AUTHOR: Michelle Obama
Michelle’s mother was one of seven children and her father was one of five children. Her grandfather was a grandson of slaves, oldest of ten children and son of a mill worker. The family came to Chicago during the Depression. Michelle’s dad taught her to work hard, laugh often, and keep her word while her mother taught her to think for herself and use her voice! As a child she lived on the South Side of Chicago in a small upper apartment with her great Aunt Robbie and Uncle William. Why did her family live with relatives? For how long?
Michelle and her brother Craig were noisy and unapologetic when they sprayed Pledge on the wooden floors to slide easier and faster! They held boxing matches, but at night the family played board games, told jokes and stories and listened to music. Michelle entered kindergarten in 1969 and lived in a world of Barbie dolls and in a neighborhood where color did not matter. When the mayhem began in second grade how did it affect Michelle? Craig was two years older and always a star student throughout school had no problems of racial slurs and mistreatment as she was experiencing. She didn’t know how to handle peer pressure and losing a classmate to a bad house fire added more misery for her. She and her friends went to her house for noon lunches from school every day and that was a positive thing for her. Her parents worked hard to save money and made sure Michelle could go to Paris, which was a class trip. How did the trip so far from home go for her? How long was she gone?
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When she applied at Princeton she didn’t let one teacher’s negative remarks stop her. What were the remarks? Why were they made? She learned to have faith and focus in her own self and story! How did this change occur? We know it benefited her in later life. Her purpose was to see past her neighborhood and to look forward to the future . While at Princeton her best friend died and her dad’s MS worsen, and he suffered a heart attack that caused his death.
She took a job at City Hall after graduation as a lawyer, and she met Barack whom she married in October 1992 with 300 guests attending the special event. Both had government jobs in Chicago. In 1996, Barack became senator and Michelle was an associate dean at the university in Chicago. What devastating event occurred in their lives at this time? Being in politics was difficult for them because Barack was verbally attacked too often. Malia and Natasha were born into this family at the time maintaining normalcy and stability was her goal, but Barack traveled a lot. Counseling began!
Politics brought them to Washington DC. Should Barak run for presidency? Could he win? This was confusing and fearful for Michelle because she was now VP at the U of Chicago Medical Center. With five campaigns in 11 years she fought hard to hang onto her priorities.
As they became more publicly exposed they were more open to attacks and crazy false rumors. Safety was a huge concern, too. When Barack’s citizenship was questioned she spoke about optimism and unity. Why was his citizenship questioned? What was the final result of that issue? Living in the White House was a huge change for all of them, especially having Secret Secret men at all times. Michelle loved bringing children to the White House for special events and maintaining a garden there with their help. She paid for her own clothes except for formal events. They were entitled to federal funds for moving expenses and redecorating, but Barack insisted on using his book sale money for those expenses. They covered all their own living expenses including guest visits.
How did the Bush family welcome the Obamas? Where did the girls go to school? How did they adjust to life in the White House? They practiced their faith privately as a family and they prayed daily. Life was exciting for the entire family. What tragedy struck our country during Barack’s second term in office? As first lady for eight years what were her accomplishments? What lay ahead for them as they left the White House? How was the transition to the Trumps handled? Michelle, an ordinary woman found herself on an extraordinary journey!
Becky Stakston is an avid reader from Westby.