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My Barbara Bush Story

18 April, 2018

As so many famous people are sharing their Barbara Bush stories, I thought I would share mine. Two things you should know:

1. In 1998 Barbara Bush spoke at the Augustana College Boe Forum where she gave a talk on faith and family.

2. The exit to the Augustana cafeteria was into a hallway with two conference rooms in it.

Picture it, fall, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, nineteen hundred and ninety-eight. I was a young, trans girl not yet out but playing with presentation. My hair was long, full, and blonde.

I was eating in the cafeteria. Likely, it was granola because they served a lot of pasta and I didn’t want to gain a sophomore 30. After finishing my cereal and studying I dashed to the drop off window and then quick to the exit. Where I ran into, almost literally, two men in dark suits.

One said, “You can’t go this way.”

I said, “I have class in ten minutes.” My class was with history professor Mike Mullins who was renowned for fast spoken, straight through lectures. For the first two weeks, I didn’t even know what the man looked like (smokin’ hot, by the bye) because I never looked up from my notebook. I did not want to be late for class.

“You can’t go this way,” the dark suited man repeated.

“Oh.” I said. Then I slipped my 135 pound self between the two of them and out the double doors where I ran into, almost literally, former First Lady Barbara Bush. I dead stopped and felt my famous too-pale-for-you flush of embarrassment rise from my chest to hairline. Then I felt very heavy hands on my shoulders and left arm.

I gaped at Barbara and she glanced at me and then, to the security escorts she said, “Let her through.”

The hands released me and I dashed past Barbara Bush and down the stairs faster than Peter Cottontail out of Farm McGregor’s field. It was over an hour before I realised the matronly, conservative woman said “Let /her/ through.”

I still smile with the thrill of proper gendering when I think of this.

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