Betty Ford


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Betty Ford (1918-2011) foi uma primeira-dama americana (1974-77) e esposa de Gerald Ford, o 38º presidente dos Estados Unidos. Ford percebeu o poder de sua posição como primeira-dama logo no início, quando foi diagnosticada com câncer de mama logo depois que seu marido assumiu o cargo. Sua divulgação pública de um assunto anteriormente tabu encorajou milhares de mulheres a procurar tratamento médico. Ford continuou a falar abertamente sobre uma série de questões sociais e políticas, pelas quais recebeu críticas e elogios. Em 1982, depois de superar sua própria dependência do álcool e de pílulas receitadas, ela fundou o Betty Ford Center, um centro de tratamento de dependência química e abuso de substâncias.

Vida pregressa

Elizabeth “Betty” Anne Bloomer era a terceira filha, e única filha, de William Bloomer, Sr. e Hortense Neahr. O pai de Elizabeth trabalhava para a Royal Rubber Company em Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sua mãe era parente de uma rica família de fabricantes de móveis de Grand Rapids.

A mãe de Betty achava que as qualidades sociais eram importantes, então, em 1926, Betty, de oito anos, matriculou-se no Calla Travis Dance Studio em Grand Rapids, onde estudou balé, sapateado e movimento moderno. A dança tornou-se uma paixão, e logo Betty decidiu segui-la como carreira. Aos 14 anos, ela ensinou danças para crianças mais novas, como foxtrote, valsa e “The Big Apple”. Ainda no ensino médio, ela abriu sua própria escola de dança ensinando crianças e adultos.

Quando Betty tinha 16 anos, seu pai foi asfixiado por envenenamento por monóxido de carbono enquanto trabalhava no carro da família em uma garagem fechada. Nunca foi confirmado se sua morte foi acidental ou suicídio. Sem o ganha-pão principal, a mãe de Betty sustentava a família trabalhando como corretora imobiliária. Sua força e independência diante da tragédia influenciaram muito Betty, moldando suas opiniões sobre a igualdade de salários e igualdade para as mulheres.

Depois de se formar no colégio, Betty passou dois verões na Bennington School of Dance, em Vermont, estudando com a lendária coreógrafa e dançarina Martha Graham. Para pagar suas aulas, ela trabalhou durante o ano como modelo em uma loja de departamentos Grand Rapids. Em 1940, Betty foi aceita para estudar e trabalhar com a trupe auxiliar de Martha Graham na cidade de Nova York. Ela fez várias aparições como dançarina, incluindo uma performance no Carnegie Hall.

Trabalho e primeiro casamento

Hortense Bloomer nunca aceitou completamente a escolha de carreira de sua filha e pediu a Betty que voltasse para casa. Finalmente, depois de perceber que provavelmente não seria uma dançarina premier, Betty voltou para Grand Rapids em 1941 para trabalhar em tempo integral na loja de departamentos Herpolscheimer. Após uma série de promoções, ela se tornou coordenadora de moda da loja. Ela continuou seu forte interesse pela dança, ensinando no Travis Dance Studio em Grand Rapids e organizando sua própria trupe de dança. Ela também ofereceu aulas de dança semanais para crianças afro-americanas e ensinou dança de salão para crianças com deficiência visual e auditiva.

Em 1942, Betty Bloomer conheceu e se casou com William C. Warren, um vendedor de móveis que ela conhecia desde os 12 anos. Warren teve uma série de empregos em diferentes cidades, muitas vezes como caixeiro-viajante, e Betty às vezes trabalhava como vendedora de loja de departamentos e modelo nas cidades onde viviam. Depois de três anos, no entanto, Betty percebeu que o casamento não iria funcionar. Ela queria um lar, família e filhos e se cansou do estilo de vida itinerante do casal. Mas antes que ela pudesse discutir o divórcio, Warren adoeceu com diabetes agudo. Enquanto ele se recuperava nos dois anos seguintes, Betty trabalhou para apoiar os dois. Essa experiência deixou-a com uma forte impressão das desigualdades na remuneração entre os sexos por fazer o mesmo trabalho. Depois que Warren se recuperou, o casal terminou o casamento.

Casamento com Gerald Ford

Em agosto de 1947, Betty Warren conheceu o advogado Gerald Ford, de 34 anos, um tenente da Marinha dos EUA. Ford havia retornado do serviço para retomar sua prática jurídica e concorrer ao Congresso dos Estados Unidos. O casal namorou por um ano antes da proposta de Ford em fevereiro de 1948, e o casal se casou duas semanas antes da eleição de novembro. Ele escolheu esta data porque estava preocupado que os eleitores em seu distrito conservador pudessem ter dúvidas sobre ele se casar com uma ex-dançarina divorciada. Durante o jantar de ensaio do casamento, Gerald teve que sair mais cedo para fazer um discurso de campanha. No dia seguinte ao casamento, os Fords compareceram a um comício político, seguido por um jogo de futebol da Universidade de Michigan e um discurso do governador de Nova York Thomas Dewey . Gerald ganhou a eleição três semanas depois, introduzindo Betty no mundo da política.

Em dezembro de 1948, os Fords mudaram-se para um subúrbio da Virgínia fora de Washington, D.C. Betty mergulhou rapidamente no processo político. Ela ficou sabendo os nomes e cargos de poderosas figuras legislativas, serviu como conselheira não oficial de seu marido e se relacionou com as esposas de outros congressistas. Enquanto Ford construía sua carreira no Congresso, vencendo a reeleição 13 vezes e ascendendo à posição de líder da minoria na Câmara, Betty assumiu as responsabilidades tradicionais de pai e também de mãe para seus quatro filhos. Ela também se envolveu com organizações de caridade e trabalho voluntário.

Primeira dama

Em 6 de dezembro de 1973, Ford foi nomeado vice-presidente de Richard Nixon, após a renúncia do vice-presidente Spiro Angew. Então, em 9 de agosto de 1974, em um movimento sem precedentes, Richard Nixon renunciou ao cargo sob a pressão do escândalo Watergate. De acordo com a lei dos Estados Unidos, Gerald Ford se tornou o 38º presidente dos Estados Unidos. Betty Ford era oficialmente a primeira-dama.

Em pouco tempo, ficou claro que a nova primeira-dama causaria um impacto.

Betty ficou conhecida por dançar música disco em eventos informais da Casa Branca e era especialmente boa no movimento de dança "The Bump". Ela conversou em seu rádio CB com o nome de "Primeira mamãe". Mas Betty Ford também pode ser muito séria em assuntos como direitos iguais para mulheres, aborto e divórcio. Às vezes, sua franqueza gerava desaprovação dos elementos mais conservadores do Partido Republicano. Depois de uma aparição no 60 Minutes, onde ela discutiu abertamente como aconselharia seus filhos se eles estivessem envolvidos em sexo antes do casamento e drogas recreativas, alguns conservadores a chamaram de “No Lady” e exigiram sua renúncia. Mas a nação como um todo achou sua abertura atraente e seu índice de aprovação atingiu 75%.

Vontade política

Semanas depois de Betty Ford se tornar a primeira-dama, ela foi diagnosticada com câncer de mama maligno durante um exame de rotina. Ford passou por uma mastectomia, e sua franqueza sobre sua doença aumentou a visibilidade de uma doença que os americanos antes relutavam em discutir. Durante sua convalescença, ela percebeu a influência e o poder de ser uma primeira-dama em influenciar políticas e criar mudanças. Ela apoiou a ERA (Emenda de Direitos Iguais), e pressionou fortemente por sua aprovação. Ela também se tornou uma forte defensora do direito das mulheres à livre escolha em muitas decisões que afetaram suas vidas. Como resultado de seus esforços, a revista Time a nomeou a mulher do ano em 1975.

Em 1976, Betty Ford mostrou suas habilidades políticas inatas quando seu marido concorreu à presidência contra o desafiante democrata e ex-governador da Geórgia, Jimmy Carter. A primeira-dama desempenhou um papel altamente visível durante a campanha. Ela não apenas defendia seu marido, mas também se destacava como um símbolo de um republicano moderado quando a ala republicana conservadora do partido começou a surgir. Betty gravou anúncios de rádio, falou em comícios e fez campanha forte, apesar da tremenda pressão sobre sua saúde. Embora a maioria de suas atividades fosse espontânea, ela costumava ficar confinada a interrupções em estados moderados a liberais pela equipe de campanha, que às vezes se preocupava com o fato de Betty Ford estar parecendo mais liberal do que Rosalynn Carter, a esposa do candidato democrata. Ela permaneceu muito popular com o público, no entanto, e muitos apoiadores do presidente Ford usavam botões dizendo "Vote no marido de Betty". Quando Gerald Ford perdeu para Jimmy Carter na eleição, foi Betty Ford quem fez seu discurso de concessão, devido à crise de laringite do marido nos últimos dias de campanha.

Lute contra o vício

Desde o início da década de 1960, Betty Ford tomava analgésicos opióides para a dor de um nervo comprimido. Sua dependência dessas drogas havia se dissipado durante seu tempo na Casa Branca, mas depois de deixar Washington, D.C., o consumo de álcool aumentou - assim como o uso de medicamentos prescritos. Em 1978, a família Ford encenou uma intervenção e forçou Betty a confrontar sua adição de álcool e analgésicos. Depois de sua raiva inicial pela intrusão em sua vida, Betty permaneceu em casa por uma semana e passou por uma desintoxicação monitorada. Ela então entrou no Long Beach Naval Hospital para reabilitação de drogas e álcool. Lá, a ex-primeira-dama dividia um quarto com outras mulheres, limpava banheiros e participava de sessões de terapia emocional. Para manter seu senso de autenticidade, Betty revelou totalmente seus vícios e o tratamento resultante ao público logo após sua alta do hospital.

A experiência na reabilitação de drogas teve um efeito profundo em Betty. Ela percebeu durante sua convalescença que, como uma ex-primeira-dama, ela tinha o poder de criar mudanças e afetar o comportamento. Ela também percebeu que não havia um centro de recuperação especificamente estabelecido para ajudar as mulheres com os problemas exclusivos associados ao abuso de drogas e álcool. Em 1982, após sua recuperação total, Betty ajudou a fundar o Betty Ford Center, dedicado a ajudar todas as pessoas, mas principalmente as mulheres, com dependência química. Por meio de seu trabalho no Betty Ford Center, Betty começou a entender a conexão entre o vício em drogas e as pessoas que sofrem de HIV / AIDS. Ela logo começou a expressar seu apoio aos direitos de gays e lésbicas no local de trabalho, e se manifestou em apoio ao casamento entre pessoas do mesmo sexo.

Anos finais

Em 1987, Betty Ford publicou um livro sobre seu tratamento intitulado Betty: A Glad Awakening. Em 2003, Ford produziu outro livro, Healing and Hope: Seis mulheres do Betty Ford Center compartilham suas poderosas jornadas de vício e recuperação. Em 1991, ela ganhou a Medalha Presidencial da Liberdade de George H.W. Arbusto; em seguida, recebeu a Medalha de Ouro do Congresso em 1999; e foi homenageado com o Prêmio Woodrow Wilson por serviço público.

Gerald Ford, marido de Betty por 58 anos, morreu em 26 de dezembro de 2006, aos 93 anos. O casal teve quatro filhos: Michael, John, Steven e Susan. Após a morte de seu marido, Betty absteve-se de quaisquer aparições públicas, mas permaneceu ativa como presidente emérito do Betty Ford Center.

Em 8 de julho de 2011, Ford morreu de causas naturais no Eisenhower Medical Center em Rancho Mirage, Califórnia. Após sua morte, seu caixão foi levado para Grand Rapids, Michigan, onde estava no Museu Gerald Ford na noite de 13 de julho de 2011. Ela foi enterrada ao lado de seu marido durante um funeral em 14 de julho de 2011, no que teria sido o 98º aniversário de seu marido.

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Betty Ford

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Betty Ford, née Elizabeth Anne Bloomer, (nascida em 8 de abril de 1918, Chicago, Illinois, EUA - faleceu em 8 de julho de 2011, Rancho Mirage, Califórnia), primeira-dama americana (1974–77) - esposa de Gerald Ford, 38º presidente dos Estados Unidos - e fundadora do Betty Ford Center, uma instalação dedicada a ajudar as pessoas a se recuperarem da dependência de drogas e álcool. Ela era conhecida por suas opiniões fortes sobre questões públicas e sua franqueza em relação a questões íntimas.

Betty Bloomer era a única filha de William Bloomer, um vendedor, e de Hortense Neahr Bloomer. Quando ela tinha dois anos, a família, incluindo seus dois irmãos mais velhos, mudou-se para Grand Rapids, Michigan, onde ela estudou em escolas públicas. Aos oito anos ela começou as aulas de dança, refletindo um interesse que manteria por toda a vida. Para ganhar dinheiro para gastar, ela ensinou dança para outras crianças. Depois de se formar no colégio em 1936, ela passou dois verões perseguindo uma carreira de dança na Costa Leste.

Ela estudou no Bennington College em Vermont, onde foi influenciada pela lendária dançarina, professora e coreógrafa moderna Martha Graham. Como Betty escreveu mais tarde, Graham “mais do que qualquer outra pessoa ... moldou minha vida”. Quando Graham a aceitou em sua trupe de Nova York, Betty mudou-se para o West Side de Manhattan. Para aumentar seus parcos ganhos como dançarina, ela trabalhou como modelo na agência John Robert Powers. Embora nunca tenha se tornado a dançarina principal, Betty atuou como uma das auxiliares de Graham e se deliciou com a técnica de dança moderna que se tornou a marca registrada de Graham.

Por insistência de sua mãe, Betty deixou a trupe Graham e voltou a morar em Grand Rapids, onde trabalhou como consultora de moda e ensinou dança para crianças deficientes. Em 1942 ela conheceu e se casou com William Warren. Os detalhes do casamento são nebulosos, pois Betty mais tarde insistiu que conseguia se lembrar de muito pouco sobre ele. Depois de cinco anos, ela se divorciou dele.

Logo após seu divórcio, Betty conheceu Gerald R. Ford, advogado local e sócio do escritório de advocacia Butterfield, Keeney e Amberg. Gerald e Betty noivaram em fevereiro de 1948, mas atrasaram a cerimônia para que ele pudesse dedicar mais tempo à campanha por uma vaga na Câmara dos Representantes. Ele chegou para o casamento em 15 de outubro de 1948, após uma manhã de saudação aos eleitores. Sua vitória em novembro enviou o jovem casal para Washington, D.C., onde moraram pelas três décadas seguintes. De 1950 a 1957 Betty deu à luz quatro filhos, três filhos e uma filha.

Como Gerald estava ausente em campanha ou falando com grupos republicanos na maior parte do tempo, as responsabilidades dos pais recaíam principalmente sobre Betty. Ela às vezes brincava que o carro da família ia ao pronto-socorro com tanta frequência que conseguia fazer a viagem sozinho. Em meados da década de 1960, quando ela desenvolveu um nervo pinçado e artrite espinhal, os médicos prescreveram remédios para dor, nos quais ela se viciou, como admitiu mais tarde. Seu próprio desconforto físico, combinado com o estresse de criar filhos pequenos, a levou a procurar tratamento psiquiátrico, que ela mais tarde descreveu como extremamente útil.

Sua vida como a discreta esposa de um congressista terminou em outubro de 1973, quando o vice-presidente Spiro Agnew renunciou e o presidente Richard Nixon nomeou Gerald Ford para o cargo, a primeira vez que a 25ª Emenda à Constituição dos Estados Unidos, que permitiu ao presidente preencher uma vaga no cargo de vice-presidente (sujeito à confirmação por maioria de votos de ambas as casas do Congresso), foi invocado. Em 9 de agosto de 1974, depois que Nixon renunciou por causa de seu envolvimento no caso Watergate, Gerald se tornou o primeiro presidente que nunca foi eleito presidente ou vice-presidente.

Betty sempre teve uma reputação de franqueza, mas depois disse que as circunstâncias em que se tornou a primeira-dama enfatizaram essa predileção. Ela entendeu que, na esteira de Watergate, os americanos exigiram mais honestidade de seus funcionários públicos. Seu compromisso com a abertura logo foi testado. Em 28 de setembro de 1974, poucas semanas depois de ela se mudar para a Casa Branca, seus médicos fizeram uma mastectomia, removendo sua mama direita cancerosa. As esposas de presidentes anteriores esconderam suas doenças, especialmente aquelas peculiares às mulheres, mas ela e seu marido decidiram revelar os fatos. Comovidas com seu exemplo, mulheres de todo o país foram a seus médicos para exames. Betty disse que foi então que reconheceu o enorme poder da primeira-dama para fazer a diferença. Embora a quimioterapia se seguisse, ela continuou a desempenhar suas funções como primeira-dama.

Betty às vezes dizia que admirava Bess Truman por seu estilo prático e Eleanor Roosevelt por sua independência, e ela procurava imitar os dois. Poucos dias depois de se mudar para a Casa Branca, ela se reuniu com repórteres e os surpreendeu ao anunciar que alguns de seus pontos de vista, incluindo seu apoio a Roe v. Wade, a decisão da Suprema Corte que legalizou o aborto - se assemelhava aos dos republicanos liberais mais do que aos de seu marido. Ela também apoiou vigorosamente a Emenda de Direitos Iguais (ERA), que estava sendo ratificada em várias legislaturas estaduais, fazendo lobby com representantes hesitantes em telefonemas e reuniões. A emenda falhou, entretanto, quando o número necessário de estados falhou em ratificá-la no tempo alocado. Seus críticos objetaram que ela não deveria ter intervindo, embora seus apoiadores elogiassem seu envolvimento.

Betty ganhou atenção nacional por sua aparição no noticiário da televisão 60 minutos em agosto de 1975. Quando questionada sobre suas opiniões sobre sexo antes do casamento, ela disse que não ficaria surpresa em saber que sua filha de 18 anos teve um caso. Ela disse que, como mãe, aconselharia a filha e tentaria descobrir algo sobre o “jovem”. Quando o programa foi ao ar, a mídia impressa a citou fora do contexto, fazendo-a soar bem diferente do que ela fez na entrevista. Gerald disse que, ao ver o programa, calculou que custaria 10 milhões de votos, mas dobrou o prejuízo ao ler a versão impressa. Seu pessimismo era injustificado, no entanto. A popularidade de Betty disparou e Tempo a revista mais tarde a nomeou Mulher do Ano. Surgiram botões que promoveram sua candidatura a um cargo nacional, embora ela não apoiasse tais esforços.

Depois que Gerald Ford perdeu por pouco a eleição de 1976 para Jimmy Carter, os Fords retiraram-se para Rancho Mirage, Califórnia, onde a dependência de Betty de medicamentos prescritos continuou. No início de 1978, sob pressão de sua família, ela concordou em entrar em um centro de tratamento em Long Beach. Depois de seu tratamento bem-sucedido lá, ela fundou o Betty Ford Center em 1982 para ajudar a tratar outras pessoas com vícios semelhantes e presidiu o conselho de diretores até 2005. O centro se tornou popular e atraiu clientes de todas as esferas da vida. Em 1991, ela foi premiada com a Medalha Presidencial da Liberdade pelo presidente dos Estados Unidos George H.W. Bush por seus esforços para promover a conscientização pública e o tratamento do álcool e da dependência de drogas, ela e Gerald Ford receberam a Medalha de Ouro do Congresso em 1999.

Sua vida foi narrada no filme de 1987 feito para a televisão A história de Betty Ford. Ela publicou dois livros, Betty: A Glad Awakening (1987) e Cura e esperança: seis mulheres do Betty Ford Center compartilham suas poderosas jornadas de vício e recuperação (2003). Embora muito de sua vida fosse tradicional, Betty Ford compilou um registro extraordinariamente independente como primeira-dama e tornou-se extremamente popular por sua honestidade e franqueza.


Betty Ford, dançarina

Betty Ford era conhecida como uma ativista vivaz pelos direitos das mulheres. O que muitos não sabem é que ela também era uma dançarina moderna talentosa.

Nascida Elizabeth Bloomer, a futura primeira-dama sempre soube que queria ser dançarina. Aos 8 anos, Betty começou a ter aulas de balé clássico em sua cidade natal, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Quando ela tinha 12 anos, ela começou a dar aulas de dança para alunos mais jovens e modelar roupas, em parte para ajudar a sustentar sua família durante a Depressão.

Ela conheceu a coreógrafa de dança moderna Martha Graham alguns anos depois, despertando seu interesse pela dança moderna. Em 1992, ela disse ao jornal Desert Sun de Palm Springs, Califórnia: “Eu era uma mulher jovem, talvez com 16 anos. Fui a um show que ela estava fazendo em Ann Arbor, Michigan, e quando vi Martha em um show com seu grupo em Ann Arbor, toda a minha ideia de dança mudou. Foi um tremendo apelo para mim, seja pela liberdade de movimento [ou] a energia que o grupo trouxe. ”

O chefe da companhia de dança da Srta. Bloomer providenciou para que ela falasse com Graham. Quando Bloomer disse a Graham que gostaria de dançar com a companhia de Graham, a coreógrafa respondeu: “Adoraríamos ter você”.

Depois de se formar no colégio em 1936, Bloomer frequentou a Bennington School of Dance em Vermont. Lá, ela estudou com vários coreógrafos de dança moderna, incluindo Graham, Louis Horst, Doris Humphrey e Charles Weidman.

Bloomer acabou dançando com a companhia de Graham's em Nova York como "substituta ou auxiliar quando precisava de mais gente". Em 1938, ela se apresentou no Carnegie Hall.

Na Casa Branca, Betty Ford não era apenas uma defensora da igualdade de direitos, mas também das artes. Em 1976, ela convenceu o presidente Ford a homenagear a dança moderna ao conceder a Martha Graham a Medalha da Liberdade em uma grande recepção e apresentação.

Ela continuou dançando ao longo de sua vida.

Saiba mais sobre a primeira-dama Ford visitando o site da Biblioteca Presidencial da Ford. E para obter mais informações sobre Betty Ford 100, visite a página Bibliotecas Presidenciais.


Betty Ford

Em 25 anos de vida política, Betty Bloomer Ford não esperava se tornar a primeira-dama. Como esposa do deputado Gerald R. Ford, ela ansiava pela aposentadoria dele e por mais tempo juntos. No final de 1973, sua escolha como vice-presidente foi uma surpresa para ela. Ela estava se acostumando com seus novos papéis quando ele se tornou presidente após a renúncia do presidente Nixon em agosto de 1974.

Nascida Elizabeth Anne Bloomer em Chicago, ela cresceu em Grand Rapids, Michigan, e se formou no colégio lá. Ela estudou dança moderna no Bennington College em Vermont, decidiu seguir carreira e tornou-se membro do famoso grupo de concertos de Martha Graham na cidade de Nova York, apoiando-se como modelo para a empresa John Robert Powers.

Os laços estreitos com sua família e sua cidade natal a levaram de volta a Grand Rapids, onde se tornou coordenadora de moda de uma loja de departamentos. Ela também organizou seu próprio grupo de dança e ensinou dança para crianças deficientes.

Seu primeiro casamento, aos 24 anos, terminou em divórcio cinco anos depois, devido à incompatibilidade. Pouco depois, ela começou a namorar Jerry Ford, herói do futebol, formado pela Universidade de Michigan e pela Yale Law School, e logo candidato ao Congresso. Eles se casaram durante a campanha de 1948 em que ele ganhou sua eleição e os Ford viveram na área de Washington por quase três décadas depois disso.

Seus quatro filhos - Michael, Jack, Steven e Susan - nasceram nos dez anos seguintes. À medida que a carreira política de seu marido se tornava mais exigente, Betty Ford se viu assumindo muitas das responsabilidades familiares. Ela supervisionava a casa, cozinhava, fazia trabalhos voluntários e participava das atividades de “esposas de casa” e “esposas de Senado” para clubes do Congresso e republicanos. Além disso, ela foi uma defensora eficaz do marido.

Betty Ford enfrentou sua nova vida como primeira-dama com dignidade e serenidade. Ela aceitou isso como um desafio. “Gosto muito de desafios”, disse ela. Ela teve autoconfiança para se expressar com humor e franqueza, seja falando para amigos ou para o público. Forçada a se submeter a uma cirurgia radical para câncer de mama em 1974, ela tranquilizou muitas mulheres com problemas ao discutir abertamente sua provação. Ela explicou que “talvez se eu, como primeira-dama, pudesse falar sobre isso com franqueza e sem constrangimento, muitas outras pessoas também poderiam”. Assim que possível, ela retomou suas funções como anfitriã na Mansão Executiva e seu papel como cidadão de espírito público. Ela não hesitou em expor sua opinião sobre questões polêmicas, como a Emenda sobre a Igualdade de Direitos, que ela apoiou fortemente.

De sua casa na Califórnia, ela foi igualmente franca sobre sua batalha bem-sucedida contra a dependência de drogas e álcool. Ela ajudou a estabelecer o Betty Ford Center para tratamento de dependência no Eisenhower Medical Center em Rancho Mirage.

Em retrospecto, Betty descreveu o papel da primeira-dama como "muito mais um trabalho de 24 horas do que qualquer um poderia imaginar" e diz sobre seus predecessores: "Agora que percebi o que eles tiveram de aturar, tenho um novo respeito e admiração por cada um deles. ” Betty Ford morreu em 2011 com 93 anos de idade e está enterrada ao lado de seu marido no Museu Presidencial Gerald R. Ford em Grand Rapids, Michigan.


5 coisas que você não sabia sobre Betty Ford

Era um sábado de 1978. Menos de dois anos antes, Betty Ford morava na Casa Branca, defendendo o título de primeira-dama. Agora seu marido, o ex-presidente Gerald Ford, quatro filhos e médicos se reuniram em sua sala de estar na Califórnia para dar notícias que ela não queria ouvir - ou acreditar.

Um por um, seus entes queridos a confrontaram sobre seus problemas de abuso de substâncias. Jack compartilhou como ele nunca quis trazer amigos para casa, com medo da "forma" de sua mãe. Susan contou como ela costumava admirar a dança de sua mãe, mas agora ela estava sempre "caindo e desajeitada". Então, com 19 anos, ela organizou toda a intervenção.

“Queremos que você ouça, porque te amamos”, Gerald Ford disse à esposa.

"Minha maquiagem não estava manchada, eu não estava desgrenhado, me comportei educadamente e nunca acabei com uma garrafa, então como poderia ser um alcoólatra?" ela pensou.

A autora Claudia Kalb descreve a luta de décadas de Betty Ford contra o alcoolismo e o uso de drogas de prescrição em "Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities" (National Geographic, 2016). O best-seller do New York Times analisa 12 figuras históricas de alto perfil e sua saúde mental.

Alguns, como a Ford, foram francos sobre suas condições. Outros apresentaram sintomas que especialistas em saúde mental dizem que podem ter sido diagnosticados hoje, incluindo Albert Einstein, que exibiu comportamentos associados ao autismo, e George Gershwin, cuja energia ilimitada pode ter sido associada ao transtorno de déficit de atenção e hiperatividade.

Kalb, um ex-redator sênior da Newsweek, dará uma palestra na feira anual do livro do Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit às 11h da segunda-feira sobre a evolução e o tratamento das doenças mentais e como elas afetam os outros.

“Meu objetivo geral era abordar a questão do estigma por meio da narrativa e fazer com que as pessoas soubessem que ninguém está imune”, disse Kalb sobre a escrita do livro.

Em uma entrevista por telefone de Washington, D.C., área onde ela reside, Kalb disse que Ford é apenas um exemplo. Embora ela sempre tenha exemplificado o “charme e honestidade do meio-oeste” e defendido outras pacientes com câncer de mama após o diagnóstico, a primeira-dama lutou com problemas de autoestima e solidão quando o marido estava trabalhando.

“Nós nos lembramos dela como muito forte, corajosa e cheia de confiança, mas ela não era tão segura de si quando estava nos primeiros dias da vida política em Washington. . Ela realmente sofria com inseguranças e sentimentos de baixa autoestima naquela época, e as drogas e o álcool jogavam sobre essa vulnerabilidade ”, diz Kalb.

Ford começou a tomar medicamentos prescritos, originalmente para tratar um nervo comprimido. Ela odiava “sentir-se aleijada”, então tomou mais drogas - a ponto de tomar 25 comprimidos por dia e “o álcool se tornou um elixir calmante”, Kalb escreve no capítulo.

“Eu tinha uma coleção gourmet de medicamentos - eu me auto prescrevia se um comprimido é bom, dois devem ser melhores - e quando adicionei vodca à mistura, mudei-me para um lugar maravilhoso onde tudo estava bem, eu poderia cope ”, lembrou Ford.

Kalb diz que escolheu destacar a Ford, entre inúmeras celebridades que lutaram contra o vício, porque o nativo de Grand Rapids é, de muitas maneiras, mais identificável e "do povo".

“Quando ela estava crescendo em Michigan, ela trabalhava em uma loja de departamentos, passava um tempo com amigos e se casou”, diz Kalb, “Ela era como muitas pessoas abrindo caminho na vida e quando começou a lutar com vício, ela estava junto para a carona para a primeira-dama com seu marido. ”

Betty Ford morreu em 2011 aos 93 anos, tendo superado seus vícios e fundado o Betty Ford Center em 1982 para ajudar outros viciados a se recuperarem. Kalb compartilha algumas coisas que você pode não saber sobre a 38ª primeira-dama, que ela aprendeu durante sua pesquisa para o livro.

Betty Ford treinou com a dançarina e coreógrafa Martha Graham

Na Bennington School of the Dance em Vermont, Ford (então Elizabeth Ann Bloomer) conheceu a lendária dançarina moderna Martha Graham. Ela então estudou com ela em Nova York e se apresentou em shows no Carnegie Hall. Mas Graham era rígido, diz Kalb, e punia Ford, um socializador, por não lhe dar atenção total à dança. Enquanto isso, sua mãe, Hortense Bloomer, vendo os amigos de sua filha se casarem e se estabelecerem com maridos em Grand Rapids, pediu seu retorno. “A mãe dela começou a implorar para que ela voltasse para casa”, diz Kalb, “e, no final das contas, a mãe dela venceu”.

Betty Ford foi casada com um homem antes de Gerald Ford

Seu nome era William Warren, e ele convidou Betty para seu primeiro baile da escola aos 12 anos. “Ela se casou com ele pensando que ele seria uma boa combinação - um garoto da cidade natal de Michigan”, disse Kalb. Mas não deu certo. Warren trabalhava com seguros e gostava mais de sair com seus amigos do que com ela. Após cinco anos de casamento, Ford pediu o divórcio. Ela então se casou com Gerald Ford em Grand Rapids em 1948. “Gerald Ford não parecia ter problemas com isso”, diz Kalb, “apesar de ser uma época em que o divórcio era muito menos prevalente, talvez porque os próprios pais de Ford se divorciaram quando ele era um bebê. ” Depois que Ford se tornou vice-presidente, um repórter da revista People perguntou por que ela nunca falou sobre o divórcio. A resposta dela: “Bem, ninguém nunca me perguntou”.

Foi preciso outro paciente de reabilitação para Ford admitir que tinha um problema

“Aqui ela mal havia saído da Casa Branca, o título de primeira-dama mal havia saído, e ela se viu em uma reabilitação com pessoas lutando contra o vício”, disse Kalb. "Foi tão difícil para ela aceitar." Quando Ford foi para a reabilitação, por volta de seu 60º aniversário, ela admitiu inicialmente que abusava de medicamentos prescritos - mas não alcoolismo. “Ela podia admitir as drogas porque eram prescritas para fins médicos e não tinham o mesmo estigma de‘ você está bebendo demais e fazendo uma escolha errada ’”, diz Kalb. Foi a negação de outra paciente, que disse que beber não causava nenhum sofrimento à família, que influenciou Ford a admitir que tinha um problema com a bebida. “De repente, eu estava de pé e disse:‘ Eu sou Betty e sou uma alcoólatra e sei que meu álcool prejudicou minha família ’”, lembrou ela. "Porque eu pensei, por Deus, se ela não for corajosa o suficiente para dizer isso, eu direi. Fiquei surpreso ao me ouvir, mas foi um alívio. ”

Ford convenceu Mary Tyler Moore a voltar para a reabilitação

Quando os pacientes ameaçaram deixar o Betty Ford Center, ela apareceu e os convenceu a ficar, diz Kalb. Foi o que aconteceu com a atriz Mary Tyler Moore, que se internou nas instalações em 1984 para receber tratamento para dependência de álcool. Moore teve uma reação semelhante à primeira-dama quando ela chegou à reabilitação. “Ela nem queria estar lá”, diz Kalb. Moore felt she was above the mundane tasks of cleaning and abiding rules. So she snuck out in a taxi to a Marriott. The next morning, Ford gave her a ring. “That phone call saved my life,” Moore wrote in her memoir “After All.” “I returned on my knees, pleading for reentry.”

Ford didn’t want her name on the rehabilitation center

“She didn’t want the center to be about her. She wanted it to be about recovery,” Kalb says. But she was convinced otherwise. In a 2002 NPR interview, Gerald Ford said it was “fortuitous” that the center included her name. “It had a certain attractiveness to people who needed help,” he said. Decades later, over 90,000 people — from actress Elizabeth Taylor, singer Johnny Cash and actress Drew Barrymore, to parents who want to sober up for their families — have sought treatment at the facility.

“The Betty Ford Center, everybody knows that name,” Kalb says, and having “Betty Ford” in the title is, in part, why it’s so significant.

“It indicates that anybody can have a problem with addiction, even somebody as high level as the first lady,” she says. “It reinforces the reality that you’re not alone — Betty Ford has been there, too. She really struggled, she got through it and she turned her own experience around to save lives.”


The Partnership of Betty and Gerald Ford

Yanek Mieczkowski is Professor of History at Dowling College in New York. The author of The Routledge Historical Atlas of Presidential Elections (2001) and Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s (2005), he is finishing a new book, The Great Cold War Moment: Eisenhower, Sputnik, and the Race for Space and World Prestige.

In February 1948, Gerald Ford, then a Grand Rapids lawyer, told Betty Bloomer, the fashion designer he was dating, “I’d like to marry you, but we can’t get married until next fall and I can’t tell you why.” Those cryptic words began a partnership that spanned nearly sixty years. At its core was their love, but it also represented a political bond that lasted a quarter century on Capitol Hill and transformed the White House during their 895 days as First Couple.

What Ford could not divulge to Betty in 1948 was his plan to run for Michigan’s Fifth District congressional seat. That fall his life changed dramatically. In October he married Betty, and the next month he won a seat in Congress, marking the first of thirteen consecutive terms.

Ford’s marriage to Betty coincided with the start of his political career, and she became not just a housewife but a “House wife,” as the harried spouses of congressmen were called. During Ford’s first campaign, she already tasted the sacrifices of political life. On their wedding day, Ford showed up late, his shoes muddied from campaigning on a farm. Betty joked that if she had to wait longer, she would have run off with the best man.

She showed the same good nature as the tandem demands of family life and Ford’s career increased. The couple had four children—Mike, Jack, Steve, and Susan—and when Ford worked even on Saturdays, his family often accompanied him to his office, with Betty reading and the children frolicking in Capitol Hill’s Statuary Hall (where in May 2011 a new statue of Gerald Ford was unveiled).

In 1965, when Ford became House minority leader, his responsibilities multiplied. With her husband traveling two hundred days a year on speaking engagements, Betty became a political widow, often left alone to raise a family. Ford admitted, “She has been not only a mother to the children, but in many respects, a father as well.” Betty handled the dual roles with equanimity and her trademark humor. One morning, when she awoke to find her husband lying next to her, she asked, “What are you doing here?”

In 1974, when Ford became president following Richard Nixon’s resignation, he paid tribute to Betty in his inaugural address, saying, “I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman—my dear wife—as I begin this very difficult job.”

Betty’s personality helped to define the new administration. Ford strove to establish an “open” White House, freed from Nixon’s bunker mentality. He granted frequent interviews and invited members of Congress from both parties to the Oval Office. Betty did her part. After learning that Nixon’s White House staff had received instructions to be silent and inconspicuous, she urged them to chat freely with the First Family. She was pleased once to see the White House butler comparing golf scores with the president.

At a time when Americans felt the aftereffects of the often combative, truculent leadership styles of Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, Betty reduced the White House’s imperial overtones. In the Oval Office, where Nixon had an imposing-looking bald eagle staring out from a cold blue rug, Betty had a warm, yellow rug installed. She complained that the military battle scenes on the dining room wallpaper were grim soon, yellow paint replaced them.

Reducing the regal hue of the White House had a functional purpose, too. A dominant issue of mid-1970s America was high inflation, and reducing it was one of Gerald Ford’s foremost goals—and his notable legacy—as president. Betty tried to focus attention on this scourge by stressing simplicity, which fit her husband’s down-to-earth nature. The White House Christmas tree was simple, with “no tinsel, no sequins,” as she requested, and she sometimes asked the chef to prepare no-frills meals for her family, such as tuna casseroles. Yet in adding these modest touches, she still maintained the presidency’s majesty. As Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s wife Nancy praised her, “Betty is uniquely able to create an atmosphere of warmth and relaxation without losing the dignity of the occasion—and that’s a hard balance to hit.”

Betty made other substantive contributions to Ford’s presidency on the era’s important issues. After South Vietnam collapsed in 1975, a flood of refugees entered the U.S ., prompting xenophobic protests that the Fords considered shameful and un-American. To demonstrate a more humane spirit toward the newcomers, Betty visited a South Vietnamese refugee center at Camp Pendleton, California.

As many First Ladies have, Betty championed special causes. Having once taught children dance in Grand Rapids, she supported federal arts funding and projects for deaf and handicapped children. Since she studied dance under Martha Graham and called her “the first lady of dance,” Betty lobbied hard to see that Graham receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

Ford valued his wife’s political instincts, and Betty liked to engage in “pillow talk,” badgering the president on issues just before bedtime, when he was tired and likely to give in. One priority was female appointments to the executive branch and Supreme Court, and she proudly pointed to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Carla Hills and Anne Armstrong, the ambassador to Britain. Had she been more persistent with her husband, she said, the first woman on the Supreme Court might have come during the Ford presidency.

That sort of candor won Betty the greatest attention. She took liberal positions on many social issues, favoring the Equal Rights Amendment, gun control, and abortion rights. During a 1975 interview on “60 Minutes,” she praised Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, as a “great, great decision,” words that elicited outrage from conservatives. The angry reaction, she later recalled, “terrified me. I was afraid I might have become a real political liability to Jerry.” Gearing up to run for a full term in 1976, Ford threw a pillow at her in mock anger when they watched the program together. He said that when he first heard about her remarks, he thought he’d lose ten million votes. “Then when I read about it,” he quipped, “I raised that to twenty million.”

A health scare one month into the Ford presidency also put Betty’s candor on view, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. The frank disclosure of her illness prompted thousands of women nationwide to undergo breast cancer screenings and led to a spike in donations to the American Cancer Society. Among those women who sought an examination was Happy Rockefeller, wife of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who learned she, too, had breast cancer and received treatment for it she credited Betty with saving her life.

Betty recovered from cancer and loved being First Lady. She actually got to see more of her husband than while he was a congressman, and she had the White House staff to cook and tend house for her, luxuries she never enjoyed as a congressional spouse. She especially enjoyed communing with average Americans, writing, “I loved it when we’d ride down the streets in a motorcade and people would yell, ‘Hi, Betty’….Those people identified with me, they knew I was no different from them, it was just that fate had put me in this situation.”

By 1976, polls showed Betty was the most popular First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt, prompting Ford to say she should travel the country to boost his own approval ratings. She campaigned gamely for him in the presidential race, even communicating by means of the 1970s fad, citizens’ band radio, using the handle “First Momma.” After her husband lost the election by two percentage points to Jimmy Carter, the couple retired to Rancho Mirage, California, where the desert warmth eased the pain of her arthritis.

But her candor and public crusades were not over. Beginning in the 1960s , Betty had turned to drugs and alcohol to seek relief from pain and loneliness, and her dependency alarmed family members. In 1978, they staged an intervention, urging her to seek help, and she checked into the Long Beach Naval Hospital for treatment. In 1982, her battle against chemical dependence inspired her to found the Betty Ford Center, which remains one of her lasting legacies, where 90,000 patients have sought aid in ridding themselves of drug and alcohol addictions.

Like all married couples, the Fords had their idiosyncrasies and tripwires for irritation. Betty was chronically late for important appearances, which annoyed her husband. Once, when he had an evening political function scheduled for 7:30, he told her the event was at 6:30. The stratagem worked: Betty was ready at 6:55, and a relieved Ford said, “For once we’ll be on time.” On January 20, 1977, the Fords’ last morning at the White House, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were to arrive at exactly 10:30 for the traditional pre-inaugural coffee. Betty was running late, giving warm embraces and farewells to the White House staff. Ford boomed out, “Let’s go, Betty! You can’t be late this time!”

Through it all, Gerald and Betty remained a devoted couple, supporting each other steadfastly. In late 2006, as Ford’s health deteriorated, his study at their Rancho Mirage home became, in effect, a hospital room. Although bedridden and frail, he still brightened when Betty walked into the room.

Decades earlier, as newlyweds, Betty had given Ford a lighter inscribed, “To the light of my life.” To the end, the partnership between Betty and Gerald Ford remained the light of their lives. In the mid-1970s , by working together, they also made the White House a lighter, more cheerful place when Americans needed just that.


The History of First Ladies’ Memoirs

The release this week of Michelle Obama’s memoir, Tornando-se, in which the former First Lady shares her personal stories, including some from her time in the White House, continues a decades-long tradition. Beginning with Betty Ford in 1978, the six First Ladies who preceded Obama each published their own unique versions of an autobiography sometime during their first few years out of office.

These offerings grant American citizens unrivaled access to the human lives inside the country’s highest office, often in ways more genuine and compelling than other histories or biographies on their husbands. What unites the books are that these impressive women unveil personal challenges and political motivations, all while writing American history from inside the White House.

“When First Ladies are liberated from their public role and can operate much more as a private citizen, they simply have more scope for what they talk about and how they can behave,” says Lisa Kathleen Graddy, a curator of political history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. “They’re not representing, at all times, the United States of America.”

Nellie Taft, the smoking, prohibition-hating, car driving and suffragist-supporting wife of President William Howard Taft was the first First Lady to publish a memoir during her lifetime. No Recollections of Full Years, Taft shared her pride at becoming the first First Lady to ride alongside her husband down Pennsylvania Avenue on the day of his inauguration. She wrote, “perhaps I had a little secret elation in thinking I was doing something which no woman had ever done before.” In total, 11 of America’s 42 official First Ladies, not including those whose personal correspondence was published following their deaths, have authored personal memoirs during their lifetime, often outselling their husbands.

“First ladies still tend to be more mysterious than the presidents,” Graddy says. “We’re always hoping once the First Lady is out of office she’s going to let us in a little more.”

Here’s a taste of the most fascinating and honest stories from these memoirs:

United States First Lady Michelle Obama with former First Ladies Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, and Rosalynn Carter. (White House/Lawrence Jackson)

Tornando-se

As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—Michelle Obama helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history.

Michelle Obama’s Word for Women on Fertility

No Becoming, Michelle for the first time shares the difficulty she and President Obama faced conceiving their two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Michelle writes candidly about the failure she felt following a miscarriage and her discomfort with self-administering IVF shots while Barack was off at work as a state legislator. As Michelle told ABC’s Robin Roberts, “I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don’t work.”

Spoken from the Heart

In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story.

Laura Bush’s Car Accident Confession

The 2010 autobiography Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush revealed more detail about her involvement in a tragic car accident. On November 6, 1963, two days after her 17th birthday, Bush and her friend Judy made plans to head over to the local drive-in theater. Bush, driving her father’s Chevy Impala, became distracted as she spoke with her friend. She drove through an unnoticed stop sign and crashed into the less sturdy car of classmate and close friend, Mike Douglas. He was killed, and for years Laura Bush was wracked with guilt. In the memoir, Bush writes about how that tragedy uprooted her life-long faith, something that took years to gain back.

História Viva

Hillary Rodham Clinton is known to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Yet few beyond her close friends and family have ever heard her account of her extraordinary journey.

Hillary Clinton and Chinese Censorship

“If there be one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all,” Hillary Clinton told an appreciative crowd at the September 1995 Fourth Women’s Conference in Beijing. Throughout that same speech, Clinton threw jab after jab at the Chinese government for their policies that discriminated against women and girls. The Chinese government blocked the broadcast.

To date, Clinton has written three memoirs. Her first, Living History, published in 2003, caused mass uproar in China. In the officially licensed Chinese edition of História Viva, nearly all of Clinton’s disapproving references to the country were cut or otherwise cleansed of any biting criticism. Clinton’s 2014 memoir Hard Choices on her time as Secretary of State includes similarly negative opinions of China. As Hillary’s U.S. publisher put it Hard Choices is “effectively banned” by the People’s Republic.

Barbara Bush: A Memoir

Former First Lady Barbara Bush recounts the exciting and often poignant events in her life, from her secret engagement to George Bush, to the loss of her three-year-old daughter to leukemia, to daily life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Barbara Bush on her Mental Health and Abortion Policy

In her eponymous memoir, Barbara Bush wrote candidly about her battle with mental health and personal political opinions. She shared that her bouts with depression in the 1970s would push her to park on the highway’s shoulder, terrified she would purposefully put herself in harm’s way. At the time, she sought no medication and no help, beside from her husband, President George H.W. Arbusto. Barbara wrote “I almost wonder why he didn’t leave me.”

In a noticeable departure from her husband’s abortion policies, Barbara wrote “let me say again. I hate abortions, but just could not make that choice for anybody else.”

“First ladies tend to stay in line with the administration, they bolster the administration,” Graddy says. “Everyone is always wondering if that’s what they’re really thinking. So, when you get a glimpse at something that says that it wasn’t, it’s interesting.”

First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, Barbara Bush, Rosalynn Carter and Betty Ford (©Diana Walker/gift of Diana Walker, NMAH)

My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan discusses her life, the Reagan administration, her shaky relationship with her children and key White House personnel, her husband’s involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, and her bout with cancer.

Nancy Reagan’s Vindication

Sally Quinn of the Washington Post wrote in 1989 that, “First Lady books should be primarily anthropological. They don't need to be literary, historical or political, although that would be fine too. What they should tell you is what it's like to live in the White House, what it's like to be First Lady. If that is the case then Nancy Reagan has failed: My Turn tells you what it's like to be Nancy Reagan.”

And, being Nancy Reagan was not always, or even often, pretty.

My Turn, Reagan’s 1989 memoir, was met with little to no fanfare. Nearly every reviewer was turned off by the unapologetic anger and frustration Reagan openly vented. Chief amongst Nancy’s targets was Donald T. Regan, her husband’s Treasury Secretary. One critic went so far as to say My Turn is, “in fact, a book with nothing to commend it.” In addition to going after critics, in the book Reagan defended her fondness for astrology and addressed the assassination attempt against her husband. She wrote that while the near fatal gun-shot wound had no effect on Mr. Reagan’s gun policy it left her “not sure” she agreed with him.

First Lady from Plains

"What ought to be a continuing legacy is Rosalynn's Carter's success in breaking new ground as a First Lady, without uprooting the traditions of the past." --Minneapolis Tribune

Rosalynn Carter’s Unapologetic Influence

As First Lady, Rosalynn Carter viewed herself as a political partner and equal to her husband, President Jimmy Carter. She took more than 200 pages of personal notes at the Camp David summit, which brokered a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel and garnered the President the Nobel Peace Prize. In her 1984 memoir, First Lady from Plains, Rosalynn explains how history would have been different had Jimmy only listened to her advice and reconsidered the 1980 grain embargo against the U.S.S.R, a policy that devastated American agriculturalists and likely contributed to Carter’s failed second-term bid. The American public and press had been critical of Rosalynn’s direct influence on her husband’s policy, yet in her memoir Rosalynn gave no indication that she cared.

Betty Ford the Times of My Life

"The Times of My Life" is Betty Ford's memoir of life, with all its successes and failures, joys and heartaches.

Betty Ford on Addiction

During her tenure as First Lady, Betty Ford was known to be unapologetic. In 1975, during an interview with CBS’s Morley Safer, Ford spoke openly about her pro-choice political stance, her time seeing a psychiatrist and whether she would or would not try marijuana. Protestors took to the streets, calling her “No Lady.” Yet, soon public opinion flipped as Americans began praising her breath-of-fresh-air honesty, particular in regards to the mastectomy she underwent a year prior. Betty’s memoir The Times of My Life was as telling, raw and engaging as expected.

“When she was out of office, Ford was very forthcoming about her battle with prescription drugs,” Graddy says. No The Times of My Life, Mrs. Ford details the intervention her family held in 1978 to help curb her dependence on pills and alcohol.

“Not being in that public eye in the same way anymore, not being official,”Graddy says, “gave her a freedom to talk about things like that.” The Times of My Life was meet with esteem. Betty followed it up with two more memoirs.

Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary (Autographed Copy)

"A White House Diary" is Lady Bird Johnson's intimate, behind-the-scenes account of Lyndon Johnson's presidency from November 22, 1963, to January 20, 1969.

Lady Bird Johnson and JFK’s Assassination

“It all began so beautifully,” reads Lady Bird Johnson’s diary entry from the November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The words open her memoir, A White House Diary, and before you could turn the first page, the shots ring out. “I cast one last look over my shoulder and saw in the President’s car a bundle of pink, just like a drift of blossoms, lying on the back seat. It was Mrs. Kennedy lying over the President’s body,” she wrote. Just a few hours later, she would become the First Lady.

In the same entry, Johnson recalls Jackie Kennedy’s famous words, “I want them to see what they have done to Jack.” In later entries, she takes the reader inside the silent limousine ride to President Kennedy’s funeral, where she and now-President Lyndon Johnson sat beside Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy and her children. Mrs. Johnson wrote, “the feeling persisted that I was moving, step by step, through a Greek tragedy.”

Jackie Kennedy never authored a memoir, neither did Lyndon B. Johnson or Bobby Kennedy, Lady Bird’s diaries of the assassination’s aftermath offered reader’s the earliest and most riveting retelling published in print.

About Bianca Sánchez

Bianca Sánchez is an editorial intern at Smithsonian magazine, as well as a senior at Northwestern University, where she studies Journalism, Latino and Latina studies and Political Science.


Betty Ford

Many of Betty Ford’s Grand Rapids friends-men and women in the generation who lived through the depression years as children and young teenagers and later were involved in World War II- think of her fondly as an attractive and vital woman, and they recall her early years in Grand Rapids with her many friends and activities.

She attended Central High School, one of those excellent Midwestern high schools with the kind of demanding faculty one remembers for a lifetime. As her autobiography, The Times of My Life, points out, she enjoyed learning and those high school years were happy ones.

At the time of life when many young people are still wondering which path to take, Betty Ford knew exactly what she wanted to do: her goal was to become a professional dancer. Later she studied with Martha Graham in New York and became a member of the Martha Graham dance troupe. On the home front she occasionally assisted a dynamic dancing teacher, Calla Travis, who instructed young women and men in what was then called “social dancing”. As Calla Travis’s pupils stumbled self-consciously through the approved dance steps, the waltz and the fox trot, little did they dream that the young woman who demonstrated the dance steps so gracefully was to become the First Lady of the 38th President of the United States and was to be recognized by the whole world for her own accomplishments.

In more recent years, widely known for her broad civic interests, Betty Ford was honored by the Michigan Hall of Fame in 1987 with the following commendation:

As the wife of Michigan Congressman (later Minority Leader, Vice-President and President) Gerald Ford, Betty Ford’s life has been constantly mirrored in the national press. Under the circumstances, she might have confined herself to a social-cultural leadership role (a role for which she was especially qualified as a former member of the Martha Graham dance troupe), but she opted instead to devote herself to public causes such as the Equal Rights Amendment, which she strongly supported. In addition, Betty Ford has been very much involved with the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation and national programs for mental health and underprivileged children,

Betty Ford has become best known, perhaps, for her courage and candor in coping with personal crisis. When stricken with breast cancer, she faced the situation openly, and in so doing she gave courage to others. Her public acknowledgment of cancer not only called attention to the dangers of the disease for women, but also to its means of detection and treatment.

It is for her personal snuggle with alcohol and drug abuse that Betty Ford has become most widely known and appreciated in later years. She overcame a serious problem of dependency through an exercise of will and courage. The overcoming of her personal problem was not alone sufficient for her, however. As with her cancer, Betty Ford sought ways in which to share her experience with others in a very public and beneficial way. Not only has she devoted her life over the past nine years to the helping of others with drug dependency problems, the funds she has raised through her speaking engagements and ocher public appearances have served to build the Betty Ford Center for Drug Rehabilitation at the Eisenhower Medical Center in California (dedicated October 3, 1982). As President of the Betty Ford Center, she has become a lay expert on the problems of drug abuse and has provided courage, understanding and treatment for countless thousands of individuals who have taken the personal example to heart. And, for this the California Medical Society and numerous other organizations have given her personal citations.


Advocate for Women's Health

A month after moving into the White House, Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. She became an advocate for breast cancer research and early detection.

Asked about her illness, she said, "I'm very glad that I brought cancer to the forefront."

She was also outspoken on women's rights issues. She supported the equal rights amendment and the legalization of abortion.

She became famous for her candor. In an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes," she talked about marijuana, equal rights for women, abortion and the possibility of a premarital affair for her daughter, Susan.

Went Public With Addiction Battle

After leaving the White House, Betty Ford publicly acknowledged her addiction to alcohol and painkillers.

"This is not a lack of willpower, this is a disease," she said at the time.

In 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center in California. Her candor in talking about and dealing with substance abuse and treatment helped led to an improvement in how Americans talk about such matters.

Helping others overcome addiction became her chief cause.

"I'm not out to rescue anybody who doesn't want to be rescued," she once said. "I just think it's important to say how easy it is to slip into a dependency on pills or alcohol, and how hard it is to admit that dependency."

By not being the "political wife" of self-sacrificing legend, she both reflected and advanced public views about women in politics.

"In the end, simply by being herself, she made it easier for millions of American women to be themselves," Smith told ABC News.

ABC News' David Reiter and Michael S. James contributed to this report.


Why This Model Left the Glitzy World of Fashion for the Gritty Life of Bullfighting

There are many kinds of multihyphenates in Hollywood: actress-singer, director-producer. In the 1950s Bette Ford turned heads and raised eyebrows when she became a model-actress-bullfighter.

Bette Ford came to New York City from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA, with big dreams: The 18-year-old was going to be a model.

Considered too petite for the runway, the 5-foot-4 beauty was quickly turned down by two leading agencies of her day. But a third major agency, Huntington Hartford, took a chance on her, and soon she was landing jobs by capitalizing on her slender yet athletic build and sensual aura. She modeled for Maidenform, sat for magazine illustrators, even snagged a few covers, but her greatest success was with Jantzen as a swimsuit model. Her narrow hips and powerful shoulders made her convincing as a stylish swimmer, despite not knowing how.

Then an assignment came along that changed Ford's life: a photo shoot in Bogotá, Colombia&mdashher first trip abroad. She was so sheltered and unwordly that when she checked in at the hotel, she asked whether her room had been made safe from boa constrictors. Roy Pinney, the photographer for the shoot, who era worldly, learned that the renowned matador Luis Miguel Dominguín would be fighting in Bogotá during the shoot. He arranged for Ford to meet Dominguín at his hotel room.

In the early 1950s, bullfighting was the epitome of glamour, danger, and masculine bravado. Hollywood A-listers followed the bulls in Spain and fraternized with matadors like Dominguín, an international celebrity in his own right. He even stole Ava Gardner from Frank Sinatra for a bit&mdashthe two had an affair while the actress was married to the crooner. (Perhaps it was role prep: Gardner later would star in The Sun Also Rises as the seductress of the story's fictional bullfighter, Pedro Romero.)

Smitten with Dominguín, Ford returned to New York, papered her walls with bullfight posters, and began daydreaming of Mexico. She landed the role of understudy in the Broadway drama The Time of the Cuckoo, but told MarieClaire.com she "wasn't prepared metaphysically" to settle for understudy. Instead, she and her extra-marital boyfriend at the time, Lewis Allen, drove south to follow the bulls.

In a small arena outside Mexico City, Ford encountered some novilleros (fighters who only battle young bulls) who invited her, half in jest, to train with them. Soon she was spending her mornings at a practice ring, learning the rudiments of cape work as a way of keeping fit.

Ultimately, she was "discovered" by chance: a newspaper sent a reporter and photographer for a column on a promising novice at the ring. Ford caught their eye, and the piece instead became a two-page spread on her. The article captured the attention of Dr. Alfonso Gaona, organizer of the Plaza Mexico, the largest bullfight arena in the world. The next week, Gaona approached Ford and said, "So you're the girl who wants to become a bullfighter?"

Gaona, recognizing Ford's potential as an alluring alternative to the straightforward nature of the handful of other American toreras fighting at the time, brought the empresario of the bullring in Juarez, Juan de Bilbao&mdasha.k.a Don Juan&mdashto manage Ford.

From the beginning, the climate was intensely competitive. Ford was immediately compared to prominent, more experienced female bullfighters, like the American Patricia McCormick, whom the press described as having a "deathly presence" in the ring. McCormick dressed for fights in black or tan suits, her hair in a knot beneath her wide-brimmed black hat. Over her pants she wore plain leather chaps. Juanita Aparicio, whom Ford had encountered on that first trip to Mexico, wore chaps as well.

In contrast, Ford dazzled in white. Her first trajes&mdashthe suits that she fought in&mdashwere tailored from fine white wool to emphasize her lithe physique. Setting off her dark black hair were a pair of diamond earrings. And she kept her hair loose and tousled, a stunning touch when she doffed her hat and bowed for the audience.

Fighting mainly along the border, in Mexican arenas across the Rio Grande from small Texas towns, Ford gained a reputation for flair and determination. Soon she became a reliable draw, with a following from as far away as Houston and San Antonio. While the other American toreras barely eked out a living, at times sleeping in their cars, Ford earned enough to stay at the same hotels as full-fledged matadors. At first, Don Juan drove her to fights later, Ford flew in a private plane.

Don Juan promoted her relentlessly, leading the press to cover her every move, such as when she'd cross the border for a makeover at a local salon (both as a model and a bullfighter she occasionally went platinum blonde). Her popularity wasn't always a positive. In the border bullrings the Texas fans were rowdy and not necessarily supportive. They came to see the "Broadway TV star and model turned bullfighter" or "petite Broadway brunette who looks like Elizabeth Taylor." If a bull knocked her down, the fans cheered, yelling "Kill her, bull! Kill her!"

"They want blood, your blood&mdashwhy else would they come to a bullfight?" says Ford today. "I knew that no one would run in and save me."

Ford's relationship with Don Juan was complex and stormy. In his role as manager, he oversaw her rigorous training regimen, putting her on a boxer's diet that included drinking the blood-rich juices from expensive cuts of beef. He called her each night at 9 p.m. to confirm that she was home and preparing for bed, and he cautioned her against sex in the days leading up to a fight. ("It weakens the leg muscles" Ford remembers him saying). After fights, he massaged the deep bruises left by bulls' horns.

They argued often&mdashabout bullfighting, training, her technique, publicity. Ford once slammed a hotel door so hard that it split down the middle, a spillover from her constantly curated aggression in the ring.

"I was angry with the world," says Ford of her rigorous training coupled with the growing animosity in the stands. "I was a fighter. I literally was a killer. I perceived myself as dangerous. "

The tempestuousness of the relationship culminated one Sunday afternoon during a Juarez booking, when Ford argued with Don Juan about a risky maneuver that he wanted her to try. Ford was sipping from a glass of water as the two exchanged words, and when the argument escalated, Ford dashed the water into Don Juan's face&mdashin full view of the crowd. The hometown audience was outraged, and clubs along the border circulated a petition denouncing Ford and calling for her to be suspended.

When Ford returned to Juarez a month later, she was awakened on the morning of her fight by sirens. The arena had been set on fire, evidently the work of arsonists protesting her return. But the fight went on, a burned section of bleachers still smoldering throughout the afternoon.

The ultimate dream of the American toreras, and of all Mexican bullfighters, was to fight in the Plaza Mexico. Patricia McCormick had been fighting longer than any of the women, and though she was widely lauded for her bravery and skill, even she had yet to land a booking in the Plaza.

Ford and McCormick were seen as rivals, and by early in 1955, Ford's second year fighting, the press floated tantalizing rumors of their appearing together in the capitol: "A program with these two toreras in competition would fill the Plaza Mexico." The Plaza held nearly 50,000 spectators most of the arenas along the border were less than a 10th of its size.

In May of that year, Ford was training for the big showdown when she was thrown by a bull. She fractured several of her ribs and bruised her spine badly.

Injuries of this severity were common. In one fight, Pat Hayes, another American torera, suffered a concussion and three broken ribs. Patricia McCormick once almost died in a particularly gruesome incident. She turned her back on a bull who charged, impaling her. Hoisted into the air and unable to free herself, she was rescued by her manager who raced out into the ring and pried her off the horn.

Ford recovered and was well enough to fight again that summer in Juarez, billed as "The Incomparable Beauty of the Bullring." Late in July, a surprising decision was announced: the debuting American at the Plaza Mexico would be Ford alone. But the notion of a woman fighting in the venerable Plaza&mdashan americano woman&mdashwas met with resistance by the elite Mexican bullfight critics. In their opinion an American had no business competing in the Plaza, no matter her prowess.

Their antagonism didn't stop her. Ford made her historic debut on August 21. She fought well and was awarded an ear from each of her bulls. She went on to fight at the Plaza Mexico four more times that fall, once against Aparicio&mdashFord in her white suit, Aparicio in chaps. Aparicio was the hometown favorite, Ford the stylish outsider. The critics grudgingly praised Ford for her elegance and courage&mdashand for her skill with the sword.

Ford's fights in the Plaza created a backlash from the matadors and matadors' union, effectively banning women fighters. Ford never fought at the Plaza Mexico again. And none of the other American women fighting at the time ever got their chance there either.

The bookings kept coming, though.

Don Juan finally arranged the long-anticipated showdown between Ford and McCormick in Tijuana. But while watching from the stands, he suffered a heart attack. His doctors sent him to Acapulco to recuperate. A year later he died unexpectedly. Ford was devastated.

More hardship would come. Ford was gored badly for the first time in her career. Her hand was ripped open by a bull's horn and she recalls waiting on the operating table, seeing "little white strands twitching inside my hand." The nurse told her they were her tendons, slipping in and out of her flesh because they had been severed by the horn. She lost the full range of motion in three of her fingers permanently.

After the goring, she became romantically involved with, and then was stalked by, the son of the doctor who operated on her hand. Ford no longer had Don Juan to protect her against such threats. She hired a friend as pistolero and lent him the use of a gun she'd inherited from Don Juan.

By 1958, Ford's busy calendar had begun to take a physical toll. She'd been training six hours a day for half a decade&mdashand fighting as often as she could get bookings. Between the physical strain and the struggles in her personal life (she was divorcing), she decided it was time to return to New York and make another go at stage acting. Then Hollywood intervened.

MGM was considering doing a biopic about her career and brought her to Los Angeles to meet with writers. One of them was John Meston, who'd co-created the radio series Gunsmoke, soon to become the long-running television series. Meston and Ford carried on a whirlwind romance and were married in Las Vegas after Ford agreed to Meston's stipulation that she cease risking her life in arenas. It was an easy promise to make&mdashshe was finished with bullfighting anyway.

Eventually Ford reinvented herself again, this time as a film and television actress, and made regular appearances, usually as a dark-haired temptress, on network dramas such as L.A. Law e Saúde. Her most recent feature film was the indie comedy Valley of the Sun (2011). She continues to act, mostly doing voiceover for animation.

When Ford reflects about her bullfight career now, she emphasizes her sense of accomplishment above all else. "I look back now and I think, I did naquela. But I never thought about grace and elegance and beauty when I was in the ring. I thought like a bullfighter."

Fortunato Salazar is a Los Angeles-based writer whose most recent writing about bullfighters appears in Amtrak's O Nacional.

Motion Graphics: Crystal Law

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Comentários:

  1. Horemheb

    MULTAR

  2. Jermain

    Em alguém a letra alexia)))))

  3. Swinton

    very not bad topic

  4. Aodhfin

    Obrigado, deixei para ler.



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