'She was just really genuine': Local lawyer remembers meeting former First Lady Barbara Bush

Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 20:09:37-04

Tributes poured in for former first lady Barbara Bush after she passed away at the age of 92 Tuesday.

There's no telling how many people she met during her long public life but one local man will always remember his chance encounter with Mrs. Bush.

"It was being in the right place at the right time - kind of like Forrest Gump," said Michael Maistelman.

It was one of those indelible moments for the young law student. 

"I said to the secret service agent who's here? He said, 'The first lady is here.' I'm like, 'Oh very cool.'"  

His chance encounter with first lady Barbara Bush in Concord New Hampshire was captured in this 1992 Time Magazine story and photo. 

"She was just an amazing person and it came across in the handful of minutes that I sat there and chat with her about Kennebunkport and lobster and Maine and her husband's reelection bid," said Maistelman

Maistelman is now a Milwaukee lawyer who doesn't hide the fact that he is a Democrat and political junkie.  

"She was just really genuine," said Maistelman. "And I told her I was going to be volunteering for Clinton but maybe you can convince me otherwise and she laughed."

But 26 years later, Maistelman is convinced his brief brush with history was with a sincere and genuine first lady.     

"What I find really interesting, is all the people that are coming out and saying really amazing things about Mrs. Bush and condolences about her, it's bipartisan," he said. 

Gov. Scott Walker has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through the weekend to honor the former first lady.