"I am enclosing a check for $100 for Children's Hospital," says a letter from a Silver Spring woman.
"This money is to be used for the four boys, about age 8, who amuse themselves by standing in the middle of a country road about dusk, waving their arms at cars which come around the curve and diving for the side of the road at the last possible moment. They live on Route 97 near a hamlet named Berrett - but I don't know for how long."
Each time I receive a letter about juveniles who engage in irresponsible conduct, i find myself wondering: "How come everybody in the neighborhood except their own parents knows what these kids are doing?"
I know we live in an era of permissiveness, but I thought the permissiveness doesn't begin until the children are in their late teens. Does the absence of parental supervision relly begin as early as age 8 now, for heaven's sake?
I hope that the Silver Spring woman's letter will come to the notice of the parents of those 8-year-olds, and that several mommies and daddies will sit those little punkin-heads down and explain the facts of life - and death - to them. Children's Hospital doesn't need more customers, it needs more money to try to cure the ones it already has.
And to try to raise some of that money, let's take a look at the incoming mail. We can begin with $7 from "the Burning Tree Bridge Players." Members of George Mason Junior-Senior High School Chapter of Beta Chi Sigma Sorority have scattered to the four winds in recent years, so the chapter's current president (who now lives in Denton, Texas) has sent me the $8 left in the treasury and has declared the chapter extinct. Very sad. There should be a law forbidding the aging and scattering of school chums.
"Employees and the fabulous customers of the 7-Eleven Store on Annapolis Road in Lanham" got up a pool of $46.32 for the hospital. A small neighborhood group named The Cheerios sent me $50.
At the Beech Tree Elementary School in Falls Church, two Sixth Grade classes, a Second Grade class and a Fifth Grade class chipped in $58.23 for less fortunate children.
At the Department of Transportation, the Office of the Secretary, Personnel Operations Division refrained from exchanging $64 worth of intramural gifts. In the Commerce Department's brand new Office of Ocean Resources and Science Policy, $70 worth of cards weren't exchanged. In the Population Division of the Bureau of the Census (which is also part of Commerce), $75.80 worth of in-house cards weren't sent. DOT is also represented twice in today's tally, with the 16 people in the Procurement Operations Division of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation deciding not to send each other 60 per cent more cards than last year.
This brought in a check for $100 and the observation, "If we continue to increase our gift at this same rate every year, we figure we can take care of the entire deficit at the hopsital by ourselves - in 100 years."
The Wednesday morning Ladies Bowling League at Fair Lanes in Marlow Heights also added $100 to the shoebox, and a third $100 arrived from the Resource Management Office of the Army's Office of the Chief of Engineers, where the money was raised from a raffle, a coffee fund surplus and money left over from a Christmas party.
The employees and staff of the Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church took up a collection for the children and were plesed to find $163 in the kitty.
A batch of checks from the Department of State Medical Division won top honors for today, hands down, "Please accept this donation of 040," a nurse wrote in a covering letter. "This was collected in a gold waste can next to the sclae in the Health Unit. As you can see, I am no typist, but we all wanted to help in your worthy cause." I don't see anything wrong with your typing, madam. Any schoolboy knows that $040 is $40 more than $1,000, and a sclae is something on which people find out how overweight they are.Any time you can raise more than a thousand dollars for the children, lady, you can type any darn way you please, and I'll defend you.
Totals: these 13 groups contributed $1,882.35, and 37 individuals (including those reported on but not tallied yesterday) added $1,202.98 to bring today's toal to $3,085.33. Having begun the day with $123,418.08, we now have $131,503.41 in the shoebox.