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A Trip to the White House

December 11, 2020

Every year as the Christmas season approaches a very special Christmas memory surfaces and fills my heart with happiness. In 1995, First Lady Hillary Clinton desired that the Christmas tree in the Blue Room should have a Christmas needlepoint stocking designed by a person from each state. My sister, Marjorie Casey, was nominated by the Des Moines Needlepoint Guild and was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from the White House stating that she had been chosen as one of four to represent Iowa. Marj was given the theme “Twas the Night Before Christmas” along with a blank canvas to create an original needlepoint design. After Marj submitted her drawing, she received a letter indicating that there were a few minor changes that had been made but Marj could proceed with the stocking she had designed.

The White House has an open house each year on the first Friday in December for all to come and admire the Christmas decorations. Marjorie received a thank you from Mrs Clinton’s secretary and an invitation to come to visit the White House to see her contribution to the tree. I told Marj we were going but she had reservations about the trip. I made the decision that this was a trip that we needed to make – a once in a lifetime opportunity. I contacted AAA and they formulated a route for us to take and a place for us to stay. So, two 70-year-olds set off on a journey we would never forget. Let me remind you, there weren’t GPS devices back then, yet we were able to navigate the interstates and D.C. roundabouts with ease except for one harrowing experience in Indianapolis as we crossed many lanes of busy traffic to exit. We took turns driving and soon we were at our destination. Since Marj had never been to Washington D.C., I booked us on a tour bus that took us all around the historic city. We both enjoyed seeing the sights.

On Friday, we woke up early and headed to the White House where we stood in line to enter the gates. The White House was beautifully adorned for the Christmas season. As we approached the Blue Room, I could see the excitement on my sister’s face. As Marj eagerly looked at the stockings hung on the tree, her face lit up when she proudly saw the one she had so lovingly designed and stitched. At that very moment, I knew this trip was one that would never be forgotten, and I could not have been more thrilled for my sister! Even the blisters on our feet from walking in heels were nothing more than just a mere nuisance. That evening as we sat in our hotel room, we reflected on the significance of what we had seen and what Marj had done. It was quite an accomplishment!

After we returned home, a familiar saying came to my mind. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” We had the will and God provided the way! - Madolyn Braley, Seeland Park Resident

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