8 Memories from Congressional Page Land: Sandwiches with the Speaker, Shaking Bill Clinton's Hand and Stealing KFC Decals

Qui-Gon in your room?
Today, it was announced that the House of Representatives Page Program, a program both steeped in history and marred by scandal, is coming to an end. According to USA Today, House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cited the $5 million annual expenditure for cutting the program, which kind of sounds like a glorified courier position where privileged high school juniors get to spend a year in Washington rubbing their blue-jacketed shoulders with Dad's college roommate.

Except that, for one year, those blue-jacketed shoulders actually belonged to me. And, to be perfectly honest, it was one of the best years of my life.

In the 1998-1999 school year, I proudly served as one of the last pages for Republican Congressman Bill Archer, and it was a huge year: Clinton got impeached, the House leadership changed hands, NATO was in its 50th year and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out.

Naturally, this news has gotten me a little misty-eyed, so I have come up with a list of my eight favorite memories from Page Land.

8. John Glenn gives astronauts a tour of the House floor in the afterhours
In which we each did a double take and mouthed the words "Holy shit! Astronauts!" One girl made a sign that said "On this date I met Astronaut John Glenn," and plastered it all over our dorm hallway.

7. Shaking Bill Clinton's hand at the State of the Union
Yeah, I did it. I also didn't let go, because, I mean, it was the PRESIDENT. If you watch footage of the event, you can see him sticking his hand into a bunch of outstretched arms and then shaking his hand a little. That's him trying to get me to let go.

6. Passing the gavel
Pages are given different tasks and once I was given floor duty, where you wait around until there's a package for you to deliver or pick up. Once, sometime between the midterm elections and impeachment, on a quiet afternoon when the chamber was practically empty, I saw Newt Gingrich pass his gavel to Bob Livingston, who was supposed to succeed him. I remember thinking it was pretty historic. I realized I'd never see Gingrich hold the gavel again. I didn't realize I'd also never see Livingston hold it again, either.

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What a slacker. You had the means and the opportunity to become Newt Gingrich's 13th wife, but you just spent the time working and hanging out with your friends while Callista showed some real ambition. Squandered youth.

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