Descendants of former presidents meet in Key West

Children, grandhildren share positives and negatives of limelight

Published On: Feb 18 2013 06:58:09 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 18 2013 06:57:45 PM EST
Presidential Descendants
KEY WEST, Fla. -

Descendants of five former United States presidents are gathering in Key West to talk about life after the presidential fishbowl.

The group met Saturday at Harry S. Truman Little White House.

Truman spent 11 working vacations at the Little White House during his 1945-1953 administration. The residence also has hosted former presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Truman's grandson Clifton Truman Daniel, Gerald Ford's daughter Susan Ford Bales, Lyndon Johnson's daughter Lynda Johnson Robb, Richard Nixon's nephew Donald A. Nixon and Herbert Hoover's great-granddaughter Margaret Hoover were in attendance.

The quintet is exploring the challenges former presidents and first families face upon returning to "civilian" life in a President's Day weekend presentation titled "Out of the Fishbowl, Back to the Pond."

Bales, who was in high school and college during her father’s presidency stressed the need to establish her own identity.

"Continuing his legacy is wonderful and I'm honored to do it," Bales said, "but there are some days that I just want to be me."

She told the group about the beginning of her photography career while her father was still president. She worked as a part-time photojournalist for the Associated Press. While trying to snap a photo of Elvis Presley, being the president’s daughter proved to have perks.

"The only time he went out was to go snowmobiling at night," said Bales, who said she primed her Secret Service agents to alert her when Presley left his condo. "Having Secret Service agents … helps you do your job sometimes."

Johnson’s daughter spoke of the “constant yin and yang between respecting what they did and doing your own thing.”

She went onto say she hopes President Barack Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia are enjoying their years in the White House and are making good memories.

"My grandfather said presidents shouldn't have descendants, because they'll spend their lives being expected to live up to them," Daniel said.