I have a secret. Its not one that many people can share either. But for five minutes on January 20, 1993, yours truly was none other than the first daughter to the President of the United States.
I know what your thinking, there is no way that this could happen. But trust me it can. And it did. You see, back then I was in my glory days of Girl Scouts, right before it became uncool to be apart of that is-and being one in the DC area meant we got to do some pretty kick ass activities. Like being invited to work the Inauguration. Which believe it not was a pretty big deal, even at 12 I realized it was a once in a lifetime sort of opportunity.
Getting up at the crack of dawn we headed into the city. Dressed in our blue uniforms, a blue jacket to cover it, our little white gloves and a white beret smashed on top of massive kinky curly (often unruly) hair-like this was supposed to keep us warm-we each got a section to seat parade goers. My older sister got a more prestige's job somewhere farther down the parade line and a hell of a lot closer to the grand stand. We lined up early, as they placed us in the stands were we would spend the next several hours. We we not allowed to take any seats from anybody, whether they offered it up to us or not, and we weren't allowed to move from our designated post. Got it. Clear. And it wasn't that bad. I mean I could handle it.
Except no one mentioned, it was going to be freezing. An hour into things, my hands were numb even through the gloves..I started to shiver somewhere around the two and a half hour mark, so hard that the braces in my mouth hurt. And by the third I was down right unable to bare it. And the parade hadn't even started yet. I got offered several jackets, and sets all of which had blankets but I kept insisting I would get in trouble....still the section stood up for me, and as a gentlemen left, his wife pulled me down.
Little did I know what would soon happen.
Before long I was being called down, and replaced by someone else, which was fine most had been seated anyway by this point. Heading down the stands I found myself being asked a thousand questions, name, age, where the troop leader/mother was. Etc. And was informed I would be walking back with a bunch of men, all either DC's finest or Secret Service members. They put me in the middle, and we walked. It took a few minutes but it occurred to me that I was walking towards the White House. They were taking me to the Secret Service's private tent were I would be spending the next hour under blankets and the greatest hot chocolate ever, until my mother could be located. Believe me at 12, this was pretty awesome.
But as we were walking in to the tent, I began to hear people chant, and yell and wave. 'Chelsea over here. Wave to us.' 'Can you sign our books.' I remember one of the guys laughing and mentioned that they thought I was the First daughter. I waved, smiled and told them not today....I think we all got a good chuckle out of this.
It happened again on the way out as well. Causing a good laugh, and an endless amount of life time memories between my family. And a lot of jokes when I returned to school the next morning.
For the record, I don't think I look that much like her. But of course back then, our hair did look a lot like, as did our braces. And I was walking back with security, and secret service. To the White House....so I suppose I could see where people would be easily confused. I used to roll my eyes when I told this story, the same way my little sister rolls her name when Hillary became the first lady-she hated this for some reason-but now I embrace it.
After all, anyone can be recognized for someone who used to be on TV-in my case its the robot girl (Viki) from the show Small Wonder back in the 80s. Most of these people nobody will ever remember five years after the show ended.
But the first daughter? Even if for five minutes?Well that's a role of a lifetime.