George and Barbara Bush, a 'storybook' 73-year marriage
HOUSTON (AP) — They met at a Christmas dance. She was 17. He was 18.
Two years later they were married. Now 73 years later, they are the longest-married couple in presidential history.
"George Bush knows how I feel," Barbara Bush has said. "He is the hero... He is my hero."
With her former president husband still at her side, former first lady Barbara Bush has decided to decline further medical treatment for health problems and focus instead on "comfort care" at their home in Houston.
Family spokesman Jim McGrath disclosed Barbara Bush's decision Sunday. The 92-year-old had been in the hospital recently for congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She had heart valve replacement surgery in 2009 and a long history of treatment for Graves' disease, a thyroid condition.
The couple's relationship is a true love story, which granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager described Monday as "remarkable."
The former president "still says, 'I love you Barbie' every night," Hager said on NBC's Today, where she works. They had six children, including Hager's father, former president George W. Bush, making Barbara Bush one of only two first ladies to also be a presidential mother. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the nation's second president, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president.
George H.W. Bush, 93, has described the mother of their six children as "the mainstay, of course, the parent who was always there to help solve the daily problems and emergencies of teen and preteen life."
In her 1994 memoir, Barbara Bush describes her and her husband as "the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends. We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that."
The former president was a naval aviator in training when they met.
"I'm not much at recalling what people wear, but that particular occasion stands out in my memory," he says in his autobiography.
The band was playing Glenn Miller tunes and he asked a friend from Rye, New York, if he knew the girl across the room in the green and red holiday dress. The friend introduced him to Barbara Pierce, a publisher's daughter from Rye who was going to school in South Carolina.
The next song was a waltz.
"Since I didn't waltz, we sat the dance out. And several more after th