Yesterday's stack of 100 letters with checks for Children's Hospital takes a back seat to today's total.
Between us, the letter carriers and I brought in 186 contributions - 185 delivered by the Postal Service and one by me. It took me seven hours just to read the letters and make the tally. Want some samples? Be my guest:
With a check for $10.00: "My New Year's resolution was to stop putting things off until the last moment, but here I am, trying to meet your deadline. This check represents four hours of my alter-school labor at $2.65 an hour."
With a check for $5 - "For the hospital with the built-in deficit. My husband and I are grad students and I have to worry about our built-in deficit, too."
With a check for $5 - "We are in our late 70s and wish we could send more."
With a check for $50 - "This is from a mother who once wasn't able to pay for her son's care at Children's Hospital.
With a check for $150 - "This is contribution is in memory of my father, who was the kind of doctor who made house calls. He didn't make much money, but he made a lot of friends."
With a check for $25 - "It's great to be alive. I, too, had a triple bypass."
With 70 Mexican pesos ($3.08): "I am enclosing 60 Mexican pesos." One of us doesn't know how to add cincuenta, diezy diez, amigo.
With a check for $25 - "In appreciation for the caroling of the Quesada Street Carolers, who came to Presbyterian Home to sing for us."
With a check for $25 - "Our son was returned to us from dying, and we will be forever grateful. Perhaps this check will help Childrens' Hospital return another child from a similar situation."
With a check for $21 - "A dollar a year is a poor pay, but this check is for your helping to start my day off right for 21 years."
With a check for $50 - "Sorry to be so late with this, but if you hadn't kept nagging I wouldn't have sent it in at all. I don't even like children." Yeah, I know. I don't either.
With a check for $50 - "Our neighbor has been using his tractor to keep our driveways clear of snow. He won't accept payment and says if his services are worth anything we can send a check to Childrens' Hospital."
With a check for $50 - "I am sending this as a thank-you for the heart surgery that has, in the past year, changed the life of a loved grandnephew from that of a child destined for constant illness to that of a normal, healthy boy."
With a check for $20 - "We have been holding off mailing this until our bank balance looked a little healthier. We owe Childrens' Hospital a lifetime debt of gratitude for pulling our daughter through in 1957."
With a check for $30 - "Between snow and sick kids at home, I didn't get out to collect for the hospital this year, so to ease my guilt a little I am sending you more than I collected from the whole block last year."
With a check for $35 - "The hospital's thank-you cards are lovely, but they cost money and postage.Tell them not to acknowledge this." Thanks, pal. Yours is a double gift.
With a check for $200 - "There are a hundred reasons why I should send this to you, but one is enough: I can spare it and the hospital needs it."
With a check for $15 - "This is in memory of the dog I got through your column when I was in the first grade. She died when I was in graduate school."
With a check for $50 from a professor at Purdue: "I am sending this to you because you used to make my mother so happy by wishing me a happy birthday each year."
With a check for $10 - "Of course you'll reach $200,000."
If I do, some to the credit will have to go to the Childrens' Hospital Committee at a local radio station you never listen to: WAMU-AM. The American University's FM station is familiar to many District Liners, but its AM signal doesn't go out on the broadcast band; it is confined to the campus. WAMU's impact there can best be judged by the one contribution that didn't come in by mail. When I dropped by to visit the young broadcasters, they handed me $2,641 they had raised.
So by golly we did pass $200,000. Twenty of today's letters were from groups, and I will report on them on Monday.The other 165 were checks from anonymous individuals in the amount of $3,646.45, bringing today's total of $6,287.45. Having started the day with $194,072.35, we now have $200,359.80 in the shoebox - a final report coming up on Monday.