Suzanne Marques in the White House to interview First Lady Jill Biden – CBS Los Angeles

CBS2 News This Morning’s Suzanne Marques is in Washington, DC, to interview First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Follow her experiences here.

By Suzanne Marques

WASHINGTON (CBSLA) – What do you think of when you think of the holiday?

When I was a kid, my mom tied toys in black garbage bags so we could not see what she got us for Christmas. She would store them in her closet or in the garage.

Holiday decor inside the White House in Washington DC This year’s theme is “Gifts from the Heart.” December 1, 2021. (Credit: Suzanne Marques, CBSLA)

These days, so many Amazon boxes are arriving at our house. Austin does not look twice at the boxes stacked up in my closet. Before the pandemic, I had taken bags home from Target and the 99 Cents Store, and if I did not save them right away, he saw the glowing label on a box and it was over. Before he could speak, he fussed and pointed until I gave him the present. There was no one to distract him. His young mind did not understand that waiting for a gift just builds expectation and makes it more fun. He knows I bought something for him, so just give it to him already.

Last year, Austin’s “big gift” was a police car he could drive. Does everyone give a great gift? It feels like something my brother Matt and I came up with as a Christmas tradition to pressure my mom to give us more gifts.

“Mom. I know you just got me an outfit, but what do I get for my big gift? Shall we go and look at the shoes or handbags?”

I shudder when I remember our shameless ways. But now that I’m a mom, I know how much fun it is to shop for kids. Austin is 5 and I already miss the stages of childhood that are already behind him.

I also love entertaining people in my home. There have been so many memorable dinners, cocktails and consecutive theme parties. Thanksgiving this year made it feel like the pandemic was far away. We were all twelve vaccinated, so with the doors wide open, we filled each chair at the dining table and the children’s table. My mom made her bid on a traditional Southern Thanksgiving. We had turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, my grandmother Ethel’s green beans, mashed potatoes, offal sauce, fresh sweet corn, roasted sweet potatoes with candied pecans, mac and cheese, whole cranberry sauce and at my request sweet Hawaiian rolls. There were pumpkin pie and apple pie. I know I’m omitting something. Oh, cranberry jelly from the can! We’re cutting it straight up.

The White House. (Suzanne Marques, CBSLA)

We played small games, opened biscuits and carried paper crowns, read riddles and competed to find out. We wrote down what we are grateful for and walked around the table. Some of us were grateful for health, family and friends. Others thanked for simple pleasures, like driving with the windows down, listening to music. walk and listen to leaves underfoot in the cold air.

This is my favorite time of the year. My colleagues will tell you and you have probably heard me say that I once set up my Christmas tree in August. That was when I lived in Atlanta. I lived in a high-rise building and had a beautiful view of the center, but I was homesick. I survived the lonely season by putting up a white plastic tree and buying vintage decorations on Ebay in my spare time. I loved receiving the packages by mail. They often came from elderly people in different parts of the country, the boxes addressed in shocking italics. Sometimes the faded balls were individually wrapped in vintage newspaper. This was years before anyone had even heard of Amazon. Found the page at all? Oh, the good old days.

The White House. (Suzanne Marques, CBSLA)

Now I just leave the lights on my house all year round and put the tree up just before Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, they are bright lights. The neighbors have not complained yet.
So when I received an email from CBS Chief White House Correspondent Ed O’Keefe saying that First Lady’s Press Secretary Dr. Jill Biden wanted to do another interview with me, my heart simply left my chest.

I first met Dr. Jill Biden when she was our former Second Lady. She was on the campaign tour in 2020, and she came by the CBS Broadcast Center in Studio City for a quick interview about her new children’s book titled “Joey,” about President Joe Biden’s childhood.

She interviewed me and my co-author DeMarco Morgan for CBS2 News This Morning. She wore a light green jacket, a floral dress and heels. We were all so excited that she came by. I remember telling her how proud I was that she was checking out a stage crasher trying to get after her husband, our then former vice president and presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

I’m also the protective type, and my family has always treated Bidens in a personal way because President Biden has been open about his tribe and embraces children who are tribes. A few days ago, a little girl talked about her tribe with the president. While President Biden stumbles once in a while, my father had a strain that would not stop. I have to admit, he did not have much support as a child. Perhaps he would have overcome it better if he had had nuns to help him sing words, as the president did. By the way, I love that story.

The White House. (Suzanne Marques, CBSLA)

People love to make fun of a tribe, suggesting a lack of intelligence. Not that my dad’s lifelong tribe kept him back in life. He was good at math and storytelling. He drove cars and started two successful businesses from nothing, but he never overcame his tribe. It was a part of him. I remember my dad was in the middle of telling a great story about boxing and he started saying a word like “Fight”. He would say, “That guy really wanted to ffff … ffff …”. turn out his light! “And then he laughed, as if he just could not get the word out. Like a fisherman, he tried to get a word in, but sometimes they just got away from him.

So back to the present. I sent an email back to the press secretary for FLOTUS. I had no idea if Dr. The bite would come past the studio again, or if it was something out in the city. So when he said the interview would take place in the White House, I almost fainted. When I found out it was a tour of the holiday decor, I basically had to be stunned. These are all my favorite things wrapped up in one.

May I tell you about one of my favorite books? It’s called “Upstairs in the White House: My Life with the First Ladies.” I have read it several times. It was written in 1972 by JB West, White House Chief of Staff. Over the course of 28 years, he worked for six presidents and first ladies. He worked quietly behind the scenes through the triumphs and crises of our nation, where the goal ensured that everything went smoothly for the first family. Regardless of political party, the loyal staff of the White House remain the same as each family makes their indelible mark. I loved his look behind closed doors, especially when it was done with respect and dignity.

The White House. (Suzanne Marques, CBSLA)

West goes into detail about First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s restoration of the White House. She founded the White House Historical Association when she was first lady, which is a private nonprofit organization that funds efforts to preserve and maintain the beauty and elegance of the White House. She secured priceless paintings for the walls and hired the first curator of the White House to make sure the furniture reflected the history of the presidencies.

I vaguely remember giving CBS2 reporter Kristine Lazar a copy of the book a few years ago. If I’m wrong, Kristine, I owe you a copy.

Back to the topic of gifts. Do you remember how I mentioned my son’s “great gift” from last year? My husband Robert was trying to put together the police car in the garage on Christmas Eve. Austin discovered a massive box near the trash cans with a photo of the police car on it.

He said, “Santa brought me a police car!”

I shouted, “His elves are so busy that he sent it to Dad to finish!”

Next time I check in, I will have done the White House vacation trip. Wish me luck!

Follow Suzanne Marques on Twitter and Instagram.


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