Quote about the meaning of success by Barbara Bush via randomstoryteller chamrickwriter

Barbara & Bunny—Ladies of the Greatest Generation

450 px Mom's photo as a girl

The presidential inauguration of 1989 ushered in an era happily welcomed by my mother, Frances Marion Brannan Hamrick—known to the world as Miss Bunny. Like Barbara Bush, she:

  • Looked great in any shade of blue
  • Sported all-cotton, L.L. Bean-ish sportswear
  • Never colored her hair
  • Wore little makeup
  • Celebrated life on (or in) the water
  • Did not apologize for having a “robust” silhouette
  • Cracked witty one-liners at formal and informal gatherings
  • Loved every minute of being a homemaker
  • Ran volunteer programs with the managerial finesse of a CEO
  • And, best of all, wore faux pearls in an otherwise un-fake life

My mother lived by one of Barbara’s finest quotes: “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people—your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”

Every Mother’s Day, I remember Bunny in the post “Mom: Wonder Woman without the Skimpy Suit”—an homage to our authentic matriarch.

My mother was a botany and psychology major who talked to plants and attracted strangers longing to spill their worries. Before Forrest Gump became a household word, my mother once spent two hours on a bus-stop bench in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, waiting for me to finish a class while soothing souls desperate for the kindness of a stranger.

Bunny channeled Mark Twain: “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”

I will leave you with a few funny Bunny moments in Paris while recalling the symbolism of pearls articulated on the jewelry site Bellatory: “Pearls symbolize wisdom acquired through experience. They are believed to attract wealth and luck as well as offer protection. Known for their calming effect, pearls can balance one’s karma, strengthen relationships, and keep children safe. The pearl is also said to symbolize the purity, generosity, integrity, and loyalty of its wearer.”

Miss Bunny’s Review of Three Artistic Interpretations: The Kiss



Placard: The fluid rhythms of the woman’s ear and the man’s hairline complement the sensuality of the subject matter.

Miss Bunny: That couple can’t even get their lips straight. They’re rubbernecking, just rubbernecking.



Placard: The lovers’ eyes are buried in each other. Their ears have disappeared. They have become a single block of stone–societal isolation in the moment of self-absorption.

Miss Bunny: Those poor kids look like two telephone poles stuck together . . . and she has no figure to speak of.



Placard: The contrast between the lovers’ smooth skin and the rock’s rough marble speak to the power of the artist’s sensuality.

Miss Bunny: Let me commune. . . . I do believe they are having more fun.

P.S. Bunny liked skinny Nancy Reagan for one indulgence: She could not resist refined china. In fact, when her four daughters married, Bunny fell in love with their “medium” or “best” china and ordered 12 place settings for herself. My dad paid the bill—wise to his own “silver fox” who saved a lot of money by using a blow dryer on her sensibly cropped locks.










  1. Writer Lori

    Ahhhh, Catherine, this post is *such* a delight (and as an art history major, that trip to Paris was especially appreciated)! Your mom sounds like one in a million. A lovely paean to someone who was clearly a force of nature. Hugs….L

  2. Scribbleheart

    This is absolutely delicious! “That couple can’t even get their lips straight!” I’m giggling as I try to imagine your Bunny’s comments about Jeff Koons’ giant bunny rabbits.

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