This one was when my Father was the Australian Defense Attache in Washington DC — I was invited to the White House for a diplomatic children’s Christmas Party, and met the Commander in Chief and the First Lady (President Gerald & Betty Ford) — Thanks to the history preserved in my mothers detailed memoirs, flashback memories of long-ago events.

White House party & presentation of golden kangaroo pinWhite House party & presentation of golden kangaroo pin

Here is an extract of the text from my mothers memoirs:

Toby attended a party at the White House. With his invitation was a vehicle pass, so I was able to drive into the grounds and deposit him at the door. They had the red carpet out and an awning. It was quite something to see Toby trotting up the red carpet with a Marine honour guard, while the band played the Australian National Anthem and being greeted at the entrance as though he did it every day of his life.

He met the President and First Lady briefly at the entrance in the official welcome. He thoroughly enjoyed the party and fell in love with Mrs. Ford who stayed the entire party. He told her he wanted to be an F.B.I. agent (You may recall a couple of years ago, Toby had sent a letter to the F.B.I. asking to join, and received a letter back signed by J. Edgar Hoover politely saying he needed to be a U.S. citizen — presumably given this level of attention because Toby had used Max’s Australian Army letterhead paper!), and she very kindly sent him off on a private tour of the White House with a couple of agents – it made his day!

As planned by the Embassy, Toby presented her with two gold kangaroo pins on behalf of the Australian Government – one for her and one for the President – and she said she would ask the President to wear his the next time he made a speech on television, so that Toby could see it! The story was written up in the Washington Post the next day, and Toby was thrilled to bits. I told him there was no way the President would wear his pin on television, and he didn’t believe me. and then sure enough, on Australia Day, there was the President in all his glory on TV, wearing the pin!!