Daughter Daena is a senior presidential writer.
All White House staff get a departure photo with President Bush and are allowed to bring 4 family members. Daena’s department got their photos taken October 22.
I haven’t seen the originals yet, but Daena posted scanned copies on Facebook.
I don’t remember much of anything; it was quite surreal. We stood in a long line in the West Wing’s Roosevelt Room and were ushered in as a family for our 1 minute alone time with the President in the Oval Office. He was waiting to greet us by the couch as someone announced who Daena was. The President took an instant shine to 8-year-old grandson Gabriel. I remember he asked if Gabriel wanted to be called Gabriel or Gabe (doesn’t matter), which is what you see going on here….
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Then we had our official photo taken….


Left to right, Rich, Daena, President Bush, Gabriel, me, and son Tim. (Son Michael let Gabriel take his place.)…
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Now I had gotten the cute idea to have the President sign a permission slip for Gabriel to miss school. I made 2 copies in case 1 got wrinkled or dirty. I didn’t expect this, but the President signed both of them, adding an extra note on 1 saying “Best Wishes” and something else I can’t remember. Gabriel kept that 1 and we kept the more generic one. …
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Then the President offered Gabriel a WH pin…
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And that was it! We were ushered out the side door to the Rose Garden to freak out there… :)