They have wielded enormous financial power and dominated world politics for more than half a century. They have been appointed to positions of great power and have been elected as governors, congressmen, senators and presidents. They have shaped our past and, with our country at war under the leadership of their number one son, they are, more critically than ever, shaping our future.As the Bush family has risen to dominance, so too they have been master orchestrators of their own public image, acting and operating under the shield of privacy their money and status have always afforded them. Until now.
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September 14, 2006
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Excerpt from The Family by Kitty Kelley
Flora Sheldon Bush was fuming. Her thirteen-year-old son, Prescott, was supposed to have spent that August of 1908 at a New Jersey sports resort with a classmate and his family. Flora's husband, Samuel Prescott Bush, had sent the boy there to play tennis, while Flora, their two daughters, Mary and Margaret, their younger son, Jim, Samuel's mother, Harriet, and the family nanny were spending the month at the East Bay Lodge in Osterville, Massachusetts. But Prescott had abruptly been sent home by his friend's mother, Mrs. Dods. Flora's regal mother-in-law, Harriet Fay Bush, urged her to demand an explanation and an apology from Mrs. Dods, but Flora, whose social instincts were unerring in these matters, restrained herself. "I am not ready for that," she wrote to her husband. "I think I may hear from Mrs. D. and if so, you must forward the letter . . . for nothing has ever happened that raised my indignation more than her summary dismissal of Prescott."
A few days later Flora again mentioned her vexation: "Your mother is quite sure I ought to write Mrs. Dods. It scarcely seems right. I resent it all more than anything I have experienced."
The unexpected change in Prescott's plans upset his father, who worried that the incident might have been Prescott's fault. If so, that might affect his acceptance into St. George's School in the fall. But after hearing her son's side of the story, Flora tried to assure her husband that the youngster was not entirely to blame:
I am sorry you are disappointed in Prescott and yet I am not surprised. He is of course a boy of very tender years. And I sometimes have a feeling of great dread at sending him away to school and yet I do feel that the strict discipline may be just the thing. He was glad to get back to us again but he misses his sport at Osterville--There are no tennis courts here but poor grass ones--he said if he had his clubs he would play golf.