--Kate Andersen Brower, best- selling author of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House and First Women: The Grace and the Power, captivated an overflow audience as she pulled back the curtain on the private lives of First Families through the experiences of the permanent White House residence staff, including butlers, maids, chefs, florists, plumbers, painters, and other staff, who make the White House run every day and serve at the whim of the President and their families. Ms. Brower shared examples of the trust and special bonds that developed between the First Families and permanent staff, including Gerald and Betty Ford who were very approachable and open and George H.W. and Barbara Bush who took a deep interest in the personal lives of the residence staff.
Ms. Brower also discussed the roles of First Ladies and the special friendships that developed between First Ladies. Rosalyn Carter, for example, was one of the most involved First Ladies and had a weekly working lunch with President Carter to discuss policy issues, while Pat Nixon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis bonded during the unveiling of Jacqueline Kennedy's First Lady portrait at her first return visit to the White House following the death of President Kennedy.
The audience asked many questions and continued the lively discussion with our speaker at the reception and book signing following the program.