Facebook Twitter

WHITE HOUSE MADE LASTING MARK ON 1ST DAUGHTERS

SHARE WHITE HOUSE MADE LASTING MARK ON 1ST DAUGHTERS

Susan Ford Bales, daughter of former President Ford, doesn't think much of life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

"It was a cross between living in a convent and a reform school," she said. She was a teenager when her father became president in 1974.Maureen Reagan and Luci Baines Johnson, also first daughters, joined Bales for a panel discussion Friday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Peggy Hoover Brigham, granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, also participated.

"I used to walk into Cabinet meetings to get my allowance or ask my father if I could go somewhere," Bales said. "Our pets got mail, which was always very unusual to us, and we answered it."

She has fond road memories. Bales recalled throwing a Frisbee on the Great Wall of China with cartoonist Garry Trudeau and shaking hands with Mao Tse-tung.

Johnson said White House life was difficult for a teenager: "I really had no privacy in my adolescence."

She recalled once hiding in the closet of a White House bedroom in an unsuccessful attempt to get out of making a campaign appearance for her father. She also remembers the day President Kennedy was shot - a Secret Service agent yanked her out of her high school Spanish class.

"I knew right at that moment that my life would never be the same, and it wasn't," Johnson said. Her father took Kennedy's place.