Everything was possible, yesterday.
The most famous was none of them -- all being outgloried by a movie-star wife.
One had been a professional basketball player, but that stopped counting for much as soon as the winning vote was cast.
One was youth, at 26.
One was a very gray freshman at 68.
All were winners, even -- or especially -- the daughter of Alf Landon, whom the country forgot about in hordes in 1936.
There were 77 new members in the House, 20 in the Senate of the 96th Congress, and yesterday was the day they got to eat the bacon they'd brought home on election day. They toasted themselves in benisons of song from a black quintet; in Dr. Pepper, in cheers raised with the last victory speeches of a long, long year now over.
All, of course, will spend less, tax lighter and sweep harder, as new brooms should do, and at the great susurrus of receptions all over the Hill, most still believed it -- except, of course, for the Old and Great Ones who glided in to offer welcomes, and remember the day in their own lives when everything was possible. Henry Allen
Minnesota, land of the big bright necktie and the non-smoking blond, armed half the state with Instamatics yesterday and trooped them through the brand-new offices of Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.).
"All right, I can't complain," Boschwitz would say when they all asked how he was, slipping is hands back into his pockets until the next person licked the bottom of a flash cube and it was picture time again, before they headed inside for the the deviled eggs and the hillock of sliced roast beef on the buffet table.
In his shirt pocket Boschwitz carried a newspaper clipping bearing the picture of his fellow freshmen in the Senate. But they weren't the problem.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get the..."
"Pell, Sen. Claiborne Pell," said Sen. Claiborne Pell, (D-R.I.) but no doubt Sen. Boschwitz felt better after he noticed that Sen. Pell wore no name tag. Then again, neither did Boschwitz.
Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah) was striding right past his new Republican colleague, in fact, when some ancient wisdom informed him that the tall skinny guy in the horn-rimmed glasses and brown plaid suit was to be reckoned with.
"Your're so quiet!" Gran said. "I was wondering, 'Where's the senator?' and there you are !"
Quiet: Well, folks back home would have a laugh about that.
"You should see the ads he ran for his plywood company," said Phil Hansen, a big grin of a Lutheran minister who'd been chairman of People for Boschwitz. "He had one where he wanted to fill in the Mississippi River to bring St. Paul and Minneapolis together. He had another campaign to stop bullfighting in Minnesota and there isn't any, you know."
"He proves that you can start at the bottom and get to the top," said Norma Siverson, who wore a campaign button that said she was supporter No. 2,286.
Boschwitz, as it happens, was born in Germany, left at two, just ahead of the Nazis, came to America, where he grew up to study law which he then abandoned for the plywood business in Minnesota. He earned millions before he, two of his four sons and his wife Ellen cruised down here a year ago October to see if they might like Washington.
Yesterday, Mrs. Boschwitz allowed as how there was less snow here, but "I didn't go out on Friday -- I wasn't sure drivers here know what they're doing in the snow."
Son Tom, 12, guessed he'd miss his golden retrivers, Sample and Curry, most of all. "They need more room to run than we have in Langley," he said.
Well, nobody said Washington was easy, either, especially Sen. Jacob Javits, who stopped by to say hello. Boschwitz told him how interested he was to watch Sen. Robert Byrd maneuver on the Senate floor. The Javits smile never changed. "How about that," he said.