Shrugging off the exhaustion of a 100-party weekend, Inaugural Washington pulled its furs back on yesterday and dashed once more into tight-scheduled celebration. Intimate it was not, as 8,000 Distinguished Ladies were feted at the Kennedy Center, Vice President-elect Bush and his family made 15,000 new acquaintances at a museum on the Mall and the scent of 1,000 bratwurst floated elsewhere over commingled ladies and gentlemen of the presidential transition. Gala, it was.
Nancy Reagan was late, but they had already started the show at the Inaugural Committee's reception yesterday afternoon at the State Department fokr senior and handicapped citizens who worked in the campaign.
Ginger Rogers had to ad lib at the microphone.
"Are you going to have trouble saying President Reagan?" asked emcee/former ambassador Mark Evans.
"Oh, no," said Rogers, who made the movie "Storm Warning" with Reagan. "I remember I was on the same floor when Jimmy Stewart won his Academy Award. So we were both recipients of Academy Awards. But he was still the same fellow who came and dated me."
The several hundred guests laughed. Virginia Mayo -- who made two movies with Ronald Reagan -- was there. And Jimmy Stewart stood a few feet away, neat in blue blazer and maroon sweater over shirt and tie, hands clasped in front of him.
"Oh, oh," said Evans. "Wanna talk about that?"
"Oh, he was a marvelous date," Rogers said.
"Big spender?" asked Evans.
"Oh yeah," she said."I got a steak and some French fried potatoes and a kiss when he took me home. Remember that kiss?"
Stewart nodded, mouthed yes over the laughter, then chuckled. Hands still clasped.
"You're turning red!" said Ginger Rogers.
The stars were mobbed by autograph seekers. "I remember Reagan and I went to Europe together with a group of American actors making a royal command performance," said Virginia Mayo. "And of course, he was the spokesman for the group. That's what he was good at -- making speeches. No one could compare. But it was never in our minds that he would run for president. We used to do stills together, go down to the beach together."
Soon, after Mrs. Reagan left, Ginger Rogers slipped out, escorted by Rep. Robert McClory (R-Ill.). After a while, the crowd dwindled down. Jimmy Stewart was still autographing programs thrust at him.