Was one a born loser and the other a born winner? In both cases, depressiontook its toll.

In "Running Mates: The Making of a First Lady," Kitty Dukakis, the loser, tells author Ann Grimes that "in the final analysis, I was grateful things {the election} worked out the way they did because I know I wouldn't be able to handle it."

Speaking about Gov. Michael Dukakis's run for the presidency in 1988, she says she wanted her husband to win but "in hindsight it would have been difficult. ... The progression of this disease is such that I would have eventually gotten into trouble. ... And being in the White House and getting into trouble is really hard. It would have been very hard to get help in that kind of situation."

Barbara Bush, the winner, blames the depression she experienced in the 1970s, at the height of the women's movement, on being made to feel "inadequate. I'm not sure how." The book, published by William Morrow and available here this week, also quotes Mrs. Bush as saying, "I mean, every movement does good and bad. I think a lot of American women felt the same way. You were made to feel demeaned a little bit. Well, I got over it shortly."

George Bush was "marvelous, I must say. I wept a little and was just depressed. And he sort of understood and tried to help me, and did urge me to ... go talk to someone about it. But I felt that was weird," Mrs. Bush told Grimes.

George Bush marks his 66th birthday today, and as far as he knows, the staff has made no plans to observe the occasion. But then a lot he knows.

Barbara Bush, who's known him 49 years, told 144 graduates of Kennebunk High School Sunday that life is full of surprises and for Bush, becoming president was a big one.

"But he always tried to be the best -- the best congressman, the best ambassador, the best father, the best fisherman and the best horseshoe player," she said in the next-to-last commencement speech she'll give this year (the last comes tomorrow at Dunbar High School here).

Turning philosophical, she compared life to a train trip, and urged her young audience to concentrate on the trip rather than the destination.

"Sooner or later you realize there is no station and the truth of life is the trip. Read a book, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, hug a child, go fishing, laugh more," she said. "The station will come soon enough. And as you go, find a way to make this world more beautiful."

Her train (actually her Air Force jet) didn't get back to Washington in time for Mrs. Bush to see Walker Bush, her 12th grandchild and the adopted son of Marvin and Margaret Bush, christened in the Rose Garden Sunday afternoon. But she was able to join the president and the rest of the family for a few minutes before Bush headed off for a private dinner with Mexico's president, Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

A member of the board since 1981, Barbara Bush hasn't missed many Ronald McDonald House milestone ribbon cuttings and dedications. Last week she joined volunteers again, this time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children.

As the mother of a child who died of leukemia in 1953, Mrs. Bush has been no stranger through the years to the plight of uprooted families wanting to be near their hospitalized children.

"George Bush and I know how much it means at a time like this when the whole world seems to be hospitals and treatment, worries and fear," she told the group, hosted by Army Chief of Staff Carl E. Vuono and his wife, Pat. More than 50 percent of the families who stay at the local Ronald McDonald House are military.

"I got to thinking, children don't really need to worry," Mrs. Bush continued, "and how great they have Ronald McDonald House so they can worry about getting strong again and not about where their parents were going to stay."

Founded in 1980, the Washington Ronald McDonald House was the 16th in a network that will number 134 when one in Tulsa opens this summer. During its first decade, the 22-bedroom house at 1326 Quincy St. NE has accommodated more than 4,300 families while their children were treated for such life-threatening illnesses as cancer and leukemia at Children's Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other facilities. Some families are housed free, while others pay no more than $10 a night.

Owned and operated by Children's Oncology Services of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., the house receives 70 percent of its support from the local community, with the remainder contributed by local McDonald's restaurant owner-operators.

For 26 years they were the abandoned remnants of an elegant if smaller U.S. Capitol, victims of mid-20th-century expansion. Then, in 1984, these 22 sandstone Corinthian columns, which had stood for 132 years on the Capitol's East Portico, were moved to the National Arboretum.

Rescued and preserved through the efforts of philanthropist Ethel Shields Garrett, who died in 1986, and Betty Rea with Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA), the columns now stand splendidly, much like a Greek temple in the West Meadow.

On Thursday -- Flag Day -- Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter will preside over a dedication of the columns, attended by key members of Congress and FONA. Inscribed at the foot of the columns will be the names of those who contributed to the project. Later, at a White House reception for 150 donors, Barbara Bush will add her thanks.