I don’t remember the Kennedy presidency, but I do remember thinking the name of the little girl in the tulle dress sounded like mine. And the two tall dark-haired Johnson girls – well, they were tall to an 8 year old – seemed interchangeable. I do recall a wedding during those years, or was it Tricia Nixon’s? No matter. And I remember the Ford daughter, whose name, I think, began with an “S,” had her prom in the White House, because that was the year of my junior prom.
Amy Carter was the first White House child to firmly land on my radar, with the media calling attention to every physical and scholastic growing pain she was having. Next, we endured eight years of Patti Davis’s celebritydom, which overshadowed big sis Maureen’s politicking, followed by only one George Herbert Walker Bush daughter, Dorothy, whom if I knew about didn’t remember till I did a Google search for this piece. And then came Chelsea, and the attention/assessment that she, unfortunately, embodied the worst physical characteristics of both parents. I decided to write this after seeing her onscreen at the DNC, stately and blond and clapping for Dad. It got me thinkin’ about my generation’s Presidential Dads and Daughters.
I never fully registered the names of George Walker Bush’s twin girls, and still identify them as the “good one and the bad one.” And Malia and Sasha Obama are still too young to cause any controversy and are well protected from public scrutiny. But give it another four years.
Ooops! I don’t mean you should vote for Obama. I would never tell anyone what to do behind the curtain. Having said that, before I go, I do offer an alternative: Helen Merolla, my mom. Disgusted with this campaign, she remarked the other night that she was thinking of sticking a sign in her front lawn that said, “Vote for Beautiful Helen.” Modesty is not a family trait, and modesty has no place in politics anyway. At 83 she has more energy than I do. An early supporter of the NAACP, she went on to become the first woman mayor of our large New Jersey township, and subsequently sat on a NJ state planning commission. Once a Democrat, she is now a Liberal Republican. So perhaps she can bring “Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.”
Best part? A vote for Mom would bring me one vote closer to becoming First Daughter. I am decades past my prom and happily married, so no more weddings. There will be no scandalous videos or embarrassing arrests. I will take this opportunity to publicly disclose that I have a Cheez Doodle addiction.