Indian River County Republican Party
Barbara Bush and Indian River County
Peace, Love and Barbara Bush
Vero Beach's late 1970's welcome to Barbara Bush was rather unusual.
Timing necessitated a private flight from Tallahassee to Vero Beach. This turned into an adventure of human sardines - George H.W. Bush and Bill Jordan in the front, Tom Lockwood, a Bush travel aide, and the ever-courageous Barbara Bush in the back - packed snuggly into a Travel Air.
The quick flight involved flying around thunderstorms, enduring turbulence, many stomach-churning bumps, and likely a bit of interior humidity. Bill looked back, expecting the worst. While others were green, Mrs. Bush remained her perky self. Tom Lockwood will still tell you this was the worst flight of his life.
When they landed in Vero, she popped out of the compact Travel Air, and within a few hours graced the head table of our event, as if she had just walked off Air Force One.
Vero Isles Tea Party
One of Mrs. Bush's more social visits later became Bill Jordan's favorite Barbara Bush story. Bill Jordan willingly accepted chauffeur duty to drive her to an afternoon tea party at John Stringer's home in Vero Isles.
En route, Mrs. Bush told Bill, "I need to freshen up," to which Bill replied, "we are just a few minutes from the Stringers." She retorted, "Bill, you don't walk into someone's home and ask to use their restroom." She suggested the nearest gas station, which luckily was Hick's 66 right on SR 60. Following that stop, they continued on to the lovely tea with dozens of guests and local press coverage. Roger Hicks had a Barbara Bush plaque honoring her visit in his store for quite a while after.
Presidency One - 1980 Straw Poll
The Jordans were staunch supporters of George H. W. Bush for President that year; Tom Lockwood backed Ronald Reagan; and Deb and Pete Robinson favored John Connolly, a political newcomer.
We gave away donuts poolside, passed out brochures, and worked the crowd along with the Bush family. As we departed Orlando, I will always remember Mrs. Bush standing near the buses in a beautiful purple velvet coat telling the family members, "we will see some of you in Iowa, some in New Hampshire, but we will all meet for Thanksgiving in Kennebunkport...no excuses."
Another Barbara Day in Vero Beach
Republican Women Aware was privileged to host Mrs. Bush for a review of her experiences in China and Tibet, including marvelous slides and insightful discussion. As we escorted her to the basement meeting room of the old Ramada Inn, she quipped, "looks like a dungeon" and of course, it did.
Mrs. Bush returned many times to Vero Beach; her final visit centered around a GOTV event for the re-election of George W. Bush. Elly fondly recalls ordering refreshments for the holding room, including tiny chocolate elephants, which Mrs. Bush neatly wrapped with a napkin and asked that they be taken for the children. This action led to a new ritual at Grand Harbor, which to this day, provides chocolate elephants for visiting Republican dignitaries.
As we don our biggest pearls and wish peace and comfort upon her family, let us never forget Mrs. Bush's advice for life:
"At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not, closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent."
God Bless You, First Lady Barbara Bush.
Carole Jean Jordan
Indian River County Tax Collector
Indian River County Republican State Committeewoman
Barbara Bush and Indian River County Remembered by Carole Jean Jordan and Elly Manov