Lots of kids make prank calls, but most wouldn’t dare prank a vice president. Of course, it’s different when the vice president is your grandfather.
On Tuesday, former First Lady Laura Bush appeared on Today with daughter Jenna Bush Hager, a co-host on the show, where the mother and daughter looked back on some memorable family firsts — including the first time Jenna and her twin sister, Barbara, got grounded.
“When Barbara and Jenna were born, their grandfather (George H.W. Bush) was already vice president,” Mrs. Bush explained. “And one of the things they did as soon as they learned how to dial the phone was call the White House switchboard and prank call the White House. They got in trouble for that.”
“We kept calling over and over again,” Jenna recalls. “My mom came into our room and we were getting in trouble and we were afraid we were going to get spanked because this was the ’80s, people spanked back then.”
So Jenna says she and her sister took precautions to prepare for the potential punishment.
“We put hardcover books in our pants because we knew we were going to get in trouble and we were like, ‘Okay, we gotta protect our booties,’ ” Jenna said, drawing laughs from the audience.
Jenna and Barbara never lived in the White House, since they were 20 when their father, George W. Bush, began his first term as president. But they still spent time in the historic home — and may have even gotten a little dose of karma for their prank calls when they experienced what they believed was a ghostly encounter.
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“We were in bed, dozing off, heard someone singing from the fireplace, like an opera-type singing,” Barbara recalled to PEOPLE in October. “Then we heard piano music, like creepy olden times piano music coming out of the fireplace.”
The young women were so spooked they considered running into their parents’ bedroom — until they thought better of it.
“We were too old!” Jenna says.
Barbara agrees: “We talked ourselves down and did not get in bed with our parents.”