Gerald Ford


Jerry Ford, accompanied by First Lady Betty, Steven, Susan and two young family friends Gardner Britt and DeeDee Jarvis made their first visit to upstate Maryland in the early fall days of August, 1974. Staff said they were like a typical family with teens turned loose on Disney World. They tried everything. They swam, tried their hands at skeet, went horseback riding and still found hours left in the day for golf on Ike’s four-hole course. Later in the year, the family—primarily the president and Susan—thoroughly enjoyed showing natives they too were no amateurs on the snowmobile trails. Growing up in Michigan certainly prepared them for bone-jarring cold temperatures. The president got involved in the outings too, when he could. He documented, for example, the family’s first visit to Aspen Lodge. They were accompanied on this trip by television commentator, Harry Reasoner of ABC. The president’s openness probably produced an unexpected result, too.  The media and the president became more willing to listen to one another, an important development that came from Ford’s tenure. And he, also, found it necessary to make sure that people, reporters and others knew how he viewed people on the national stage. About Lyndon Johnson, for example, Ford explained that when Johnson and he served on a joint committee to examine the Sputnik threat, Johnson “appointed himself chairman.”