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Barbara Bush on meeting George, motherhood and her signature fake pearls: NPR

Barbara Bush (seen here at the White House in 1989) met her husband, former President George H. W. Bush, at the age of 16 for a dance.

Bob Daugherty / AP

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Bob Daugherty / AP

Barbara Bush (seen here at the White House in 1989) met her husband, ex-President George H. W. Bush, at the age of 16 for a dance.

Bob Daugherty / AP

Former First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday following a series of hospitalizations. She was the wife of former President George H. W. Bush and the mother of former President George W. Bush.

Born to Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush initially thought she would become a nurse later. "But then I met this wonderful George Bush and the care went out the window," she said Fresh Air in 1994.

The bushes settled in Midland, Texas, where Barbara found a home has been. Home mother. Her husband's work often required him to travel, which, she said, put pressure on her to sometimes be "mother and father."

"I sometimes remember, 'You are wonderful kids – they are beautiful and you are brilliant – but they did not say one thing that makes them fascinating all week.' Well, every mother feels that" Bush said, "but it's worth it."

In the 1970s, Bush experienced with her children and her husband the CIA's major depression, about which she wrote in her memoirs from 1994 wrote Barbara Bush . Looking back on that time, she said, "It was a terrible time, but having said that, I now have much more compassion for people who have problems, and I feel free to say to people, help out there . & # 39;

Later, when her husband was elected president, Bush made headlines because he rubbed off the pressure on her white hair and unabashedly wore false pearl necklaces. "I would not want them if they were real," she said, "They're kind of funny, and they're big enough to cover my wrinkles."

Highlights of the Interview

About Meeting George HW Bush on a Dance When She Was 16

He asked someone to introduce me to him and we became friends … I was a good dancer He was not a good dancer In those days you went to a dance – either you went or you went with a boy, but he did not expect to dance with you all night. You expected to dance with other people. And when George danced with me, they suddenly started to play a waltz and George said, "Do you mind if we sit down, because I do not know how to make waltz." And we sat down and talked. And he came to a party he knew I was going to visit the next night, and it continued from there.

After the loss of her 3-year-old daughter Robin, who died of leukemia

You will always hope that there will be a cure. … It was hard for her, and certainly hard for George, who had to go on and work. It was hard for me and our family, but then, if you ever give up hope, you give up on living.

As the death of her daughter made her a nervous parent

I do remember when one of the children or two of them had their almonds out, someone said to me, "Oh, well, after all you've been through, almonds are nothing. " I said, "Well, from what I've been through, almonds are worse than ever."

Everything becomes more valuable and the health of your children, which you used to take for granted, suddenly becomes very hesitant. But I survived that I was so nervous. …

Thank God, George [H.W.] Bush, because he believes in independence and he always gave the children independence and he would trust them. And if I thought they were more like me – that you should not trust them or something – he would say, "Of course they can drive through the country at 16. They have their license." I would panic, but they did. And they are great kids.

How she handled disagreements with her husband when he was in office

My belief is that if you are not brave enough to run for office, you can You can tell your husband or your wife what you think in your own time, and then you present a united front. I believe in that. If I had run into office, I would hope that George would give me the same courtesy. …

I really do not think the party platform counts. That's not good to say, but I can not remember a word the Democrats said. I can not remember a word the Republicans said. I think platforms should be very broad and comprehensive – not exclusive.

When she decided not to make a makeover despite being pressured for her role as First Lady

George always said, "You're great the way you are. Do not try to change yourself. "As a little girl, my dad used to say all the time – he used to shame me to death as I walked through the door, maybe with a date," It's nice to be natural and of course you're nice. "Me I wanted to kill him because I was hoping to convince someone how clever I was, but that's probably true, I decided that after a little fight, I would not try to be something I was not.

Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Nicole Cohen adapted this interview for the Web.

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