George H.W. Bush was not the president I was “born under” – that was Reagan. But even though he was in office until 1992, when I was only 5 years old, he is the first president I remember (how I remember him as president when I was 5, I can’t tell you).
I know it is very controversial to like him and even “worse” to like his son, but I do. I always have. And though it isn’t popular, I would defend him still today.
George W. Bush’s presidential memoir came out on the Tuesday before the Thursday I took a plane from law school in Boston to Green Bay for our drive to Michigan for my Grandma Beinlich’s funeral. I remember buying it at Boston-Logan airport at around 6 in the morning.
I remember the weekend so clearly. I was 23, but she was my first grandparent to die. I remember filing down the rows in order of her 5 sons’ births – so Dad, Mom, Greta, and I were second. I remember doing a reading for her. I remember my grandfather – ever the stoic German – breaking down before we filed out, and I remember my cousin Alexis “breaking rank” – she is the daughter of my dad’s oldest brother – as she went up to Grandpa by herself and helped and him away. I remember my Aunt Teri (my uncle Greg was with his brothers) comforting her daughters in a side room after, and how she invited me to share in their group embrace.
So at one of the saddest times of life – death – it reminds me of one of the first “important” deaths – if not the first – of my life. And what I remember, looking back, is how proud Grandma would be (and is!) of her 5 sons and their children.