I Take The Napkin From The White House
This editorial was written by Aiesha LetmanEditorial Management & Editing by Jadriena SolomonSenior Editor at The Shade Room.
I created a core memory, one of the most impressive of my adult years — and I have the proof to back it up.
On Friday, December 17, 2022, I was invited to the White House to chat with the President and First Lady during their holiday reception. Trying my best to prepare before flying to DC from Atlanta with my partner, I shopped for my “work/festival” outfit, as listed in the invitation. I made sure to bring my immunization card before getting tested for COVID. However, I’m still not ready for my inner feeling.
I was confronted by dozens of Secret Service agents (which was quite pleasant) and a live classical band outside before entering the President’s house. When I entered, I took a deep breath.
I breathe the presidential air. And honestly, I exhaled anxiety when I entered this building – a building that is tied to Black history in so many ways that excites me. I took a deep breath, thinking about this rare opportunity, and burst into tears before calming down.
At the end of the hallway, past the coat check counter, a string quartet was playing Christmas music. And through the door to the right is a portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama.
I took my last deep breath, exhaled, and felt joy. I was stunned.
My White House Experience & Paper Souvenirs
That evening, the guests ate lamb chops, pasta, greens and dessert from the buffet. The party takes place in four salon-like rooms with portraits in each room. Several paintings, dating from the 1700s, decorate the walls as classical music is played live throughout the rooms. I took a sip of eggnog. And stare at the hand-drawn paintings of Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Jackie O., and many other historical political figures, who I assume have their portraits painted in that same building.
Not long after, President Biden entered the room to address a crowd of maybe 100 guests. I had to reach out to take a picture of him from behind the group.
When his speech was over, I decided to go to the makeup room. Inside, another guest greeted me with a pleasant “hello” when I noticed the presidential seal on the napkin. I used one to wipe my hands after washing. Then I immediately thought of giving one to my mother to keep in her china cabinet. I thought about getting another one for myself to display on the living room bookshelf. Then I gently stuffed two napkins into my purse.
Shade room had a brief but influential history with the White House in 2022. This year, we shared breaking news about Biden’s student loan relief plan. We had an exclusive interview addressing misconceptions about monkeypox with Dr. Fauci. And more information directly from White House staff. It’s been a pleasure serving our audience with over 30 million Roomies news that propels our culture and the world forward.
As I look in the mirror in the White House bathroom, I feel proud to end a year like this with my own presidential napkin tucked in my handbag. And I’m not sorry about that, at all.