I was thrilled when my friend Gloria Nuckles gave me a copy of #1 New York Times Bestseller The Residence. This book of remembrances by White House staff features several pages about her father, Lynwood Westray, who was a butler in "the house" for many years. The author interviewed Gloria as well.
Of course I skipped to the part that highlighted Mr. Westray's career. Such an amazing story of his experiences there! But then I turned back to page one, and I'm not sorry. The stories related to author Kate Bower by living staff and relatives enthralled me. It was so interesting to read what went on behind the scenes with the ever faithful, loyal, and discreet staff of butlers, maids, ushers, chefs, secret service, florists, decorators, electricians, plumbers, and many more. I had no idea how many people it takes to run our national institution.
We know the public details of many historical events in our lifetime; the Kennedy assassination, the Watergate affair, the Vietnam War to name a few, but to read intimate accounts of how this affected the White House staff is eye opening.
I learned many things. For instance, I was surprised to learn that the first family pays for their own personal expenses for things such as meals not related to the job, private parties, dry cleaning, etc. The staff reports that even Mrs. Kennedy constantly requested the staff to find ways to cut financial corners when it came to their personal expenses. The personal/federal expenses line did seem blurred in some administrations.
Some of the accounts are humorous, and some well, infuriating. I now have even more respect for leaders whom I already admired. Unfortunately, the same is true in reverse for those whom I have less respect. However, one can learn a great deal about honoring the office of the President, no matter who the man is, from the attitude and behavior of those that serve the first family.
Gloria's father died just short of the release date of The Residence. I believe he would have been proud of the author's account, and the photographs in which he appears. The high standards Mr. Westray developed during his years at the White House permeated the life of my friend Gloria. He and his late wife instilled the same standard of excellence in her, and she carries it out daily as a professional educator.
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Simulacrum, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns.
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