From 1948 through 1973, Bob Montgomery was one of the printers who "made up" this page. Bob is an old Navy man. After he read my report on Navy contributions to Children's Hospital, he sent me a letter that said:
"How come my abacus overheated and came up with $19,747.24 from the good old Navy -- $85 more than your abacus showed" When I made up the comic pages for you, your abacus was always right."
Oh, dear! The one claim to fame my abacus could make was that it had tallied the daily fund drive receipts for about 30 years without ever having made a mistake. Had Bob Montgomery really caught it in an error?
I dug out Friday's tally sheet.One quick look at it told the story. Friday's column had reported the receipt of $85 from the Tri-Service Medical Information System, but I had failed to list the $85 on the tally sheet for Friday.
Alas! An abacus cannot add what it doesn't know about, so don't blame the abacus, blame me. The Navy's total for this campaign must indeed by revised to $19,747.24.
To correct our count on the total amount now in the shoebox, we must also add $85 to the $158,182.96 previously reported, and this gives us a revised total of $158,267.96.
Now we can go on to a tally of new gifts -- and perhaps get them right.
We begin with $7.06 from Cadette Girl Scout Troop 563. Then we add $22 from Fifth and Sixth Graders in Longbranch Elementary School, Arlington. Also $25 from the Good Neighbors Club of Fifth Street NW.
Only a cad would reveal a woman's age, but I must risk censure to report that four females aged 5, 8, 9 and 10 wrote me a letter that said, "Our club, the katydids, has earned this 30 $ for Children's Hospital. We earned it by selling stocking stuffers and ornaments, Christmas cards and New Year's decorations. We also got a lot of donations. We hope this money will help the sick children."
"Several 'girls' in their 60s and 70s who used to have a terrible time buying gifts for each other that they didn't need" solved their problem by sending me $40. The Divison of International Education in the U.S. Office of Education raised $66. The Comptroller's Office at the (shhh!) Child Improvement Agency rounded up $100 that you won't find listed in Mr. Carter's budget. The Internal Affairs Division of the metropolitan Police Department, which is almost as shhh! as the CIA, declined to exchange $135 worth of intramural holiday cards.
The notary public in Silver Spring's Fairway Pharmacy doesn't charge for his services. He just points to a Childrenhs Hospital jar and says, "Give whatever you wish." At the end of 1978, the jar produced $200.
A letter from Springfield said, "Enclosed are checks totaling $205 from Delta Electronics Inc., Alexandria, as a result of no card exchange." Employees of the Carey Winston Co. raised $231 for The Hospital With the Built-In Deficit at their year-end party.
the National Junior Honor Society at General Smallwood Middle Shool in Indian Head set out to collect "a kilogram of pennies" from each homeroom at the school. The society ended up with more than twice that much: a check for $278.47 plus 77 pennies used to form a wreath on a promotional poster. If that doesn't add up to $279.24 I may be in the market for a new abacus.
The various squads in the Criminal Investigations Division of the metropolitan Police Department are known as branches now, and their combined gift to the hospital this year was a hefty $318. The Robbery Branch accounted for $50 of the total, Sex $77, Administrative $10, Check and Fraud $24, Burglary and Pawn $58, Major Violators $14 and Homicide $85. I do not recall a year on which Homicide failed to lead.
Christmas carolers who sang at the Defense Communications Agency were rewarded with $358.33. "Interpreters, translators, reporters and other staff personnel" of the State Department's Division of Language Services translated $481 of their money into a gift of love for the children.
Matching funds are again involved in a significant gain for the shoebox as today's top honors go to Flow Laboratories and its employees. Members of the Flow Laboratories Employees Association and their corporate boss put together 1,408 lovely dollars for the hospital.
Unless the abacus has sprung another leak, we have tallied $3,905.63 here from 16 groups, and $1,031.40 can be added from 32 unnamed individuals. Today's total is therefore $4,937.03, and the new (and I hope correct) total in the shoebox is $163,204.99.