I never met former First Lady Betty Ford, who died Friday at the age of 93.
But my wife and I met her youngest son, Steve Ford, at a recent luncheon at the National Press Club. And he told a story about his mother and father that reminded everyone there how the Fords were one of the most down to Earth families to live in the White House.
“When dad became president, he’d been vice president. We lived in a little house across the river here in Alexandria, Virginia. There was no vice president’s mansion,. We lived in the suburbs,” Steve Ford said.
“When he assumed the presidency on that day in august 1974We didn’t get to move into the White house. Nixon had left so quickly, so unexpectedly, when he resigned that they weren’t able to pack up all their belongings and so it took 6-7 days.
“So that night, after dad took the oath of office, we went back to our little three bedroom house in Alexandria, Virginia.
“And gosh, I will never forget my mother standing over the stove that night cooking. She said, `Gerry, something’s wrong here, you know. You just became President of the United States and I’m still cooking.”