A Home for the President
Would you like to be president and live in the White House?1 Ben stood outside the black [r?:t] wrought-iron gate and stared because he couldn't believe he was standing where he was. It was Kate, tugging on his shirt, who brought back his attention.
2 "What a terrific place! I wish l could be president and live in there!" said Ben.
3 "You never know, Ben," Mr. Wilkins said as he winked at Kate. "This could be your address in the future."
4 "If you were living here now," said Kate, "you'd be getting company. That's what I wanted to show you, Ben. Look at the cars with the tiny flags on the hoods."
5 As they watched, a long black car pulled up to the gate closest to them. A guard had a brief talk with the driver of the car. Then the gate swung open, and the car drove up to the White House. More vehicles came, each with a flag from a different country..
6 "Dad," Kate whispered, "what's going on?"
7 "I think those cars are bringing guests from other countries to have dinner at the White House," said Mr. Wilkins.
8 "I'm glad we don't have to wash the dishes," sighed Kate.
9 Dad and Ben looked at each other and chuckled. Each of them continued to watch the parade of cars.
10 "You know," said Dad, "what you're seeing isn't the original White House."
11 "It's a fake?" asked Kate.
12 "Well, not exactly. During a war in 1814 the British burned the White House. A rainstorm put the fire out , but only the outside walls were left. The inside had to be completely rebuilt. Then, one hundred years after the rebuilding of the inside, the walls began to crack from old age. Experts thought the White House was ready to cave in," explained Dad.
13 "It looks fine to me," said Ben.
14 "That's because workers hollowed out the White House in 1948 and constructed stronger walls. The inside was built to look just as it had looked before. The President had to live someplace else for the four years it took to finish the project."
15 "I know one thing," said Ben. "If I were President, I'd make sure the work was finished so I could live in the White House."