired back, yes. so he arrived to monterey one day and they were married the next day and they took off that night on a slow boat to china. [laughter] that's how they started their married life. she had a remarkable ability to
hear and understand languages. she picked up mandarin chinese with a tutor immediately and not just the speaking of that but also the calligraphy of it. she handled her whole household and chinese at that time. and of course that was when it took over and they finally had to leave but it was a very exciting time for young bride. i know there are lots of tales of her being oblivious to gunfire etc. but what i wanted to get around to is the fact that they went all around the world. he would have mining opportunities in places like irma australia, outback. the home office was london so
both my father and my uncle were born in london. she had a very remarkable capability because you never knew where you were going to be. you couldn't take a whole lot of your belongings with you to set up a household so she chose a few things that would make it always seem icon. that could be at any camp in leonardo all of the places that i was with richard. and my richard who is down here too. my husband. that would be home but i think always in the back of her mind she knew that where she really wanted to make her homeless california. when i finally had an opportunity she designed the house and they built what we call the house on the hill at stanford university.
i can remember going there as a child. i remember that much more than i remember the white house. i can tell you all kinds of things about the white house but i'm sure these girls have more present things to tell you about life in the white house. i wanted to get across to the fact that no matter where she went where there was in england or ral or what ever it took. kind of making her weight and show -- until she could come back to california. excuse me. one of the main things growing up that she did was that the girl scouts quickly latched onto her and she became a prime force in the girl scouts. she was a national president several times. she thought the training opportunity that one could have
been girl scouts for a fairly young woman was the best use of her life. talking to much. she was not a person who polarized situations. she was a person who said, how can i fit in to make this work the best? that is how she managed to fit in places like that. how can i make the best of where i am macro?her life with the girl scouts -- there was a lot of values. i was not privileged to be a member of the girl scouts because there is no true where i lived. -- true where i -- true where i livedoop where i live. she had grace.
her nickname to those around was not ladybird, but the lady. you had the chief and the lady. i will turn it over to you in a minute. [coughing] give me a trick of water. thank you. not at this time of day. [laughter] i'm not lemonade lucy. my grandfather was in the white house of the time of prohibition so we have to watch this. [laughter] while i wait for the water, i will drop back just a bit. about six weeks ago, i was in
iowa celebrating the 120th anniversary of my grandmother's berg -- birth. if you do not think that made me feel old, and i had a daughter, a son, and a grandson there also. i thought, oh my goodness, i'm a bridge. i'm a bridge between the 20th century which was almost 100 years ago and my children and my grandchildren. i have three grandchildren and that's about all i want to get after all these five children. [laughter] so what i did then was that i thought was supposed to talk mostly about my grandmother not my life in the white house. she was remarkable. she had a remarkable sense of humor.
she was very athletic. when i was 11 years old, she took me on a packing trip behind yosemite. we had a marvelous time and there's a marvelous picture of her sitting on a horse. she had a big grin. she was just happy as a clam and i want to get back whites -- why she loved california so. it was the academy of heaven as far she was concerned. she built the house on the hill at stanford and could look out across the santa clara valley. the architecture was very unusual. it was very hopi indian. it has levels to go like this. it was like adobe style. a little stairway that could take you up and you can get up to the very top and just the everywhere. -- see everywhere.
from 1933 to 1943, and at that point, my grandfather's activities were decried as being in new york city. he thought that was a place where he could meet with people he loved. you have to to have people around him all the time. she finally agreed to move back permanently with him. and they gave the house on the hill to stanford to be used as the presidents house. she moved back in 1943. she passed away in february of 1944. i do not think the canyons of new york city were quite the same as ours down here. later on, i will let you ask me questions so i can give you a little bit of an idea of what she was like.
[applause] richard: they've got their notes. maureen: is the mike not on? imo radio ham and i understand these things. -- i am no radio ham and i understand these things. i'm getting properly educated. that is what life in the white house is -- continuing education. as i watched with recollections it seems like yesterday that
nixon-cox was graciously hugging me and ringing in my ears, do not worry. we will invite you back. [laughter] luci: the scene was january 20 1969. that was the day president makes and was inaugurated. my family left the resident of the white house for the last time. we always believed in public housing. we never thought of ourselves as any other way except tenants. nevertheless, this chapter of our lives was over. it left me with a flood of emotions and felt tears welling up in my eyes. to that precious treasure notice. -- tears that precious tricia noticed. regardless of age, gender and politics it is a bond of shared experience. of having been there.
it is that bond that has brought me here today to share with you what life was like for me during those five years of my father's presidency. where did it all begin yucca? everyone who remembers november 22 1963 remembers know exactly where they were and what they were doing when president kennedy was shot. what was exceptional about my situation was how it impacted my life on all fronts and forever. i was a junior in high school, a 16-year-old student at natural -- national cathedral school for girls. a fellow student came out and announced that president kennedy had been shot. his words were like a blow to my chest. there was a sound that was forever known in my memory. several hundred girls rose
without a world -- word in march double file toward the gym that served as our chapel. we marched and then we knelt. this command by an unspoken power that consumed us all. somehow, everyone knew instinctively that tragedy had struck. and we all had to dismiss our adolescence and self consumed focus. i had mistress announced the end -- are headmistress amounts the unspeakable that president kennedy and governor conley had both been shot in that they condition was unknown. what was known was that they needed our prayers. we prayed. then we were dismissed. to this day, i did not know what others did except that i wandered out into a days into the courtyard. i have no recollection of whether any friends stayed with me. all i recall was being very much
alone and very scared. i never had known violence personally before. the unknown death had tendinitis me -- paralyzed me. what was president kennedy's fate and governor conley's fate? not to mention my father. i knew he was with them. what happened to daddy? president kennedy was also the president, but my father's boss and friend. governor conley was much more to me. he had been my family's close friend my entire life. we have lived in the work -- and worked in the same house. we had lived together and work together and pray together. where were my parents? i heard footsteps and a voice yelling, a man on campus who was in a handyman is a mess. i left up and realized it was my father's secret service agent.
i knew then what fate have rendered. i tried to run the other way. the childish act could some house reversed the event. he yelled at me to come back and i did. i will always be grateful to the secret service for the sensitivity they showed and sending someone that i knew. i buried my head in jeans arms. he confirmed the unspeakable. president kennedy was dead. article johnny went through surgery -- uncle johnny went through surgery and was expected to live your daddy would soon be back on his way to washington. we went to the headmistress's office and we were told that he needed to take me home. i thought i'd did something would -- i thought i would do something that was useful. when someone died, we would take a castrol. i knew that would not be this sort of situation. [laughter] i cannot by the limbo that i was
in. if i kept a vigil at the television, i was somehow serving some sort of dutiful role. on another part of me felt like i needed to do something. it didn't matter what, just something. so i washed my hair. [laughter] after my parents returned, i knew that there will be little time for such monday and but necessary projects. -- monday but necessary -- monday necessary projects. after the funeral, i went back to school. that is the closest thing that i witnessed an argument between my parents. daddy told mother they were going to move into the white house on the 27th. mother responded, any day but that they. my father said that that day what best for mrs. kennedy to move out and for the secret service for us to move in.
i cannot for the life of me understand why mother was making such a fuss about. i had no appreciate -- appreciation for why the move was such a big deal to my normally over accommodating mother. over the next five years in the white house, i came to have a much greater appreciation for historical events like the december 7 bombing of pearl harbor and the impact on my parents generation. we moved on december 7 and mother never said another word about it. our first night in the white house i nearly burned it down. mother and daddy needed a few hours off. after the move, they went to dinner and a valuable member and staff members spent the night with me. my first night in the white house was my first chance to appreciate some of the
privileges of being a member of the first family. that was the unbelievable luxury of a fireplace in my bedroom. i decided to light a fire. within a matter of moments, my room was full of smoke. [laughter] i douse the fly our -- doused the fire with glasses of water. directly below me was a guard. i was horrified that the officer might wake up. i was mortified, but the smoke was stifling. i do not have the luxury of calling to the guard. i somehow managed to open the eight foot window what the gods are -- i somehow managed to open the eight foot window. what the guard saw or didn't see i didn't manage to ask. help came. my first week in the white house
was to get the smoke stain all for my walls. my teenage life in the white house was accompanied by the answer to every teenage mothers prayers and the embodiment of every teenager's worst nightmare. a 24 hour mandatory law enforcement chaperone. [laughter] i just turned 16 the summer before the assassination. i had just received the teenagers passport to independence -- the driver's license. then, it was all over. over the years, there has been much discussion on whether i escape the secret service. the answer is an unqualified no. early on, my details let me know that i if i tried to escape, about that had occurred to me and would cost whatever age i snuck out on his job. looking back, that would've been
the consequence of my skate, but i cannot risk that for someone else just to please my adolescent whims. the blackmail work. the novelty of life in the white house quickly wore off. i found the advantages of living and what i called the great white zoo. this time, we were on the brink of the 1964 campaign my father being a wise man who really understood how to appeal to the best side of me realized why i'm not a particular asset to the campaign that i surely can be a liability. the best way to handle me was to appeal to my youth. he could see that we are in a sinking ship and i need you to bail for me. i cannot manufacture and other -- another daughter by november. i thought he could do anything but i knew he couldn't do that. i thought i was innocent.
my father needed me. i had to work for him, for us, otherwise, the ship could sink. i was a victim of the johnson treatment. i covered 26 states alone speaking in front of groups of five to 5000. my father had me report back to. i was inspired to be able to reach to people i had met and three things were important to them. to this day, i never go anywhere without trying to call three people's names and remember three things important to them before i check into bed. the campaign trail began for me just before the democratic convention in atlantic city. which delbert nations -- delegation would seem the rest of the. it was decided by whatever powers at be. it was not a good idea for me to go to the convention early. the hope was that i could take some of the controversy of the
mississippi delegation so that the solution might be found without public feuding. i went in the press followed. -- and the press followed. i spent every weekend from 12 noon friday to 12:00 midnight sunday on the campaign trail. in the summer of 1964, i hope my first job during the week and campaign on the weekend. i love my work and dr. robert kristen develop my academic problems and my self-esteem. project headstart for the next 20 years. there are always upsides and downsides to life in the white house. that summer, i gave up my big year at summer camp because i thought that the secret service would ruin it for others. instead, i found a lifelong volunteer commitment. one of my favorite campaign stories is about spearfish
south dakota. one night, i overheard a conversation between my mother and the special assistant to my father and now president of the motion picture association. jack was saying that south dakota was good to vote democratic for the first time since franklin roosevelt. we just had to send a family member out to think that. mother decided that there wasn't anyone available. mother was booked and daddy was booked in linden didn't feel comfortable on the campaign trail. he was promising her the only weekend off since the campaign began. we can for adolescents were. -- pure. the campaign was desperate. he admitted that we just had no alternatives. i had overheard enough. the handwriting was on the wall. i had a date for every moment of that weekend. i knew there was no way that i
was went to be able to persuade jack and mother that my dates to take -- should take presidents -- presidents over spearfish. my only hope was to avoid confrontation. i rushed to my room and stepped in my closet. when they didn't see me, they would take a looking go on. i was wrong. they came. when they didn't see me, they call the secret service to confirm that i was in the white house. so they decide to wait in my room until i came back. [laughter] after 20 minutes, i realized that i cannot stand to stay in a two by four closet for much longer fit the die was cast. spearfish would be my destiny. the campaign might have been able to make me go, but they would be sorry. i plan on having the chip used at least gracious attitude ever. what i discovered was the nicest people in the entire world lived
in spearfish, south dakota. [laughter] do you rise how hard it is to be surly and resentful when people are being loving and appreciative? as if it wasn't hard enough to lose my wonderful weekend, i cannot be mad about it because the people in spearfish were just too nice. -- ignorance breeds temperance. i was much less judgmental. by the time the campaign was over, i no longer felt like an outsider. i felt useful, needed, and happy. from my first day in the white house, i realized i needed to educate myself about it so i did not look like a fool. this education was always on my to-do list to a just somehow never made my calendar. by my senior year in high school, i realized i was never going to get around learning the white house on my own. when i had to turn papers
assigned i took advantage of my good fortune and received permission to write one on are in the white house and american history on the white house and how it affected the occupants and how the occupants affected the white house. recently at a youth symposium, i moderated my own and students said that school was irrelevant to their present lives i wish more students could have an experience like this to turn papers did for mine. the moment the novelty the white house wore off was in week two. i always thought of the minuses and never the privileges. i was ignorant and therefore prejudice about politics in the 1964 campaign. so was i a good and prejudice --
ignorance and prejudice about the white house. for most term papers, i learned a tremendous amount of respect for those who took place in the home. i felt treasured in living there. it had previously just been a big picture of george washington. he became a good friend each time i saw george washington's face. i envisioned his wooden and false teeth. i felt after the burn slide. i felt immense pride in dolly madison. she risked her life to save this painting by one of america's early great artists when the british burn the capital in the white house in 1812. i felt that the -- empathy for the changes that the white house had made to it. i was grateful for the kennedys who converted the mother's bedroom and bath into a pantry and dining room. the first family could dine in private and could not have to go
to the first floor to eat next to the public rooms. i was delighted that my personal discovery of a toilet paper holder had inadvertently been left behind the pantry door when the remodeling was completed. somehow, these discoveries made living there a more human experience. it was making my life that those first families that had lived before me maybe somehow feel like i was never alone. my father gave a graduation speech. that was at the same national cathedral that had denounced him in the campaign. i entered georgetown university. the school that i had accepted told me that she thought i can have a 2.0 gpa. she might as well have told me that she would pass me because my father was president of the united states. [laughter]
my high school grades have been weak because of my developmental vision problem had gone undetected and unsolved for so long. my first semester i had a 3.4 gpa and was asked tonight's -- to join the national catholic women's honor society and it was sweet which manage. -- revenge. i made peace with politics in the campaign. i still gained to feel normal. -- yearned to feel normal. the only way that i envisioned that happening as a teenager was marrying my way out of that existence. on august 6, 1966, 19 years, one month, and two days, i married. mine was the first wedding in the white house and 50 years. my wedding was called the white house wedding, even though the actual wedding took place at the shrine of the immaculate conception because the reception took place in the white house. i was married at the shrine because i wanted as a catholic
convert to be married at a church. my parish church had too many painful memories about the kennedy funeral. we chose august 6, oblivious in our youth to how this date was. hiroshima had been bombed on this day. our wedding was picketed. my son was born just before my father met the chairman and the leaders of ussr in class cow. daddy said he had agonized over what his first word should be. he credited me with providing the answers. he said to the prime minister of the soviet union, mr. prime minister, i understand that you have grandchildren. my first grandchild was just born. i know most of our citizens want for our grandchildren piece. but that is something that your
citizens don't have. we can do something about it and let's get to work. on april 11, 1968, my ex-husband became one of many volunteers that went to vietnam. he was already in the national guard when i met him, but there was no way to convince the world that i somehow had an arrangement. he served a year in vietnam just to try and ensure that somehow he was not getting preferential treatment. i went back to visit the white house often while he was overseas, but never again to permanently live there. each night at the white house while my husband and brother in law were facing the dangers of war, the last words i usually her work hey, hey, lbj, how many boys did you kill today deck? the walls of the white house do not isolate you from the protesters. of all my white house members -- of all my white house memories, none was more impressive than my father's anguish watching the
casualties. the one hand to gain from getting out of vietnam that we did and yet peaceful honorable resolution only did him. on march 31, 1968, while my brother-in-law was literally on the way to vietnam, my father announced that he would not seek another term as president. that he was willing to get up -- daddy was willing to give up his personal career which was in many ways his life to try to bring it to the peace table. he succeeded in bringing us to the peace table, but not the final piece that he desperately wanted. in many ways, i lost my youth in life and the white house, but i had been an eyewitness to history. a privileged few received and i will always review. i was then on the front row of the white house when the public accommodations bill was signed. i have been on the front row of
the capital when the 1965 voting rights act was signed. i have been to missouri with daddy when harry truman first addressed the issue to receive the first medicare card and witness the signing of medicare. eyewitness secondary education signed into law. i watched project head start. i watched my father try so hard on minutes so many things and achieve so much. we had come so far on january 20 1969 when tricia nixon noticed those tears in my eyes. [applause] >> i would also like to think
mrs. reagan and more rain for having us here. susan: the only presidential library i had been to is my father's, so that is different. often, we could listen forever because i basically did the same thing 10 years later. i know a lot of things changed in 10 years and i know things have changed since we were than the white house and talking to other residents. you must realize that the white house belongs to everybody in america. but only a few of us get to live there, to learn its secrets nooks, and crannies, and to bring history and add to its history. americans are understandably a curious about what goes on at the white house. and what is life like on a day-to-day basis. that is why all of you are here today. you cannot imagine the questions that we all have been asked over the years. anything from the monday and to the magnificent. i only wish i had a diary of
what questions i've answered. but from our stay there, we got there in a unusual way, just like the johnsons did. my day started with a note from albert was about -- albert roosevelt wandsworth. she wrote, have one hell of a good time. i took that to heart. [laughter] some of the things that stick out in my mind were close. the close were always an issue at the white house. yes, i did wear blue jeans and we did get criticized from the press for wearing blue jeans. they do not think that was a presidential. my mother stuck up for us and said, leave the kids alone. they were not put in to this office. their father was. for her sticking up for us, that do not always work out to my
advantage. my mother did it interview for "60 minutes." [laughter] a well-known interview. it said that i basically could have an affair. i was 17 years old at the time. if you can imagine being a 17-year-old teenager who is a senior in high school, going out with guys, seeing mother on tv and trying to tell them don't mess up. her outspokenness. bna trouble -- got me into trouble in a lot of ways. just like the outward appearances of liberalism in the white house, it was a cross between living in the convent and a reform school. as lucy said, having secret service agents, you learn to be in on time when your parents says 11:00 or midnight. you cannot do what you used to
do before you had them because i know when we lived in alexandria where i was race, i would come in and stand in front of the clock so they could not see what time it was. i would say, mom, i'm home. she never looked at the clock. you can't do that. they do not have to stay up and wait for you because they were just call down and said, what time did susan get home? it was all relative. they would find out who you are with, the time that you left. it was all on record for permanence. all the sudden, the views of a very normal 17-year-old girl from alexandria, virginia came -- became the same of a lot of people. i used to read "17" magazine and now i am writing a column for "17" magazine. i showed my daughter and they now laugh because they read "17" magazine. it was a great getting the fip
-- m.v.p. treatment to go to rock concerts and get backstage passes. i went to a concert to see rod stewart. i got a backstage pass to meet him. i was in total all of meeting rod stewart. so i read in the tabloids the next week that i was engaged to rod stewart. [laughter] there are truly great disadvantages -- the tabloids love me to death. i look back at some of the stuff and it is hysterical. there is a long trend that says that susan ford breaks hearts. after people that they mentioned in their, i didn't know who they were talking about. that was pretty cruel to me. i did have the privilege while living in the white house of being there for the bicentennial. i have to say that that was really one of the most wonderful, wonderful moments of living there. we received memorabilia of red
white and blue of every kind and form from dolls to vans. we got beautiful quilts. on the fourth of july, we started our day in valley forge and then we went on to see the big ships in new york city. i would have to say that that was one of the most incredible things that i have ever participated in. even being a teenager, which takes a lot to move somebody at that age, i was duly impressed. i go back and watch the video now and still, it brings tears to my eyes to think of the patriotism that america had and how proud i was to be in american and to be a part of that. as any of you who are parents will understand, it is pretty hard not to get a teenager not to you with their fingers. so try teaching for children how not to you with their fingers much less than three forks, a
couple of lines -- knives, and three spins at dinner. those were challenges for us as kids to learn as fast as we possibly could because that is not the way my mother set the table in virginia. it was a challenge for her to teach us in a challenge for us to learn to make sure that we did all the right and proper things and not embarrass my parents. some of the other wonderful funny stories was really my brother jack stories. in the bicentennial, queen elizabeth and prince philip came to the white house for dinner. this was a white tie dinner. during the bicentennial, mother and dad had the queen and the prints come up to the family quarters to receive them. as they came up the elevator and the doors opened, my brother jack was standing there with his shirt unbuttoned and his socks and no tie and he looked at mother like, what have i done?
i can't find my studs. the queen looked at my mother and said, that is ok. i have one of those at home, too. [laughter] we all are very normal, even the british. i got to throw the first brisbane on the great wall of china with gary trudeau, the cartoonist. i was there in the fall 1975. blondes were very unusual to see. everywhere i would go, these little crowds of people would follow me around. when we went through the receiving line meeting chairman mao, both my mother and father were there. i followed my mother. his eyes lit up. thanks goodness the tabloids went there for that because it probably would've made it. i used to walk into cabinet meetings. there were a few meetings that i would not walk into to get my
allowance or ask my dad if i could go someplace. that was just real standard normal things. normally it was meetings with dr. kissinger or vice president rockefeller, people i knew and felt comfortable about. in my blue jeans, of course. the staff, i would say, had somewhat of an awakening, like when lucy got there. having teenagers or if you have lived through them, it it is the midnight snack and the friends coming over. we went through bags and bags of potato chips in the cans of pop. you are always rating the refrigerator for something. you didn't want the pretty little cookies. he wanted stuff. we really did change that a lot. we used the half when we first moved into the white house, to make a phone call, you had to go to the white house operators. they finally realized that was
not going to work with me. they finally installed a private line and i just had to dial the number myself. i thought it was kindness to me and i realized it was more kindness to the white house operators. [laughter] you didn't get one. [laughter] i was afraid of that. we got mail and it was always unusual to us. and we answered it. they are voters. there are voters out there. you cannot upset these people. [laughter] now, lucy got her drivers license. i already had my driver's license at the time. my dad said that you are a girl on you do not need a card until your 18. i had to live with the same thing that lucy did with my agents driving me around. on a date, they followed us. i did escape once which was not
a very pretty experience. i did get my car. you always had to leave your keys in the car because we parked them all on the south lawn. if an event was coming up or state dinner was going, they would move your car. and it would be moved to the north side or west of that. they were constantly moving those things. i joined myself around and they followed me. i felt like i'd gotten the chain and ball taken off of my foot at that point. i would be less than honest though if i do not take knowledge the flipside of living in the white house. it is really a burden in every aspect to be so intruded on your public life. every detail of your life dissected by the press. it is more than living in a glass house.
it is living in a magnified house. there seems to be a lot of lack of compassion for the first family, most of all by the press. i certainly would not want to be living there in today's world. because i really think it has taken some of the dignity away from the first family and the respect that we have as americans for the first family. [applause] as a former member of the press, i know there are some people who would disagree with me who are friends of mine. i really think that if we gave some of the privacy back to the first family that they might share a little more voluntarily. thank you. [applause]
maureen: the white house i live alone was different than the one that peggy lived in. i didn't have secret service. i had a nanny. [laughter] peggy: i had both. they were about the same. [laughter] the only difference is that the secret service is like having a hard of little brothers following you around. maureen: physically, it was different. that was brought home to me on a couple of occasions. in 1984 was the centennial of an eleanor roosevelt, we howled a luncheon in the east room of the white house. all the members of the roosevelt family and could come did. i was sat at a table with the roosevelt cousins.
these are people who had been young children in those days. at that time, the main staircase of the white house, if you remember from yankee doodle dandy, came straight down into the state floor and not the grand staircase that was built at the time of the truman restoration. so they used to tell wonderful stories about going up and getting the huge silver platters and using them as to bargains. -- to bargains. when you think of things that have gone on in the white house from abigail adams laundry in the eastern to marilyn and her pony in the stream, no one has figured out what to do in the eastern. as become a variety of things. at the time lucy was there, her mother found everybody who should cut that had been in the white house and brought them back to the white house. one of those people was eleanor