KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Former first lady Barbara Bush is celebrating her 90th birthday Monday, with an evening gala to be held on the grounds of St. Ann’s Church.
Local businesses and organizations have put up signs in Kennebunkport’s Dock Square wishing the former first lady a “Happy 90th” and large tents are going up on the grounds of St. Ann’s, located just a few steps down from the Bush family summer compound, Walker’s Point.
For her birthday, Bush is helping to promote literacy. She’s lending her backing to a $7 million change by X Prize and Dollar General. They’re challenging developers to create a mobile app to help improve adult literacy skills.
Monday night’s gala is reported to be attended by Bush family members, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush’s granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager is also in town, broadcasting a segment with her grandmother on NBC-TV’s “Today” show this morning from Kennebunkport.
Standing with the ocean behind her Monday morning, “Today” anchors in New York asked Bush Hager if her grandmother would be skydiving today, as her husband George H.W. Bush did last year to celebrate his 90th birthday.
“I can tell you there’s zero chance she will be skydiving. This is the closest we’ll come to skydiving, this crazy wind I’m in right now,” Bush Hager said. “We all know my grandmother has never been scared to speak her mind, but she will be celebrating her 90th in her own special way.”
In the “Today” segment, Bush Hager called her grandmother their family’s “rock and the glue that holds us together,” a woman they call “the enforcer.” Bush said she is thankful for her husband, their life together, and her greatest blessing — their family.
“I’ve been the luckiest woman in the world, truthfully. And I know it,” Bush said.
She’s also a woman who taught her family about eternal and unconditional love. She met George H.W. Bush when she was 16 years old. She was 16 when she first came to his family’s summer home in Kennebunkport, Bush told her granddaughter.
“I was a nervous wreck,” Bush said of her first trip to Kennebunkport.
Riding in a golf cart along the edges of Walker’s Point in the segment, Bush looked out on the rocks telling her granddaughter that she said she and her future husband would “sit out here and talk.”
“You fell in love on the rocks,” Bush Hager asked.
“Very much,” Bush answered.
And Bush Hager said “a lifetime of adventure followed.”
With her son Jeb expected to announce on June 15 that he’s running for president, Barbara Bush told her granddaughter that she’s made a promise during this next campaign season that “I will not talk.”
“I will not give any interviews,” she said, adding to her granddaughter that “I don’t tweet” and there will be “no Instagram.”
“I’m going to keep it quiet,” Bush said. “I’m going to stop voicing my opinion and sticking up for things that are right, except my boy and I think he’s brilliant.”
“I assume you mean Jeb,” Bush Hager asked.
“Right,” Bush replied.
Through her birthday celebration, Bush Hager said, her grandmother has raised $17 million for literacy in America.