Barbara Bush remembered for her strength and family values among friends

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Days after her passing, people from all over the Permian Basin have shared and heard stories of the former first lady we all came to know as America's Grandma, Barbara Bush.

For a few lucky people in Midland, she wasn't just a former first lady, she was a friend and role model.

Linda Cowden was one of those people. One of the main people to open doors at the George W. Bush Childhood Home, Cowden recounts Barbara as a strong woman.

David Valdez, White House Photo Office

"As soon as you meet her, you know she is a strong woman, the way she talks, she asks very direct questions and she expects answers," Cowden said.

It wasn't just her direct demeanor and character that made women admire her, Cowden says her big heart and life experiences are part of what made her so special.

"The way she raised her family. And, to have gone through the loss of Robin, it was traumatic for everyone back then a diagnose of leukemia was a death sentence for a child there was nothing they could do," said Cowden.

The death of her daughter Robin has been mentioned a few times as something that really impacted Barbara. The loss of the child is never easy on parent and it was in West Texas where she found support.

"My mother was the corresponding secretary for the junior league at that time, and it was her job to write a sympathy letter to the Bushes and she still talks about talks about how hard that was. It was just a horrible experience to have to write that to a mother and father who just lost a child," said Cowden.

Although Robin could never be forgotten or replaced, it was in Midland where Barbara would later gain another daughter, Laura Lane Welch.

Laura who was born in Midland married Barbara's first son, George W., who later followed in his father's footsteps and became president of the United States.

When Laura first met Barbara, she was nervous and kept her answers short, Cowden recalled.

What girl wouldn't be nervous to meet a possibly future mother-in-law and whose husband at that time was director of intelligence for the United States?

Linda recounts how Barbara asked Laura what it was she did and Laura replied, "I read."

The two women shared their love for literacy and throughout their time in and out of the White House advocated for literacy across the country.

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