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The First Lady This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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      On average, 5,000 Americans tour the White House each day. However, few, if any, actually get the chance to meet the President or the First Lady. So, when Teen Ink contacted me to see if I'd like to interview Mrs. Laura Bush, I was stunned; I thought they were joking. No way would the First Lady have any interest in talking with a couple of high-school kids, I thought, but John Meyer, co-founder of Teen Ink, assured me otherwise. He'd been working on setting up this interview for quite a while. Then one day he got a phone call from the White House telling him the timing was right and the interview could be the following Tuesday. We had less than a week to prepare, but there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity. “Absolutely,” I told him.

And so, a week later, the night before the interview, I found myself in Washington, D.C., completely lost. We had missed our stop on the Metro and ended up walking all around to find the hotel. On the way, we passed the White House, which looked much less intimidating than on television. It actually appeared simpler and more refined. I had a hard time believing that the next morning I would actually be going inside, much less meeting the First Lady herself. It was definitely one of the more surreal moments of my life.

Soon we found our way to the hotel and met Christine Stoddard, my fellow reporter and roommate for the night. The Meyers arrived a bit later, and then we all sat down to pore over question after question, trying to decide which ones would be the best and which we absolutely wanted to ask. It took us quite awhile and we were up until almost 1 a.m., but we finally felt prepared and ready to go.

When I awoke the next morning, I felt as if I were still dreaming. I couldn't believe this was real. Our interview was scheduled for 8:45, but we had to arrive by 7:30, so we left the hotel early. It was just a short walk to the White House, where we were escorted to a waiting room after taking a detour to see the White House Press Room. This is the actual room in which the President holds press conferences. It is much smaller than one would think, seats just 50, and is barely the size of a normal classroom.

Then we spent a half hour in the waiting room, admiring the vases of freshly cut roses and portraits of former First Ladies adorning the walls, and signing the official White House guest book. We were getting a little anxious as the ancient clock overhead ticked closer to 8:45. Finally at 8:30 we were escorted to another room, the First Lady's library office on the second floor of the East Wing of the White House. It was time.

Entering the room, we scrambled to get ready and organize our thoughts. Christine and I pulled out our note cards, and we each took a deep breath. It would be any moment now. As Mr. Meyer set up the recording equipment, Mrs. Bush's aides briefed us on what to expect. Then without warning, the First Lady entered the room. Our full attention turned to her. She greeted everyone warmly and then, after a few short introductions, invited us to sit and begin the interview.

Despite our nerves, Mrs. Bush made us feel comfortable and even welcome in her home. She seemed honestly interested in what we had to say and truly passionate about her answers. The one answer she gave that struck me the most, however, was that her biggest regret was not having more children. It put into words what I am sure a lot of parents feel, and made clear just how much parents do love their children.

As the time for the interview drew to a close, Mrs. Bush continued to chat with us about Teen Ink, high school, and even the photos on the wall. She seemed thoroughly interested in us and reluctant to end the discussion. All things must end though, and so did our interview. It was a truly wonderful experience, one for which I greatly thank Mr. and Mrs. Meyer, Teen Ink, and the White House. We do hope that you enjoy reading this interview as much as we enjoyed taking part in it!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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labebede174 said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 8:03 am
i wish i was the first women in the world how did u feel to be a first woman what did u fell lonely ????????????????????????
 
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