Saturday, June 4, was a big day for William F. Malkowski and his family.
As a matter of fact, it was an even more exciting day than they had anticipated.
Months before, daughter Lorraine Malkowski had sent out announcements that at 12:30 p.m. on June 4 she and printer Robert Kline would be married in the chapel at Bolling AFB.
In the ensuing weeks, endless arrangements and preparations had been made. Now it was finally June 3, the day before the wedding, and out-ot-town friends and relatives were already arriving from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Everything was in readiness for the big event.
Well, almost everything. There was still no wedding license.
So on Friday, June 3, Lorraine and her father set out for the District's license bureau. But they got a late start, traffic was heavy that afternoon, they weren't sure just where they were supposed to go - and when they finally arrived at the right place, the office had just closed.
Shut. Tight. Come back Monday.
Monday? The wedding was scheduled for the next day, Saturday. What to do, what to do?
There was no choice except to come back early Saturday morning to see whether there might be some way out of the predicament. So shortly after 8 o'clock on her wedding morning. Lorraine was back at the license bureau.
Fortunately for her, the first person she encountered was Lt. William H. Ladson of the guard force that functions under the District's Department of General Services.
Ladson is the kind of person who always has the time and patience to try to help people. He listened sympathetically, then explained that there might be a way to get a license issued if authorization could be obtained from a judge or from one of the top functionaries of the court.
At 8:20 a.m., Ernest Bailey arrived at his office. He's the assistant executive officer of the court, and Lt. Ladson immediately briefed him on the crisis. Bailey nodded and got on the phone to try to reach somebody in authority.
On a beautiful weekend morning in June, that's easier said than done. People go out to play tennis or golf. Many leave town for the weekend. But on his third call, Bailey found Robert T. Nash at his home in Hyattsville. Nash is the chief deputy clerk of the license bureau, and he didn't need any persuading.
"Stand by," Nash said. "I'll be down there as soon as I can."
Nash arrived at 10:30 a.m., typed up the papers himself, and the Malkowskis dashed for their home in Temple Hills. It was just after 11 when they arrived there and Lorraine began changing into her wedding gown.
Now the question was whether a bride can dress for her wedding in an hour - and Lorraine proved that it can be done.
At 12:29 p.m., the bride and her family walked into the chapel at Bolling AFB. At 12:30, the ceremony began, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kline have lived happily ever after.
When it was all over, the father of the bride said to me, "Now that the excitement has abated a little, we're being struck by the full impact of the fix we were in that Saturday morning. I don't know what we'd have done if all those beautiful people hadn't put themselves out to help us. They were wonderful." But that's no news to District Liners. We'veknown for years that people are nicer than anybody.