BOSTON (CAP) - As a followup to her wildly successful speech during the Republican National Convention, Ann Romney is focusing heavily on the modest life she and her husband led during their graduate school days.
"They were simpler times, " she told Fox anchor Shepard Smith. "Mitt and I didn't have a lot of money, but we did have a lot of love, and heaps of imagination."
Ann told the story of how her husband kept the two of them entertained during those dark days with his hilarious antics.
"Some meals, we'd have nothing to eat but a single baked bean, which we'd cut in half, washing it down with some coal dust and a few tears," she said.
"To distract us from our hunger, Mitt would put on his punched-out top-hat and fingerless gloves and he'd do a vaudeville routine by candlelight."
Mrs. Romney sighed in rememberance.
"Back then I spent most nights sleeping with one eye open," she continued. "Because there was an open sewer tunnel right outside the curtain that led to our hovel - and the rats that came out of there were the size of small dogs. Often they were rabid."
To this day, Ann says she keeps a handmade shiv under her pillow out of habit.
She spoke of having only one dress to wear in those days, "made of twine and ticking," which she laundered every morning in the soapy runoff that pooled in the gutter from a nearby car wash.
"The car wash was a front though," she recalled. "What they really did was run drugs - sometimes girls."
Once in a while, she said she had been tempted to join the operation.
"In the winter it would get really cold in Boston," she said. "One time the ringleader at the car wash, Vic, he offered me half a rock and a warm place to sleep if I turned a couple tricks."
Ann ultimately refused. "Mitt said, Ann, you know, a warm grate is a warm grate. Maybe you should think about it. But I knew that someday we were going to get out of that hell-hole, and I didn't want those memories haunting me forever."
She added, "I'm sure many Americans can relate."
Mrs. Romney closed by telling viewers that she wants them to know that she understands where they're coming from.
"Life as a Poor is horrible," she said. "I've been there. And I ain't never going back."
During a later appearance on Good Morning, Ann revealed a tattoo on her bicep that she is pretty sure she got during a night spent drying out in prison, although she can't remember, because she was "high as a [bleeping] kite" at the time.
She then showed viewers how to make the perfect Early Fall Fruit Tart.
- Molly Schoemann