People began lining up outside Politics & Prose at 8 on Tuesday morning, in the rain, to be among the fortunate 260 who got to buy a copy of American Grown and get it signed by its author, Michelle Obama.
“She’s a very lovely person,” says Lacey Dunham, a P&P staffer, about the First Lady. Her visit began at 11:15 AM and lasted about an hour an a half, according to Dunham, during which Obama posed for a group photo with the staff to mark the special occasion: It was the first time a sitting First Lady had appeared at the Connecticut Avenue bookstore, which is a mecca for the famous and powerful who are promoting their books.
“As many of you know, this is my very first book,” the First Lady said in her opening remarks. “But what a great first book to be able to tell the tale of the White House garden. And I hope you guys enjoy it. It’s not just the story of the White House kitchen garden; it’s the story of community gardens all across this country, because the truth is the idea of the White House garden is not unique. Community gardens are a mainstay in so many communities across this country.”
Noting that Mother’s Day is coming up, Obama said, “I would say I was going to give this as a gift to my mother, but she already has, like, ten copies. But I might buy her another one just for the heck of it.”
Patient patrons who waited in line received wristbands allowing them to buy a book and get it signed by Obama. “Everyone was able to shake her hand and greet her,” says Dunham, though no customer photos were permitted. Proceeds from the sale go to the National Park Foundation.
We talked with Dunham after the midday excitement had concluded. “We just reopened two minutes ago,” she said, “and now everything is back to normal. Customers are browsing. Business as usual.” She also says that now that the First Lady has visited the store, P&P would like to have the President make a visit, too.