NEWINGTON, Conn. — When Talia Maselli envisioned her perfect prom date, one man immediately sprang to mind: Vice President Joe Biden.
“Joe Biden makes me laugh,” the Maselli said. “He just cracks me up.”
So she mailed Biden a handwritten note last fall asking him to escort her to the Newington High School prom.
“I am inviting you so far in advance because I’m sure many 17-year-old girls send you prom invitations, and I had to beat them to it,” Maselli said in her letter. “I could only tolerate a high school dance if I was to be escorted by the most delightful man in America.”
If Biden turned her down, Maselli warned that she might ask Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, in his place.
“And we can’t have that now can we,” she wrote.
Maselli, who says she’s interested in politics, considered the invitation a lark and never expected to hear back. A staff member would glance at the note and toss it, she figured.
At about 10 a.m. Thursday, on the eve of the prom, Maselli got a shock. Her doorbell rang, and a deliveryman handed her a wrist corsage. Inside was a handwritten note from Biden.
“I am flattered, but my schedule will not permit me to be in Connecticut on Friday evening,” the vice president said in the note. “But I hope you will accept this corsage and enjoy your prom as much as I did mine.”
Biden goes on to invite Maselli to visit him at the White House.
Maselli’s first thought was that someone was playing an elaborate practical joke on her. She even called her mother to ask if she was in on it.
“She had no idea what I was talking about,” Maselli said.
Then she called a number for Biden’s assistant that was on a separate card. The assistant immediately recognized Maselli’s name, and Maselli realized the corsage and the note were real.
A day later, Maselli and her family were still in shock.
“It’s just been crazy,” she said. “I definitely didn’t expect him to answer seven months after the letter.”
A spokeswoman at Biden’s press office said that the vice president read Maselli’s invitation and was touched by it. He personally picked the corsage of white roses, baby’s breath and red, white and blue ribbons, she said.
“He wanted her to feel special at her prom, even though he wasn’t able to come,” she said.
Unfortunately, Maselli, now 18, didn’t end up going to prom.
“But If he had said yes, I would have gone,” she said.
That’s OK with Maselli, who will study theater sets and lighting at Central Connecticut State University starting in the fall. She’s more excited about going with her family to the White House and meeting Biden, a visit the vice president’s office is arranging for July.
“I was never really looking forward to going to prom,” Maselli said. “I’m looking forward to going to Washington, D.C.”
Maselli will hold on to the bracelet and is keeping the corsage in the refrigerator. She is unsure what to do when the flowers wilt, although her grandmother has a suggestion.
“She said I should press them in a book,” Maselli said.