Photo credit: Janet Donovan

Eleven was the magic number at the book party for Marjorie Margolies’ book And How Are the Children? Timeless Lessons from the Frontlines of Motherhood at the Kalorama home of Ambassador Esther Coopersmith. “Marjorie is a mother of 11 children,” said former Lt. Governor of Maryland Kathleen Kennedy Townsend who sat down for a Q and A discussion with Margolies while giving a hero’s shoutout to her own mother who had 11 children. For those in the know, there were guests in the audience whose own mothers also had 11 children.

Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend and Marjorie Margolies

About the book: “And How Are the Children? Timeless Lessons from the Frontlines of Motherhood explores the life of a woman who was hardwired to shift paradigms and break down historic boundaries while managing a busy household and later dealing with heartbreaking tragedies including divorce and the death of a child. Her intention is for women of every generation to recognize themselves in her story and learn how to nurture themselves and the life decisions they have made. Emmy-winning journalist, congresswoman, and the first single American to adopt internationally, Marjorie Margolies masterfully blends her personal narrative with national history and politics in this call-to-action memoir.”

Q: “What persuaded you A to adopt all these children and B to write this book?”

A:  “I’ll give you the cliff note version. I’ll give you the elevator speech so that you have to buy the book,” joked Margolies.  “In 1970, I was doing a series of stories on hard to place kids and I got a little carried away. The kids were from all over the world. One of the groups that settled in the Philadelphia area were Korean kids.  One of the stories was about this Korean adoption and I knew that really wanted to do it. My parents thought I was certifiable, really certifiable.  I asked them if I could go to the orphanages in Korea. I did and I got all the papers together and this little girl came over and she was the first one. She was seven years old. And she came over to me and she said how do you do? And that was it.  About five years later, I was doing something similar. I was going to Vietnam doing some stories and I walked down the street and bumped into the same agency and said I’d love to adopt a Vietnamese kid. And they said, You know, don’t pick one out, we’ll pick one out for you. And then I married somebody with four girls, so I know – isn’t that ridiculous? And then we had two boys. And then and then.”  By now, you get the picture.

Kandie Stroud and Margorie Margolies

En fin, the evening was not all about the book, but rather an ironic twist to her life.  Call it serendipity, irony, or fate – here is how the twist came about.  During President Clinton’s term, her vote help to pass his budget bill. “I’m not that concerned about re-election,” Ms. Margolies-Mezvinsky said. “There is something very freeing about having done something that you feel was right.”  She lost the election, but years later now shares her grandchildren with the Clintons.  Her son Marc Mezvinsky married Chelsea Clinton and they now share three grandchildren.

The scene: