With the news of H. W.'s death, the Douglas family remembers times in Kennebunkport.
Spending ample time in Kennebunkport, Maine, the Douglas family is now reminiscing on fond memories of George H. W. Bush and his family, who had a “summer White House” they vacationed to in the small town in Southern Maine.
The town didn’t even have a traffic light, said Jeff Douglas, of Palm Coast. But it had “41.”
“Routinely, you’d be having dinner at a place and the family would come in and sit down,” Jeff Douglas said. “He’d walk around and shake everybody’s hands and apologize — that they hope they wouldn’t be too noisy. He was very gracious. … Barbara would turn around and tell him to sit down and stop bothering everybody. They were funny together.”
The Douglas family moved to Kennebunkport in 2000, where his two children Walker and Rachel grew up, before they moved back to Flagler County around 2013. Now, they often visit Kennebunkport while still residing permanently in Palm Coast.
“To most of the locals there, 41 was just kind of another part of the community,” Walker Douglas said. “You saw him every once and a while, and it may be a special thing to see him, but it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary.”
Jeff Douglas was in Kennebunkport when H. W. Bush died on Nov. 30, 2018.
“He was kind, unassuming, no air of pretension whatsoever,” Jeff Douglas said. “You would never know who this man was other than the people that were with him. He was very very kind, very gracious.”
Walker Douglas recalled a story of helping rescue H. W. and his boat after heavy fog on a summer afternoon in 2013 caused him to beach his boat on the sandy shore by the inlet.
Walker and his dad hoped in their tuna boat, grabbed a rope, handed it to a secret service agent who tied it up to the former president's boat. They then helped pull him off the beach and back to the dock.
“About a week later, we get a bottle of dom perignon and a handwritten letter where [H.W. Bush] was very funny, very kind, very humble,” Walker Douglas said. “That was probably the last time we saw him in person, was pulling him off the beach.”
“He’s a classy guy,” he added.