|Jacque Stafford of Colorado, a good friend.||(Melinda took the photo)|
The White House – May 11, 2001
By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
The tea was held upstairs, past open doors that held the portraits of First Ladies and mementos of previous administrations. The People’s House is large enough to hold all of the variations of which America is capable. Therefore it must be large, more on the inside than in any other dimension.
We scaled the broad and beautiful stairs while listening to the floating music of a military string quartet that played in the foyer across a gleam of marble flooring. The music drew us on.
Various of our number stopped to study the portraits of the presidents that hung on the walls and more than a few paused in front of the bust of Lincoln that gazes into a place far away at one side of the hallway.
The People’s House hushes voices and fills the heart with pride.
We have known so many disappointments and failures. The light was gold and clear drifting down to touch the marble and gleaming carpets.
The event was everything any of us imagined it could be. We had dressed accordingly.
The tiny pastries epitomized all that is delicious. As rapidly as we could empty the trays they were replenished by the hovering servers. Our noble best did not suffice to empty even one before it was whisked from sight to make way for another.
The day was warm. So instead of sipping hot tea our thirsts were quenched by the most excellent iced tea, delicately flavored with just a touch of mango. Cautioned not to take souvenirs a few of our number did tuck a single paper napkin into a dainty purse.
We basked, remembering the hours of labor that each of us have invested in bringing this administration home.
Pictures were taken, smiles and words exchanged with the First Lady. She shared with us her hopes for a better tomorrow through her work for all children everywhere. Her hopes were made tangible and accessible through programs that enable each to work within their home and community. We listened, moved and delighted with her simple informality.
The contrast served to remind each of us that this administration is very different from the last.
The People’s House is large. It is not so much a home as a symbol and destination for thoughts and deeds. We snapped our own pictures; unofficial mementos to be savored over and over again through the months and years ahead.
Tea. Pastries. Music. A lavishing of thoughts and a reminder that the building is a symbol of things we cannot touch. Those things we can and did take with us.
|Laura, two other NFRW Regents, and Melinda in red|