President George H.W. Bush's office closed officially
HOUSTON (FOX 26) — For more than 25 years, former President George H.W. Bush kept a busy office in Houston. Almost four months since his death, his staff is finally closing the office for good.
"If you've never been here before...I have to point out a special set of photos here," says Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath. "Special" is a bit of an understatement. All of the photos chronicling McGrath's lifetime of service and friendship with the 41st President of the United States.
For 26 years, the top floor of the unassuming office building on Memorial Drive was President Bush's base of operations.
The President's staff is wrapping up months of work and packing the last mementos of a life well-lived.
"The thing I'm looking forward to the most, after today, is hopefully never hearing a box being taped ever again," says Jean Becker, President Bush's long-time chief of staff.
In the months since President Bush's death, Becker has organized the end of operations at the office, including decisions regarding which items are remanded to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and which ones will make the trip to College Station to become artifacts at the presidential library.
It is all a labor of love at one of President Bush's last personal spaces.
His desk, just as he left it.
An electric guitar, a gift from country musician Brad Paisley, hangs on the wall for the last time.
Snapshots by the dozens.
McGrath brings attention to a map, presented by then-soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the end of the Cold War.
"The purpose of the map was to show how the United States had encircled the Soviet Union with its naval and military installations," describes McGrath.
As the President's belongings are now packed away for safe keeping, the office is also full of anecdotes.
"The five scariest words during those 25 years was, 'Jean, I have an idea,'" recounts Becker.
Half of the office space will become the new headquarters for the George and Barbara Bush Foundation.
Empty picture hooks sit ready for new memories.
But for now, the transition serves as an emotional experience as people and things make a final exit from the building. Perhaps none more so than the President's wheelchair being taken from the building one last time.
"A lot got done in this office," adds Becker. "A lot of history here, a lot of great people came through here. It was a fun ride."