■ BY SUE ERWIN
Ellie LeBlond Sosa, granddaughter of George and Barbara Bush, will be speaking about her book at the Johann Fust Library at 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 24.
Sosa wrote “George and Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story” in June of 2018.
Seeing her grandparents together – the genuine love they had for one another – is what inspired her to write the book.
“My memories of them together will always include laughter and holding hands,” Sosa said. “They were holding hands until my grandmother’s last day on Earth.”
Sosa had searched for the secret to Barbara and President George H. W. Bush’s 77-year love affair that withstood World War II separation, a leap of faith into the oil fields of West Texas, the painful loss of a child, a political climb to the highest office and, after the White House, the transition back to “normal” life.
“To begin with, I was in love and I am in love, so that’s not hard,” Barbara Bush told her granddaughter on her porch in Kennebunk- port, Maine.
Sosa recalls a story her uncle Jeb told at Barbara’s funeral about her grandfather faking an illness when Barbara was in the hospital just so he could stay in the room next to her.
“One day he was rolled in to sit with her. He had his oxygen mask on his face, and his hair was not combed like it usually was,” Sosa said. “He was a bit disheveled. She looked at the nurse in the room and said something like, ‘Isn’t he just so handsome?’ They were lovebirds even at 92 and 93.”
Sosa co-authored the book with Kelly Anne Chase.
“We were so lucky to be able to interview my grandmother a few times throughout the writing process, so her voice is present throughout the book,” Sosa said. “We interviewed other family and friends as well, but maybe the greatest gift was being able to have special access to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library archives. This is where they preserve all of the letters, diary entries, photos, videos and newspaper clippings from their life together. We were able to use those letters, diary entries and photos in the book, which makes it really special.”
Sosa said she is excited to come to Boca Grande to talk about her book next week.
“My mom and I are going to do the presentation together in an interview format,” she said. “She’ll primarily be interviewing me about the book, but she of course lived through much more of their life and love story, so I’ll be asking her questions as well. I believe we’ll open it up to questions from the audience too, and then I’ll be happy to sign books afterwards.”
Johann Fust Community Library Foundation Executive Director Bobbie Marquis said she is thrilled that the library will be hosting Sosa.
“We are honored to present Ellie, and we’re excited to hear her speak about her book and about her legendary grandparents,” Marquis said.
The event is part of the 2019 Johann Fust Library Foundation literary series.
The Johann Fust Community Library is located at 1040 10th St. W. in Boca Grande.