Hosting First Lady Obama in Fremont Place

Michelle Obama Rosenthal Family
The Rosenthal – family with the FIrst Lady.

This week, the Larchmont Buzz caught up with Monica Horan and Phil Rosenthal for a fun recap of FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) festivities at their house last week. “After spending time with her,” Phil told the Buzz.  “I think she should change her title from “First Lady” to “Best Lady.”

Former Pool House patio where Mrs. Obama adressed guests
Former pool house patio where Mrs. Obama addressed the guests

Monica, gregariously charming, explained how much fun she had preparing for First Lady Mrs. Obama’s visit last Wednesday evening. “We did research and learned that she loves peonies,”said Monica. Michelle at Larchmont Florist created arrangements of peonies, anemones, kumquats, blueberries, variegated ivy, and french tulips and placed them around Monica’s historic Fremont Place home and garden.

Monica escorted me in the same way the almost 200 guests entered her historic Fremont Place home and garden. Once past security, guests (some very famous, like James Brolin, Barbara Streisand, Tim Robbins and some not so famous like my personal trainer and Monica’s, Deborah Brooks, who lives in the neighborhood) entered the front lawn enclosed by walls of green ficus trees to enjoy a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres and pizzas made by Nancy Silverton and her Mozza kitchen staff who worked busily in the Rosenthal’s garage. “They used our pizza oven and a beautiful cooper oven that was brought over for the evening,” said Monica.

Courtyard Fountain at the Rosenthals
Courtyard fountain at the Rosenthals

From there, guests were invited to mingle in the fountain courtyard that runs the length of the house. Monica took me into the former pool house, now an additional family room at the back of the house, where Mrs. Obama met Mayor Eric Garcetti and his daughter and Rosenthal family members, Max and Helen Rosenthal, Phil’s parents and Selma Horan, Monica’s mom, as well as 16 year old Lily Rosenthal to whom Mrs. Obama offered advice about college. She told her to beware of people who say there are only a handful of colleges that are “good” schools. She said there are many great colleges and that when she reviews resumes for staff, she never looks at where someone went to college!

Monica Horan and Phil Rosenthal
Monica Horan and Phil Rosenthal

While in the pool house, Mrs. Obama posed for photos with guests who purchased the higher level tickets. From there Monica and Phil escorted Mrs. Obama out to the fountain courtyard where she delivered her remarks. Monica did the honors and introduced Mrs. Obama, telling her guests how honored she was to present the First Lady and how her “visit inspired Mrs. Claudia Guerra, (Monica’s housekeeper) and myself to clean closets and drawers that none of you will ever even see!”

“What an exciting evening for everyone present,”said Deborah Brooks about the evening. “The air was alive with anticipation of seeing and hearing Mrs. Obama in such an informal setting. She did not disappoint!”

“Mrs. Obama spoke with passion and conviction about the causes that touch her most: initiatives to aid the middle class; fighting childhood obesity; women’s reproductive rights; Obamacare; and increasing the turnout for the midterm elections. “Her speech capped an elegant and intimate evening under the stars in the beautiful garden of Monica and Phil Rosenthal’s home,” said Deborah.

Courtyard Fountain at the Rosenthal home
Courtyard Fountain at the Rosenthal home

Following her remarks, Mrs. Obama joined Phil and Monica in the Rosenthal’s home theater for a discussion with an intimate group of 30 donors, where she covered a wide range of issues and again emphasized the importance of engaging women, minorities and young people in the mid-term elections, so that Congress is more representative of the views of the majority of the nation.

Monica and Phil agreed to host the event because their civic and philanthropic interests align with the Obama mission,  particularly in their commitment to education. Monica is very active in Inner City Arts, the highly regarded arts education organization.

After several hours, Mrs. Obama and her entourage left the Rosenthal home, and Monica and a small group of friends sat down to enjoy a birthday cake – to celebrate Monica’s birthday!

 

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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