Nobody yet knows whether Lee Hart is going to hit the chicken salad circuit as an after-luncheon speaker, but she has told friends here that she is giving it some very serious thought. If she does, she wants to speak on what she calls her "involvement in politics."
Friends have told her that her "involvement in politics" is all well and good, but that her audiences will be more interested in hearing what she thinks about Gary Hart's involvement with Donna Rice. These friends counsel that if Lee does sign on the dotted line she had better be prepared for some personal questions from the floor. And Lee's reaction to that?
"She didn't say anything," said one friend.
A former teacher who sold real estate while her husband was in the Senate, Lee Hart reportedly wants to be "more creative" in her future career moves.
"I don't think it's any lifetime career," said the friend about the lecture circuit idea. "They need money."
She has danced her way onto front pages and magazine covers doing everything from the flamenco to the fox trot, but when it came to waltzing, Nancy Reagan had Ford's Theatre's Frankie Hewitt believing that she was one step away from wallflower class.
That would never do, of course, so Hewitt, perfectionist producer that she is, set up a practice session at the White House only hours before the first lady (known as "Foxtrot" in Secret Service circles) and her dancing partner Mikhail Baryshnikov were scheduled to waltz their way across the stage at the annual Ford's Theatre Gala last week. In the East Room, with Sammy Cahn singing the new lyrics he wrote to "Real Live Girl" for the occasion, Mrs. Reagan proved to be more twinkle-toed than she thought.
That night Foxtrot's glide with Baryshnikov was so smooth that her usual dancing partner was admittedly envious.
President Reagan quipped to Hewitt later that if he had gone on stage to cut in -- an idea that had been considered at one point -- "I'd have cut in on Nancy so I could dance with Baryshnikov."
Six years after a committee of three in a little-known organization called Four-One-One, a national clearinghouse for volunteers, unanimously voted President Reagan its first Distinguished Volunteer Leadership Award, he is scheduled to receive it at last.
Not in a razzle-dazzle East Room ceremony, like the one going on today when Reagan presents the President's 1987 Volunteer Action Awards to 18 individuals and corporations, but in a scaled-down Oval Office presentation by a committee of one two days later, with no press present.
That lack of attention no longer bothers Four-One-One founder and president Harriet Clyde Kipps of Annandale, who has literally lived with the award in her dining room since 1984, when its handcrafted cabinet, made of inlaid walnut from Reagan's ancestral home of Ballyporeen, Ireland, first arrived from County Cork.
Unlike ACTION, the federal agency for volunteer service, and its awards cosponsor VOLUNTEER, the National Center for Citizen Involvement, with 250 centers around the country, Four-One-One is small -- perhaps too small by some White House standards -- with only about 400 volunteers manning regional data banks.
Kipps, a veteran of the Johnson-era poverty program and the Nixon administration's National Center for Voluntary Action and editor of the Community Resources Directory, says she negotiated with the White House for years but couldn't get a ceremony scheduled. She says she finally just wants Reagan to have the award, which recognizes his support of volunteerism. "It's a campaign promise he certainly tried to keep," she says.
So it is that on Thursday the president will receive the award and its cabinet, painstakingly made and donated by Martyn Orrom of County Cork. With it will be a golden key on a chain enabling Nancy Reagan to wear "a little of her husband's heritage close to her heart," according to Kipps.
The award itself features a large lucite "V" set with the bronze seals of the three states -- Illinois, Iowa and California -- that figured prominently in Reagan's life (though not the Presidential Seal, since to have had that struck would have cost $7,000 and wiped out Four-One-One's annual budget).
But for no extra charge, Four-One-One decided to update the award so that it now reads "1981-1988," spanning Reagan's entire eight years in office.
Kipps said she had suggested that Reagan get the Four-One-One award during today's ceremony, but was told that would take away attention from the Volunteer Action Award recipients.
Hannelore Kohl, wife of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, became the first German to receive the USO International Service Award at ceremonies held last night at Fort McNair, where two other principals were Nancy Reagan, who dropped by to present it, and Henry Kissinger, who interpreted its meaning.
At a press luncheon earlier given by Karl T. Paschke, deputy chief of mission, and his wife Pia-Irene, Mrs. Kohl deftly steered clear of political discussions and laughingly denied that she influences her husband. If wives of world leaders are increasingly more visible and outspoken about their own causes and concerns, she said, she thinks it's partly because the women's rights movement showed them they are individuals who have the right to say what they think.
On German-American relations, she was more loquacious, citing some 150,000 German-American marriages in the 40 years during which more than 10 million U.S. soldiers and their families have been stationed in West Germany.
Besides her official appearances, Mrs. Kohl has been on a round of outings since she arrived here Friday, including one to Wolf Trap, where she watched the New York City Opera production of "The Student Prince" Saturday night. She said she wished she could have asked her aunt Ilse Marvenga, who lives in Eatontown, N.J., to join her, but couldn't because the 91-year-old woman is too frail. In the mid-'20s, Marvenga, a soprano from Bremen, sang the role of Kathie more than 500 times.
"I heard her because we had the discs," Mrs. Kohl said.