Dimple Martin stood in the doorway of the U Street NW apartment building where she has lived for 30 yers, looking for Marion Barry's inaugural parade to come rolling down the rainslicked streets.
"I'm wating to see the man I put in there," she said with almost fervent anticipation. Barry was the first mayor she had voted for in her 60 years. Then a touch of reserve crept into her voice.
"I hope he'll do some good," she said.
It was just a little after 10 a.m. and the usually busy intersection of Florida Avenue and U Street NW was empty. Traffic had been cleared by District of Columbia police and only a few persons stood in the rain to watch Barry parade up the avenue. Nearby, traffic was snarling and backing up; commuters, some of them falling hours behind their schedules in the maze of detours, were grumbling about the mess the city was getting into because of Barry.
But as the first wedge of police motorcycles, the Cardozo High School marching band and the cars of the mayor and the City Council finally came into view, Martin was worried about more long-term problems.
"God knows we've suffered long enough," she said. "I hope he can clean up the city, get some of those dope addicts off the streets so we won't be afraid to go out or then afraid everything would be gone when we come back...
"He's got to do something about the job problems. Get some of these youngsters off the street who have beeb out here hustling dope so long they're afraid of work. That's what they really need, is jobs."
The parade passed through some of the most blighted and the most flourishing parts of the city: along Florida Avenue and U Street in the midst of upheavals brought on by dislocations and renovations, past storefronts on 14th Street still scarred from the riots of 1968, past huge hotels and tiny pornography shops into the heart of the city.
The few people out on the sidewalks to see Barry, or simply to see the marching bands and dril squads braving the damp, stood in small huddles beneath dripping umbrellas. Most watched from doorways or from windows.
In a Forida Avenue NW building a half dozen people stood in the hallway and looked at the parade through the blur of a rain-streaked glass door.
"They must be tripping to be out in the rain for some foolishness like a new mayor," said Robin Sullivan, a 17-year-old who said she is dropping out of Cardozo High School. "So what if there's a new mayor? It ain't gonna mean nothing for me."
"Ain't nobody out there gonna eat tonight who didn't eat last night just because there is a new mayor," she added. "All of this is just some thing for them people to have fun..."
Sullivan's pessimism was countered by Vernon Miser, a woman who cares for some of the elderly persons in the building.
"I don't know but maybe he can do something, about the ren," said Miser, who was dressed in a yellow housecoat and had a green scarf on her head. "It's the money thing that causes so much of the problem, so if he can get some people some jobs and keep the rents down then maybe he'll be doing something then."
Thelma Acty, who was leaning against the edge of the door listening, suddenly turned away from a marching band that was strutting by and said: "You know what he could do, he could do something about those summer jobs for the kids... the way it was last year if you weren't on welfare your child couldn't get a job."
Along the rainy parade route a class of fourth graders from Adams Community School made up one of Community School made up one of the few clusters of people who stood to watch the city officials and bands pass by.
"The kids are really up on having a new mayor," said the class teacher, Marion Brown. "If he can just set some kind of climate where people think things are getting better, so people think the city government cares, then he'll have accomplished a great deal." he said.
At the corner of 18th and U streets Wilson K. Williams of Fairfax County was waiting for the parade to pass so that he ould cross the sreet.
"I'm looking at a house around the corner on Vernon Street," he said. "I'd here but I'm not sure about the neighborhood. i'm almost to the point of doing it but I'm not certain yet. . . Amrion Barry could clean up this neighborhoo for me. That's what I would like to see from him."
The inaugural parade had to pass by hammering workmen and pickup trucks loaded with wooden beams for houses under renovation as it traveled through the 1700 block of U Street. At the corner of 17th and U, liquor store owner Arnold Hutt said he hopes Barry can do something about the large-scale displacement that has broken up the neighborhood he once knew.
"When I first came here 17 years ago," said Hutt, "Seaton Street was the baddest street in town. Now you've got nobbdy up there. No one at all. They moved nine families out of there about a year ago and they promised they would have them back by now. They aren't here.
"This neighborhood has become cold and transient," he said, "and the people who are coming in -- I don't know who they are but they sure don't buy too much alcohol."
Nearby, at the Discount Supermarket on U Street. Chanz Su Kim, the store owner, said she hoped Barry would create an atmospher for good relations between blacks and Koreans.
". . . We would like to help each other," said the woman whose store is located in an almost all-black neigh-borhood.
At 16th and U streets Barry's parade went by the offices of Pride Inc., the job training agency he helped found in 1967. There was no large crowd there to greet the new mayor.
"We're negotiating our contract with the city now so we don't have any trainees," said Sheila High, who spoke for the agency. "We'll be negotiating our contract with Marion Barry that's right, and until then there won't be any trainees around."
Barry's former wife, Mary Tread-well, who now heads Pride Inc., said she didn't see the parade.
"At this point it's too late to speculate as to how Marion will do as mayor," she said. "We'll just have to see from today on."
On the front of Pride's building was the legend, "The World Belongs to Those Who Prepare for It," and a sign --in red, black and green -- "You've come a long way, Marion. You've a long way to go, Mr. Mayor."
As the high-stepping Cardozo marching band approached 17th and U streets NW, where the aftermath of 1968 can still be felt, they launched into "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
At 14th U the parade turned down 14th Street and headed for the District Building. The usual cluster of idle men and women stood in doorways smoking cigarettes and carefully watching the large complement of policemen who dotted the parade route. That area of the city is known for drug deals, illegal dice games and prostitutes.
"Drugs are the main asset around here," Clarence Simms, who runs the pool hall at 14th and S streets, said yesterday. "Using it, smoking it, snorting it and everything else they can do with it. Usually you see them around here like flies, talking to each other and making deals. If Barry could do something to stop that so you wouldn't have to be watching your back all the time and afraid to go out after dark them he'd be saying something. I'd like to see him open up some of those boarded-up houses too so people could have a place to live.
"It's so bad around here now," Simms said, turning to look at five pool tables that had balls neatly racked on them, "that nobody comes in here to shoot pool too much anymore. Only people around here are interested in drugs, that's all."
In front of the Aries restaurant on 14th Street a half dozen men stood in the doorway talking about which numbers they should play in the illegal numbers game.
A reporter asked one of them if the new mayor would mean a change ofr the city he knows.
"Marion Barry," he said. "What letter of the alphabet is M... the 13th. And B is the second. One-thirty-two. I got to play that for my new mayor."