Frank & Pat Lynch

Mr. and Mrs. Lynch were friends of President and Mrs. Gerald Ford. Frank and Pat were interviewed for the Gerald R. Ford Oral History Project on June 28, 2010 by Richard Norton Smith.

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Smith: How did your paths cross originally with the Fords?

Mr. Lynch: We got involved with the Crystal Ball and bidding on things and charitable functions and they were involved with that.

Smith: Now was this after they’d left the White House?

Mr. Lynch: Yes.  And we took a trip to the west coast with the Fords, with about seven or eight couples.  I think it was a fundraiser.

Mrs. Lynch: That’s right.  You used to play golf with him also.

Mr. Lynch: That was later, but first we went to the west coast on a golfing trip.

Smith: Did you expect to be intimidated at all?

Mr. Lynch: No, I was never intimidated.  He was just a great, great guy.

Mrs. Lynch: They were wonderful.

Mr. Lynch: He loved us and we loved them.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, they were really so much fun to be with.

Smith: That’s interesting.  What kind of fun?

Mrs. Lynch: Well, you know, they had a great sense of humor and we traveled and things would happen and they didn’t get harried about it and neither did we.

Smith: Can you think of anything?  It’s well-known that she had a somewhat more ribald sense of humor than he did.

Mr. Lynch: She was funny.

Mrs. Lynch: Yes.  You know, he was so good on these trips when we would go overseas.  We went mostly Mediterranean, Greece, Italy, and places like that.  And people would come and just interrupt him while he was eating.  This used to bother her because she was worried about him.  But he would stop and talk to anybody who came along and said, “I’m from Michigan,” or sailors or just tourists.  He always had time for them.  Always.  And it was difficult because, you know, we were all together.  There’d be a big group of six or seven of us, maybe five, well, of course, not counting Secret Service.  They were kind of funny, too.  I always admired the fact that he was really good about talking to everybody.  I mean, he had no reason to.  He wasn’t running for anything anymore.

Mr. Lynch: He never complained about anything.  He had a knee operation and was still on a cane when we were on our first trip to the Mediterranean and he was going up and down a lot of stairs.  It was amazing.  But we always hit it off from the very beginning.  He was just a very approachable guy.

Smith: Did he talk politics?

Mr. Lynch: Never.

Mrs. Lynch: He didn’t, but I would ask him.  Frank wouldn’t ask him much, but I would ask him.

Smith: Did he ever talk about Nixon?  For example, did you ever ask him about the pardon?

Mrs. Lynch: I’ll tell you about an incident, I don’t know whether I should or not, but at one point we went to Rome and we were at the American Embassy.  Peter Secchia was the ambassador then.  They had kind of a question and answer bit with all the people who worked at the embassy and one of the questions was, “What was the most difficult thing that you had to do as president?”  Apparently he said something and somebody didn’t hear him and they said, “Pardon?” and he said, “That’s it!”  But he didn’t discuss it, no.

Mr. Lynch: I think he knew when he pardoned him that he was probably not going to be reelected.  But he did it for the country, I think.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, he did.  He had a noble soul.  He really did.

Smith: Who were his friends here?

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, my gosh.  Everybody was his friend.

Mr. Lynch: All the old timers in Vail.  It was a different village then.  Everybody knew everybody.

Smith: Describe Vail then and how it was different.

Mrs. Lynch: It was just like a big family party.  Everybody knew everybody else.

Mr. Lynch: It was the best of times.  It’ll never be the same.  It was a little more rustic, but then again it was down to earth and there wasn’t any caste system out here.  Everybody was the same, whether they worked on tables or were multi-millionaires, it didn’t matter.

Mrs. Lynch: You could be at a party with the President of the United States and the head of big corporations, a few ski instructors, a bartender, you know, people who just ran their own businesses.  It was really nice.  Really nice.

Smith: We’ve been told that one of the things that they particularly appreciated – it was a town accustomed to dealing with celebrities, and people were pretty good about leaving them alone.

Mrs. Lynch: They were.  They really were.  There weren’t people taking pictures of them all the time or anything like that.

Smith: No autograph seekers?

Mrs. Lynch: He didn’t do autographs.  I don’t blame him.  It was bad enough he had to talk to everybody.

Smith: I think part of it was that he realized that there were people who were selling them, the collectors who were profiting.

Mr. Lynch: He was a very humble man.  He was.

Smith: What makes you say that?

Mr. Lynch: Well, he never had airs.  He never had it where “you can’t expect me to do that” or “somebody is out of order” or something like that.  I’ve never seen the guy angry.

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, I’ve seen him angry.

Mr. Lynch: He’d get angry if he didn’t get his lunch on time.

Mrs. Lynch: He had a terrible temper.  Very rarely, but when something bothered him—

Smith: What caused it when you say you saw it?

Mrs. Lynch: Usually he’d get grumpy if he didn’t eat.

Mr. Lynch: It was a sugar thing, I think.

Mrs. Lynch: I don’t know what it was, but it could be a very small thing.  He wouldn’t get mad and “Do you know who I am?”  It wasn’t stuff like that.  It was small things that most men get mad at, but when he got mad, he got mad.

Mr. Lynch: He was just a great guy.  He was a man’s man.  No question about it.

Smith: One of the things I observed over time in that most of us tend to get a little more conservative with age.  Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe we have more to conserve, whatever.  And he certainly was always a fiscal conservative.  But on a lot of social issues, you wonder whether it was the Republican Party just kept moving to the Right and they stayed where they were…or whether, for example, going through Mrs. Ford’s problems and all the compassion that that called forth – whether that affected other parts of his world view as well.  But by the time he died, it wasn’t just a woman’s right to choose, but gay rights – I mean, things you don’t associate with the Republican Party.

Mrs. Lynch: I think Betty had a lot to do with that.  She was the so-called broad minded, more liberal one of the two and she had a terrific influence on him.  He was crazy about her.

Smith: Tell me about their marriage.

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, they were just wonderful.  I mean, they would have a minor tiff about every couple of weeks or so, but they had a very, very good marriage.  But she did have a very big influence on him.  She was smart.  She had accomplished a lot.  She’d been through a lot and I think he admired her for that.

Smith: One wonders whether he felt any degree of guilt for all those years when he was climbing the ladder and he was on the road.  She basically raised the kids.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah.

Mr. Lynch: But, so did everybody in those days.  That was not __________ bothered by that.

Mrs. Lynch: They would sponsor or be at all of these shows and one time we were at a show – it was a singer and I don’t remember who it was – but he requested that they play for him, dedicated to her, You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings.  And it was kind of sad because we were all, you know, kind of weepy about that because most people won’t do that.  You know?

Smith: That’s a wonderful story because, I think one of the things people came to realize the week of the funeral – everybody knew about the Reagans – but the Fords really did have a great love affair.

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, they really did.

Mr. Lynch: Hell, she lasted through all that …  All those affairs in the capital and then Palm Springs.

Smith: We’d been told at ABC, beginning at St. Margaret’s in the desert, “Don’t be surprised if you see her in a wheelchair.”  Of course, we never did until the very end and then only briefly.  And then she made that long walk all the way down to the gravesite.

Mr. Lynch: She was standing up for all that time.

Mrs. Lynch: Man, I don’t know how she did that, either.

Smith: The next week, the story is, she came back to the desert and someone commented on that and she said, “I just did what my husband would’ve wanted me to do.”

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, exactly.  And it was a wonderful service.  That was another great thing.  It wasn’t hokey or overly sentimental.  It was just the way they were.  I remember one time we were on a ship and she said to me, “What are you going to do now?”  It was right after dinner.  And I said, “Well, I’m sorry, Betty, but I’m going to the bar” and she said, “Well, just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I don’t like to hang around bars.”

Smith: Really?

Mrs. Lynch: That’s what I mean by fun.  She was so much fun.

Smith: Yeah.  But I would think that would be an extraordinary test in some ways.

Mrs. Lynch: She never had a drink in her hand or anything like that, but she could go anywhere and be friendly and nobody would notice.  It was very nice.  And, of course, Europe, they were very grateful to him for a lot of things he did.

Mr. Lynch: He saved Italy.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, Italy and France.

Smith: So, would he be recognized by “men on the street”?  Not just Americans over there?

Mr. Lynch: Oh, yeah.  When we were at the Parthenon over there, people would clamor from all over the place.  It was unbelievable.  He was waving.

Mrs. Lynch: And when we were at dinner with Jim Callaghan, the former British Prime Minister—

Smith: Of course, they came back every year for the World Forum.  And, on the face of it, you think, Jim Callaghan is a classic, old line, Socialist, Labor Party, you know.  Helmut Schmidt was certainly to the left.  Giscard is a toplofty aristocratic type.  Yet they all seemed to hit it off with President Ford.

Mrs. Lynch: And they were quite fond of him.  We sat between them and we were all talking and I was listening to what they had to say and they were all very good friends.

Mr. Lynch: Callaghan was a charmer, though.  He was smart.  Of course, his wife had Alzheimer’s which is kind of sad.

Mrs. Lynch: She was there, though.

Smith: Really?

Mrs. Lynch: See, that’s what I mean when I say they’d come out for him.

Smith: What was he like on the golf course?

Mr. Lynch: Like everybody else.  He was fine.  He was a pretty good golfer.  I mean, they made fun of him, but he was the best athlete we’ve ever had by far.

Mrs. Lynch: He was a great athlete!

Smith: Did he or she ever say anything—?

Mr. Lynch: Never.

Smith: Because I wonder if she was bothered by it more than he was.

Mr. Lynch: And he was a great dancer.  He was a great dancer.

Smith: Was he?

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, he was a very good dancer.  Excellent.

Mr. Lynch: Of course, that shows you what the damned press can do.

Mrs. Lynch: We know she was a dancer, but he was a very good dancer.

Smith: Did she say anything?  I mean, you said she minded it more than he, but, you know, the whole Chevy Chase business, the whole caricature of him as bumbling—

Mrs. Lynch: She would make a crack that was not _____ that was just her in annoyance, but they never really criticized anybody.  At least not in my presence.

Smith: It’s interesting that you say that.  I only heard him speak disparagingly about two people and the worst epithet he could come up with is, “He’s a bad man.”  One was Gordon Liddy and one was John Dean.

Mrs. Lynch: Well, I heard him say something about someone who cheated at golf, but I’m not going to say the name.

Smith: Interesting that it was the cheating that did it.

Mrs. Lynch: It was the cheating.  Yeah.

Mr. Lynch: Everybody knew about it for crying out loud.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, well, he’s still alive, Frank.  He might shoot you.

Mr. Lynch: I don’t care.

Smith: He really was an Eagle Scout, wasn’t he?

Mr. Lynch: Yes.

Mrs. Lynch: He was a very noble soul, I think.  For instance, we were strolling along the French Riviera.  I mean, you know the French Riviera; everybody is naked, by God.  And I don’t know whether it was the Secret Service or other people of the party that said, “Hey, Mr. President, come down and take a look at this” and he just went, “I’m not interested in that.”

Smith: There’s a wonderful story in Tom deFrank’s book that sounds so much like him.  When Frank Gifford and Kathy Lee had their problems, the Fords called and said they were praying for them and wanted to be there for them, be of help and so on.  And someone who was visiting with the President, who had been on the White House staff, remarked, “Out of everyone I know in Washington, everyone I’ve worked for, you are the only person who I know has been totally faithful to your marriage vows.”   And Ford got quiet for a minute and then said, “Well, you know, there are ten things that can happen.  Nine of them are bad, and the tenth you can get taken care of at home.”

Mrs. Lynch: Well, that’s like that reporter that said to him, “How often do you sleep with your wife?” and he said, “Every chance I get!”

Smith: And the funny thing is, when they moved into the White House and it became clear that they were sharing a room, there were concerned Americans who wrote in to protest.  But things were changing.  Just stop to think about the impact she has had.

Mrs. Lynch: A huge impact.

Smith: I mean, it’s hard for people today to realize how forty years ago people didn’t talk about breast cancer.

Mrs. Lynch: Or any kind of addiction.

Smith: She’s had more impact, arguably, on how ordinary people live their lives than a lot of presidents have had.

Mrs. Lynch: Well, I remember two things.  They gave us a book that, on the cover was President Ford dancing with Queen Elizabeth.  And Betty said, “You know what they were playing when they were doing that dance?  The Lady Is A Tramp.”  She’d gotten a big kick out of it.

Smith: You wonder if the Queen did.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah.  Another time she said, they were coming up the elevator with the Queen in the White House and it opened and there’s Steve in his underwear running around for some reason.  You know, a teenager.  And they gasped and the Queen said, “Oh, I’ve got a few of those.”

Smith: The maternal language is universal.

Mrs. Lynch: Yes.  And you could see that, you know, their attitude made people just cozy up to them somehow in just a regular way.

Smith: How were they as grandparents?  Did you see them with the grandchildren?

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, they were crazy about their grandchildren.  Yeah.  As a matter of fact, at the funeral, I met the great grandchildren.  So, they loved their grandchildren.

Smith: And, of course, that house they built was big enough, so all the kids could come for Christmas.  That was an annual tradition?

Mr. Lynch: Yeah.

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, yeah.  They all came for Christmas.  Well, at least most of them came.  When Susan got divorced she said, “Susan’s going to undo what we didn’t want her to do in the first place.”

Smith: That’s a classic line.

Mrs. Lynch: But it was just short little things like that.  She never would amble on or go on and on about anything really.

Mr. Lynch: I remember one time in Venice and Betty was sitting, I think, next to me for some reason and whenever she got a drink, she’d push it to me.  One guy was trying to figure out who the heck am I and I said, “I’m Betty Ford’s designated drinker.”  So we got a laugh out of that.

Smith: Did she talk about what she’d gone through at all?

Mr. Lynch: Not to me.

Mrs. Lynch: She did to me, but I don’t want to repeat something that I felt she was just sharing to me.

Mr. Lynch: She’d throw out (?) terse kind of comments sometimes, but she wasn’t a moaning—

Mrs. Lynch: She had a very hard time and she mentioned a few things that she regrets, but, basically, it really wasn’t her fault.  She was on pain pills or something for something else and that happens, whether you want it to happen or not.

Smith: My sense is that they were both very compassionate people.

Mrs. Lynch: They were.  They were, because if anybody got sick or if they had a friend who was having a hard time or something – Betty had a lot of friends that would come here to visit her for a week or so.  You know, just old, old friends that they were being nice to and they were always calling you if you were sick or write a note or something.  It was always something really nice that they would do.  She used to call me all the time, especially if I was sick.

Smith: I assume one of the difficult things of being 92 is you’ve probably outlived most of your friends.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, and I don’t know who’s guarding her, but you can’t near her.  Even Sheika can’t get near her.  Because I used to call her on her birthday, but the last couple of times, they’d say, “She’s doing something else,” or “She’s in therapy,” or “She’s sleeping,” or something.  So, I thought, “Well, maybe they really don’t want to be bothering her.”

Smith: I don’t think she’s ever gotten over his loss.

Mrs. Lynch: No, I don’t think so.

Smith: She’s told people, “Just tell them I’m retired.”

Mrs. Lynch: Well, it’s tough if you’re 92 and she’s very frail.  She was frail when she was running around.

Smith: But isn’t it interesting, because she does look so frail, so vulnerable, and yet, at 92—

Mrs. Lynch: She’s tough.  She’s very tough.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  She’s got that fiber.  She really does.

Smith: It sounds like they were fun to travel with.  And, you know, with traveling, you can’t control things.

Mrs. Lynch: They were just fun and it was never a problem.  In fact, you know, if you’ve ever traveled with them, you know that everything kind of goes smoothly and the traffic doesn’t bother you or anything else because, you know, you’ve got all these Secret Service people.  I said to her, “I’m never going to go anywhere without you” and she said, “Well, that’s okay with us.”

Mr. Lynch: They were just fun to be with.  There was no deep causes or wrangles or anything like that.  It was a joy.

Smith: I take it they were involved in a lot of things in the community.

Mrs. Lynch: Yes, they were and they would show up at everything.  That’s another thing that was really good.  Of course, it was the Ford ski races and the celebrity cup and Ford & Friends at the amphitheater and the golf; something was always around him, which was good for us.

Mr. Lynch: And he always showed up, whether it was cold or inconvenient or horrible.  He’d be there.

Smith: There are those who say that they did as much as anyone in terms of establishing Vail as a summer destination.

Mrs. Lynch: Yes.  Yes.

Mr. Lynch: Vail wouldn’t be here without those two.

Mrs. Lynch: Really.  Because he was an avid golfer and he was a terrific skier, too.  He was a great athlete.  I mean, he was a football player.  Those stupid press people.  Don’t cut that out.

Smith: She must’ve enjoyed building the house up at Beaver Creek.  Word is that she had a lot to say about the design.

Mrs. Lynch: Yes, she picked out every little thing.

Smith: Well, he got his pool house and he got his study.

Mrs. Lynch: Of course, that’s one thing you could see as you went up on the chair lift.  He knew people would say, “That’s where the Fords live” if they knew.  He had that long skinny lap pool because he did that every day, no matter what.

Smith: Even toward the end when he would have to have a Secret Service agent with him to help him out of the pool…for someone that age to be that vigorous athletically—

Mrs. Lynch: One time we were visiting them in California and we had to go to church, so we had to borrow their car.

Mr. Lynch: You’re going to tell them this?  This is inside a gated community and inside a house with Secret Service men _______ the car.

Mrs. Lynch: And Betty calls up the Secret Service and said, “Those stupid Lynches locked the keys in the car.”  So, then they made up this big story about the Secret Service had to go to the jail to find a guy who would break into the car.  You know.

Mr. Lynch: This thing went on and on and on forever.

Mrs. Lynch: We never lived it down.  “Here come the stupid Lynches who locked the keys in the car.”  It was really funny.

Smith: You had running gags with them?

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah.  Well, that was a running gag.  “Don’t lock the keys in the car.”  That’s too funny.  That was a little embarrassing.

Smith: Now, Beaver Creek, I take, was an outgrowth of Vail?  Sort of a logical extension of Vail?

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, it wasn’t that logical, I don’t think, but they started it and its got a different feel.  It’s more European in the sense that there’s more high rises and big beautiful houses.  It doesn’t have this homey, little village-y feel that Vail has, but they were very happy over there.  Of course, the Firestones were right next door.

Smith: And they were great friends, weren’t they?

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, and of course, they were next door, also, in the desert.

Smith: Dee…?

Mr. Lynch: Dee Keaton.

Smith: Dee Keaton. Yeah.  He was clearly a good friend.  Who is Dee Keaton?

Mrs. Lynch: I’m not sure.  He lived on _________ Court, too.

Smith: Yeah, he was part of that group.

Mrs. Lynch: And who’s the guy who lives in the—

Mr. Lynch: He was in the financial business and then he got into a violation of the civil codes, financial codes, and he ended up going to jail for a year or something.

Mrs. Lynch: I didn’t even know that.  I mean, I never knew him.

Mr. Lynch: The guys from here, John Purcell and the others got on a line with the convicts as he was handing out stuff as they went to visit him.  Got on the line and went through with them.  Got up and there was his friends.  He was there for about a year.  White collar.  He was quite a guy.

Smith: How did they handle getting older?

Mr. Lynch: Who?  The Fords?

Smith: The Fords.

Mr. Lynch: A hell of a lot better than any of us.

Smith: I sensed that they liked to have younger people around them.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, they did.  That’s right.

Mr. Lynch: They were active, even when they were older.  They’d be at the shows at the amphitheater.

Mrs. Lynch: They didn’t get pushed around, either, because, you know, they had these things that the hair people or whatever would promote and they would say “Come over here and sit here, and they’re going to sit there.”  And we usually sat with them.  So when they said, “Oh, we don’t have room for them,” she’d say, “Well, if they don’t sit here, I don’t sit here.”  So, there was no problem about what they wanted to do or being pushed around by anybody.  And, at the same time, they never pushed anybody around.

Mr. Lynch: You know, I can’t ever recall them ever pushing anybody around.

Mrs. Lynch: No, they never did.

Mr. Lynch: And that’s not usual for powerful people.

Smith: Did they have favorite restaurants?  Favorite places that they went?  We know about the Left Bank.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, we always went to the Left Bank.  I can’t remember.  Oh, one time, they’d never been to the Gas House, so let us take them to the Gas House, which we did.

Smith: And what is the Gas House?

Mrs. Lynch: Of course it was such a dump!  It’s on the corner and it’s a gas station and there’s a sign that says “Eat Here and Get Gas”.

Smith: Not exactly presidential.

Mr. Lynch: A cheeseburger type thing.  I mean, he loved the cheeseburger as you know from all the stories.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, there was all this talk about the Gas House.  I had heard horrible stories where they sold drugs and everything else, but I don’t know for sure.

Smith: So, they enjoyed the experience?

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, yeah, they did enjoy it.  Then the Greenbaums were here.  They were very good friends with the Greenbaums and they had a place in Beaver Creek, also, at the Village Inn or whatever that place is.  A beautiful, beautiful view.

Mr. Lynch: Right on the mountain.

Mrs. Lynch: They had a lot of good friends here.  There are so many I can’t even remember.  Of course, a lot of people who were connected with the Betty Ford Center they were very friendly with.

Mr. Lynch: Didn’t the Greenbaums come with us to the Gas House?

Mrs. Lynch: I don’t remember.  I can hardly realize that I remember any of these things.

Smith: You’re doing great.  And he would light the Christmas tree every year.

Mrs. Lynch: Yes, that’s right.

Mr. Lynch: And, you know, it isn’t easy when it’s nine o’clock at night and it’s 20 below zero and he was there.

Smith: The last couple of years, the doctors really didn’t want them to come up here, but they were adamant.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, they came no matter what, but they didn’t stay as long.  Of course, the kids came, Jack and Steve and Mike came more, I think, as they got older because, I think, they were worried about them.

Smith: So they would come and sort of keep an eye on them?

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, of course, we all had lunch with Pepi here and all these old guys were lined up and Steve took a picture and it looked like Mount Rushmore only, you know, fifty years older with Pepi and Frank and all these men.  There were just about ten people there or maybe eight.  I forget all else who were there, but it was a funny picture.  Steve sent me the picture and he said, “What do you think of this?”  I forget who the other old guy was.

Mr. Lynch: I don’t know.  I see all these old guys and I find out that I’m older.

Smith: Aging is rough.

Mrs. Lynch: It’s horrible.

Mr. Lynch: You have no idea.

Mrs. Lynch: It’s really horrible.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to be 93.

Mr. Lynch: I was a scratch golfer and I played golf the other day and it was the worst round of golf I ever had in my life.

Smith: Do you remember the last time you saw him?

Mrs. Lynch: I’m trying to remember that.

Smith: Was it that last summer?  That last summer was kind of rough.  They did go back early.

Mrs. Lynch: And we did see them very, very briefly in the desert, because we had The Vintage in Indian Wells.  I know it was very brief because they were not well.  It was hard.

Mr. Lynch: I cannot remember.

Smith: He was a proud man.

Mrs. Lynch: He was.

Smith: I mean, his appearance—

Mr. Lynch: The way he would carry himself.

Smith: Yeah.

Mrs. Lynch: And he was a good-looking young guy, you know.

Smith: Yeah, he’d been a model.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah.

Mr. Lynch: Yeah, he was handsome.

Mrs. Lynch: And he knew it.

Mr. Lynch: So was I.  What happened?

Mrs. Lynch: I’ve almost shut the last time out of my mind because it was so hard, not only to see them get older, but to get older, myself.

Smith: It was a little bit like looking in the mirror?

Mrs. Lynch: We couldn’t do the things we used to do.

Mr. Lynch: It’s scary.  Your body doesn’t respond, simple as that.

Smith: Were you surprised at the amount of reaction at the time of his death?  You know, he’d been out of the public eye for awhile.

Mrs. Lynch: I wasn’t surprised because I knew a lot of people felt about them the way we did and I bet they had more close friends than almost any other ex-president.  They’d sort of go off into the sunset and had their own little coterie and that’s it, but the Fords were always open to people.

Mr. Lynch: But, he was very popular.  When we would travel and, as I said, at the Parthenon, everybody from all corners of the world loved him.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, they did.

Smith: Was he a good sailor?  You said you’d been on boats.

Mr. Lynch: Yeah.

Mrs. Lynch: Oh, yeah.

Smith: He’d been in the Navy.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, they were both good sailors.  I forget what they called him.  They called her ‘Big Mama’.  “Where’s Big Mama?  She’s late again.”

Smith: Had they agreed to disagree about punctuality?

Mrs. Lynch: That was a slight bone of contention, but he had the Secret Service complaining about it, so he felt that they were his stand-in, I suppose, because he never would do much.  He just did something else.

Smith: I suppose by that time he was used to it.

Mrs. Lynch: Yeah, he did get used to it.

Smith: How do you think he should be remembered?

Mrs. Lynch: I think he should be remembered, first of all, they were both in very trying circumstances and they weathered it very well.  I mean, he was appointed vice president and was in the limelight all of a sudden.  He was just this congressman from Michigan and he handled it very, very, very well and he did make that noble move for the pardon.  And it was probably more difficult for her and she handled it well and she handled her problems well.  And she didn’t it make a big secret.  Everything that happened, they were very open, very friendly, they were very good people.  And, as I say, they were noble people, because they certainly rose to the occasion.  People always make nasty cracks about any ex-president and they’re still doing it, but I think they’ll be remembered very well, because he didn’t make any huge, big – I mean, any one of us can have a slip of the tongue – but, still, the way the press treated him, he didn’t deserve.

Mr. Lynch: I remember him – it’s funny to say this – not on a national or international level, I just remember that he was a hell of a nice guy and a good friend and a pleasure to be with.  I enjoyed his company immensely, probably more than anybody else, and we just didn’t get into the political side of it.

Smith: Perfect.

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