For those attending or working at Golson Elementary School in 1990, they witnessed and were a part of history that has yet to be repeated in this county. First Lady Barbara Bush made a visit to Marianna and brought her literacy program to life in Melody Pender’s class. Mrs. Virginia Braxton was the principal at that time. Bush’s husband, George Bush was on the campaign trail working for Bill Grant who was a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives race.
The First Lady arrived with spectators filling the fields around the airport for an opportunity to not only get a glance at the wife of the U. S. President but an opportunity to speak with her. The entire arrival was captured on video with local Marianna resident Sherri Standland Johnson sharing her copy with the TIMES so that we could provide our readers with the detailed account of her arrival. Fastlane Computers was more than happy to transfer the video to DVD format.
As Mrs. Bush descended from a private jet, she immediately addressed the crowd gathered at the Marianna Airport, “Thank you very much for this excellent and superb welcome. This has been one of the great weeks of my life. First of all, at the World Series and now I’ve come to Marianna, Florida. I know, I know that the President will be so jealous when he hears about this welcome. This is the biggest I’ve ever had. I want to thank you very, very much and I certainly want to thank the school superintendent (Bill Peacock) for coming out to greet me. And I want to thank Leslie for giving me her wonderful essay she wrote. I am very proud to have that. You know you always work hard, but I don’t think George Bush ever wanted to be President of the United States when he was your age, he just worked very, very hard and he did the best he could in everything he did. So, if all of you are doing the best that you can, maybe you will be the President of the United States.”
The First Lady said, “I’m down here today, and I don’t know if I can say this, but I am down here today campaigning for Bill Grant who is a great friend of the President’s and a fabulous man and the only reason I dare mention this is that we consider him superbly qualified man so all of you get out there and go door-to-door for this wonderful man.”
The video clearly shows First Lady Barbara Bush mingling with the crowd gathered at the airport before heading to Golson Elementary School where she read to children in Melody Pender’s second grade class.