There were all sorts of things to celebrate last night at Wolf Trap's kickoff for its miraculously put-together 1982 season. Fund-raising efforts to rebuild the fire-ravaged Filene Center topped the $1 million mark. Wolf Trap founder Kay Shouse turned 86. And Virginia Gov. Charles Robb arrived on time from the Emporia, Va., Pork Festival.
"I'm not even sure I have everything on," said Robb, quickly straightening his tie, as an overanxious reporter led him by the hand to Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for a photograph. "Just an hour ago I was half-naked on the airfield in Emporia, changing my clothes. Do I look all right?"
Wolf Trap Farm Park launched its 11th season last night at the foot of the Washington Monument, in a twinkly black-tie affair dotted with about 500 of this area's illustrious politicians and glamour class. Shouse, hospitalized with a broken hip, missed the festivities. Because of the April 4 fire, the annual gala was moved to the sprawling Presidential Park. Across the street, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band played the first concert of the season at DAR Constitution Hall.
Ladies in thin silk dresses and immobile hairdos seemed undaunted by the steady stream of clacking rush-hour traffic and curious pedestrians. Yellow candles shimmering in sterling candelabra set along the length of the buffet provided a touch of elegance, while a romantic violin quartet played "Camelot." A very large yellow-and-white-striped tent provided a tad of privacy.
The soft ground posed somewhat of a problem, however,
"It's just awful," said socialite Margaret Hodges, pulling the slim heel of her black pump out of the mud.
It was a crowd short on administration officials--most of whom are with the president in Europe--but long on Virginians. Understandably, the Robbs were a big hit. "People don't know this, but my parents were very instrumental in starting up Wolf Trap," beamed Lynda Robb, who arrived about a half hour before her husband and worked the crowd like a true politician. "In fact, my mother turned the first spade back in 1967."
Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), whose estranged wife, Elizabeth Taylor, organized several previous Wolf Trap galas, was cohost of the event. And for all those who have been desperate to know: He is not planning to marry Rose Marie Bogley, a longtime friend.
"I'm not going to even answer that," said Warner, slightly exasperated, but in good humor. "I am still married to Elizabeth. There has been no move to seek a divorce. I am totally absorbed in the U.S. Senate. I am not having a liaison with anybody!"
Does that by any chance mean there is a reconciliation in the wings?
Further exasperated but still smiling, the senator shot back: "NO COMMENT!"
Sandra Day O'Connor, who so far has attended two Wolf Trap benefits but no concerts, made her debut on Washington's black-tie circuit last September at the Wolf Trap Ball. At the ball she won the door prize--a trip to Morocco. She says she hasn't decided if she'll be going to Morocco. But she would like to attend a concert at Wolf Trap.
The ailing Shouse asked Ursula Meese to take her place at the party as cohost with Warner. "She's very disappointed," said Meese, whose husband Edwin, the presidential counselor, is among those in Europe. "This is the first one she's missed in years, and it's been a hard few months."
Tickets for the dinner-concert package ranged from $35 to $1,000. For the heftier prices, guests got to eat lemon chicken and fluffy strawberry mousse served on gold-rimmed china and canary tablecloths. A rainbow bouquet of daisies and carnations decorated each table. They also had the opportunity to sit near any number of luminaries--Meese, Swedish Ambassador Wilhelm Wachtmeister and Countess Ulla Wachtmeister, Nancy Clark Reynolds, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.).
Meanwhile, across the field, about 100 formally attired patrons celebrated in a decidedly less formal fashion. For $50 and minus the tent, black-tie waiters and violin accompaniment, some dined on Ridgewell's cold fillet, bean salad, croissants, wine and cheese out of white cardboard containers. And others brought their own food, sterling candelabra and French pa te'.
"Our food is better than anything Ridgewell's could serve," said Loni Lanfield, elegantly dressed and standing in front of a mountain of pa te'.
"And we always have more fun," piped in another woman who begged anonymity. "Please, I'm on the Wolf Trap board."