Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Gloria Steinem couldn't make it. Bella Abzug didn't show, although her hat went on the block in a charity auction. And although Judy Goldsmith, vice president of NOW (National Organization for Women), kicked off Sunday night's ERA benefit in the stifling Washington Armory with a rousing, "No other single group has more fun than feminists," it was obvious that most of the overwhelmingly female crowd - some still in their whites from the march earlier in the day - was just glad to get off its collective feet.
The benefit, featuring the auction and folk music by feminist singer Margie Adam, didn't get under way until 9:30 p.m., an hour and a half later than expected. "We never expected so many at the march," Eleanor Smeal, president of NOW, said. "We only had two weeks to organize the party, and I won't be disappointed no matter how few come."
The armory, festooned with blue plastic streamers, never held more than 400 during the evening. The organizers had hoped for 1,500.
And some thought the $10 ticket may have kept more than a few away. "This is a benefit," Smeal said."Do you know how much this place costs?"
But Allard Lowenstein, special representative to the United Nations and an unannounced candidate for Congress from New York, came and had to leave, as did Angel Tompkins, the actress who had flown in from California for the march and who flew out again Sunday night.
Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.), cosponsor of the House bill to extend the time limit for passage of ERA, told the crowd that they had to "see your congressman tomorrow: Courage is not something you find an abundance of in an election year." And presidential assistant Midge Costanza told the cheering audience. "We won't achieve full equality with men until they appoint mediocre women to high positions."
Costanza went on to say that, dressed in her whites, "Three people thought I was a doctor." She ended by saying that "I wanted to make bookends out of [anti-ERA leader] Phyllis Schafly and Anita Bryant, and Liz Carpenter told me she had just the book to put between them - 'Mein Kampf.'"
It was a genial meeting. The feeling of success from Sunday's march appeared to bind the crowd together through endless listing of names and contributors.
Perhaps the most tired of all the marchers who made it to the armory Sunday night was 8-month-old E.R.A. McCarthy, who had been carried the full length of the march by her mother, Judy McCarthy of Phoenix, Ariz.
McCarthy had a large color portrait of her child that had been signed by Costanza, Steinem, actress Marlo Thomas and other activist luminaries in attendance and not in attendance Sunday night.
"I want to auction it off in Phoenix," McCarthy said of the picture. "One of her bonnets already brought $25 there."
"She's sunburned," said one woman.
"She's been sunburned three times for equal rights," McCarthy said. Just then young E.R.A. cried.
"Hush," McCarthy said to her baby daughter. "We won today."