George H.W. Bush’s Texas Education

ILLUSTRATION: JACK UNRUH

By Jon Meacham

In the summer of 1948, George H. W. Bush loaded his car in distant Connecticut and headed to the Lone Star State, a move that would shape the man and launch the future president’s political career:

“Within a week of arriving in Odessa, Bush rented half of a duplex on unpaved East Seventh Street and sent for Barbara and the baby. The apartments were connected by a common bathroom. On Chapel and Edwards Streets in New Haven, the Bushes had shared a bath before, but the similarities between Yale and Odessa ended there, as Barbara discovered when she and Georgie got off the plane from New York after a twelve-hour trip. They were stepping into what she called “a whole new and very hot world.”

Back home in Rye, New York, Barbara’s mother, Pauline Pierce, was puzzled by the whole business. “Who had ever heard of Odessa, Texas?” Barbara wrote of Mrs. Pierce’s reaction to the move. “She sent me cold cream, soap, and other items she assumed were available only in civilized parts of the country. She did not put Odessa in that category.” The Bushes’ fellow renters next door, a thirty-eight-year-old mother and her twenty-year-old daughter, were prostitutes whose callers often locked the Bushes out of the bathroom.

To read the entire article in Garden and Gun, click HERE.

Selection adapted from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham’s book, Destiny and Power. The biography chronicles the life of the forty-first president and the forces that shaped his character.

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