If you were giving money last night, which everyone was, you would have said the Navy beat the women. Easy.
Like $50,000 to $850. Or, dollar for dollar, almost 60 to 1.
But nobody was keeping score. In fact, the activists who attended the Women for Peace fund-raiser at the Mott House and the officers who went to the naval charity ball at the Washington Hilton probably didn't know the other event was even happening.
Which isn't surprising, considering that the two money-collecting affairs were miles and minds apart.
At the women's gathering, two guitarists called "The Fourth Wall" sang songs with lines like "The cop is in and it's another one you can't eat/Because it's been poisoned by a radioactive leak . . ."
And at the Navy Relief Society charity ball, a bunch of singers called "Country Current" sang songs with lines like "You ain't just a-whistling Dixie/You ain't just slapping your knee . . ."
The activists assembled first. Their fund-raising site philanthropist Stewart Mott's house on Capitol Hill, the very in vogue place to raise money and challenge the status quo.
Which is what they did over wine, cheese, salami and the anti-nuclear buttons they wore. "Our job," said Benjamin Spock, the baby doctor turned activist, "is to keep reminding people," and here he thundered "to never trust the government." Everyone, all 50 or so, applauded.
Spock, now 76, white-haired semi-bald but healthily bearded, had come all the way from Beaver Lake in Arkansas to help raise money for the group that supports international disarmament. Beaver Lake, he told anyone interested, is near Bull Shoals Lake, a name he thinks is just superb. "I would love to be able to say I lived on Bull Shoals Lake," he sighed.
The women's fund-raiser served as a Friday after-work kickoff for today's planned anti-nuclear demonstration at the White House.
But if it was Friday, TGIF it wasn't. Instead of let's-get-together-for-tennis-this-weekend, the fund raisers talked Strontium 90 and radioactivity.
The grand matriarch of these activists was Dagmar Wilson, the angry PTA mother who picked up her Georgetown telephone in 1961 to tell a few friends about the radioactivity in her children's milk, eighteen years later, she calls herself "the instigator" of a movement that claims half a million members and helped get a partial ban on above-ground nuclear testing.
Wilson darted in and out among the guests, who included City Councilwoman Hilda Mason, and later passed a brown wicker basket around for money.
The basket moved from hand to hand, most of them belonging to young professional women who wore jeans skirts and wool suits, respectively. One college student talked about brown rice and back-packing in Nova Scotia; one young man with a red beard to mid-belly talked about a communal farm in Tennessee. And Spock, still the baby-book clebrity, talked to his fans.
"Let me just shake your hand," said Gloria Green, an early supporter of Women Striker for Peace. "You might have been permissive, but what you wrote was really a guide -- a guide on how to handle those little things that were so foreign to us."
"I was never permissive," answered Spock. "That was just what Spiro Agnew said."
Several hours later, the Navy benefit was well under way. The International Ballroom of the Hilton was full of scotch, bourbon, soda, silver sequins, puffy hairdos, low-cut filmy creations in every color, black ties and medals, medals everwhere.
When boom. Suddenly, a phalanax of drums came marching with the Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. The lights dimmed, the maestro jumped atop a metal stand and cried 'Corps! Bugles! Play"
And there it was, "Anchors Aweigh." The 1,600 officers, wives and friends jumped to their feet. A lot of them stood at solemn attention. At least one woman held her ears.
"Sort of loud, " said one officer who wouldn't identify hemself.
The ball is the annual social to-do of the Navy and serves to provide money for needy Navy families. It also serves as a forum to catch up on gossip among friends who move a lot and so haven't seen each other in years.
"It's a very high ranking frat party," said Louis Sardosdy, a rear admiral. "Just a hell of a lot of fun."
"We've really loosened up," said Adm. Thomas Hayward, the chief of naval operations, who is number one in the Navy.
"The girls do this because it's their bag," said Don Morency, national vice president of the Navy League of the United States. "It's their thrust in life. It's their contribution to their husbands' dedication."
Said one of the women: "It's a night away from the kids."