WhiteHouse-credit_Mary_A_BehreSince everyone is focused on the White House right now, and on who will be the next resident of that esteemed house, this seems like a good time for me to confess that I took some things from there when my father was in office. It wasn’t easy, since I really wasn’t there that often. And I obviously couldn’t pull up a moving van, so that restricted the size and number of items I could take. I am disclosing this now because, in choosing the next president, everyone might want to consider who else is going to be coming in and out, spending the night, etc. You might not want someone like me in there, although I do believe that many people are tempted to make off with souvenirs.

I hereby admit to pilfering the following items:

One dozen matchbooks. That’s one dozen per visit, so the actual number is somewhere around 84. I don’t smoke, but I do enjoy candles, and the matchbooks are quite lovely — white, with small gold lettering that simply says “The President’s House.” I’m afraid I can’t return them. They’re all gone. I used them often, and friends would swipe them when they thought I wasn’t looking.

About half a dozen notepads. That’s the total number, I swear. They are also very lovely, with the same gold lettering on top. I wrote shopping lists on them and also gave a few away as gifts. People like that sort of thing. They can pretend that they were at the White House and stole them themselves.

A man’ black sock from the Lincoln Bedroom. I’m certain it wasn’t Lincoln’s actual sock. It wasn’t big enough; Lincoln, as we know, had very large feet. And it was a Ralph Lauren sock, which definitely disqualifies it from that time period. It was obviously something that a visitor left behind. But I had it framed and labeled as Abe Lincoln’s sock. With the label concealed, it’s fooled a lot of people.

One bowling ball from the White House bowling alley. I’d like to apologize to America and to the White House staff who couldn’t figure out why their bowling ball inventory came up short. I couldn’t help it — I had room in my suitcase. I did have a moment of terror when a very nice butler who carried my suitcase downstairs said, “What do you have in here? A bowling ball?” I’m generally not a good liar, but I looked him right in the eye and said, “I did not, I repeat, did not, put a bowling ball in my suitcase.”

One needlepoint pillow with a picture of an elephant gleefully racing toward the White House. I slipped it under my coat and casually walked out. This did lead to some rumors that I was with child, and I had to let the rumors run their course because I couldn’t really say, “No, I’m with pillow.” I tried to turn the elephant into a donkey since I’m not a Republican, but I know nothing about needlepointing and I ruined the whole thing. I can’t return it. I tied a brick to it and sunk it in the ocean to cover up my crime.

I feel much better now. Confession is good for the soul. I’m hoping that President Obama will pardon me on his way out of office. And for whoever is taking his place, I’d be happy to send them the framed sock. It’s the least I can do.


  1. Paula Bondi Springer says:

    I throughly enjoyed that. (You can delete this part before posting) I don’t know if you heard but Trisha Campo (back then Trisha Roach) passed away. I didn’t see much of her, but talked often. I met her through Dennis when I was 15 and I don’t keep in touch with a lot of people I gave known for 40 years. Hope you are well. I enjoy your posts. Best, Paula Bondi Springer

  2. David Marks says:

    Hilarious, and oh so revealing, Patti. I think I would have stolen the Lincoln bed, the sofa in the Oval Office, and a Remington sculpture, but you already have that sculpture. Bowling balls were meant to be stolen, btw.
    Love this one!

  3. Steve Hellyard Swartz says:

    This was hilarious. I guess I’m going to have to go with the flow and say that the bowling ball is my favorite pilfered item, too. Do you still use it when you go bowling? You don’t have to answer that. I just want to have this image of you in a Writers’ League, every Tuesday night, using the ball you spirited out of the WH in your suitcase. Now I’m thinking about who else should be in the league. Damn,this is so much better than Fantasy Football.

  4. Jan Oxenberg says:

    This is hilarious. And, moving.

  5. Lucy Perez says:

    This was so funny! Thank you for sharing!

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