Yesterday, before God, country and Doonesbury, I declared that the 1982-3 Children's Hospital campaign had officially begun. But it actually began the day the 1981-2 campaign ended.
Ever since mid-January 1982, contributions for the hospital have been arriving, at a steady trickle. As they have gotten here, I have unceremoniously stuffed them into a file folder marked "$$ CHILDREN'S $$." Then, when I exhume the file and open it up, as I have just done, a new campaign is off to a roaring start.
This year's "off-season roar" turns out to have been more than $7,000 worth. Here are the groups that made such a handsome beginning possible:
The Washington Procrastinators Society sent $50. Of course, it meant to send the $50 for the 1981-2 campaign. But you know how it is -- the group decided to put off mailing the check, the way procrastinators always put off doing whatever they're supposed to do.
When club president Jim Harris finally got around to mailing the check, it was May 4. Jim dated his cover letter appropriately. But right above it, he scrawled: "Merry Christmas!"
Just like a procrastinator! Thanks, Jim and your fellow "late-ies." Try for April next year, OK?
On Oct. 23, the Hawaii State Society of Washington held its annual bash. Those who attended were asked to show their "aloha nui" (that's "great love") for children by contributing to a Children's Hospital fund before the mai tais took effect. The total take turned out to be $100. Much obliged, islanders.
Ditto to the Women's Social Club of Deale, Md., which raised $25 at a grab-bag sale. And to Girl Scout Troop 337 of Reston, which contributed $50 that members earned from selling Scout cookies.
From Northern Virginia came three donations of note: $125 from Ship's Hatch, a store in Fairfax; $100 from The Closet, a non-profit clothing store in Herndon, and $132 from my old pals at the Northern Virginia Bridge Association, who found it in their hearts (and spades, clubs and diamonds) to make a collection for the hospital at a charity game held on Sept. 9.
The Independent Order of Foresters (D.C. Chapter) contributed $200. Wheaton Post 268 of the American Legion kicked in another $100. And the Narcotics Section of the Justice Department wasn't satisfied with its earlier gift. It added $5.35 in April. Thanks, one and all.
Four-figure contributions came from the two branches of the Internal Revenue Service's Data Services Division, and from Carnegie's Restaurant of Alexandria.
The IRS folks had their annual picnic Aug. 1, featuring volleyball, softball, horseshoes -- and a dunking booth. The latter went for 10 cents a dunk, which doesn't sound like much. But how does $1,463.10 sound? That was the total take from the booth. The IRSers are probably still wet, but their generosity is warm enough to make up for it. Many thanks -- and special thanks to Janet Crumm, who put the dunking extravaganza together.
Carnegie's was where I nearly spent my last day on this earth last St. Patrick's Day. I agreed to be a judge in an Irish coffee contest the restaurant held for bartenders from all over the area.
Rumor has it that I drove home after it was over. Don't press me. I'm still not sure. I think I flew.
Anyway, general manager Stephen M. Schulman rounded up the pledges by early May and passed along a check for $1,468. Thanks to Steve and all the participants.
This poignant note arrived on Sept. 5, along with a check for