Jimmy Dulin lifted the blue jacket off its hanger and carefully slipped it on.
"This is the coat I wore 70 years ago," he said with an impish grin.
"And this," he said, as he unsheathed a silver sword, "is the saber I carried on the field."
Friffith Field, May 19, 1909. For the 71 boys in Business High School Cadet Company E, it was a day to remember.
That was the day that Company E, led by 17-year-old Captain James C. Dulin, marched to victory in the annual Washington High School Cadet Corps Competitive Drill. It was the first time that a team from Business High had won the prestigious competition.
Of the 71 boys who drilled that day only a dozen survive. Of those, five gathered with their families recently in Dulin's Northwest Washington home for Company E's 70th reunion.
"It was pandemonium," remembered Leon F. Cooper, 85, a retired lawyer who lives in Potomac. "When the regimental adjutant stopped and saluted Jimmy," indicating that his company had won the boys in the company "all threw their hats up."
Cooper, who was a private in Dulin's company, continued in the cadets for the next four years, becoming company captain in 1912. He later attended Georgetown Law School at night, graduating in 1915, and worked as a tax lawyer for the Justice Department from 1934 to 1961.
"I might have missed one or two because I was sick or something," Cooper said, but he has done his best to attend all of the reunions, which were held annually from 1910 to 1916 and have been held every five years since 1924 or 1929 (no one seems to remember which).
The reason he keeps on coming is simple: "I like to talk to Jimmy."*tDulin "was the big mogul. He was really something, and he is yet, as far as I'm concerned," said Jerry P. Johnson, 85, who drove from Arlington, Tex., with his wife and two stepdaughters to attend the affair.
Johnson, who also was a private in Dulin's company, worked for 40 years for Merchant's Refrigerated Warehouses a Washington cold storage firm. He moved to Texas in 1959 to become a warehouse consultant for the Great Southwest Corporation.
After retiring in 1964 at the age of 70, Johnson did volunteer work for the American Association of Retired Persons from 1966 to 1976, serving as president of Chapter 7, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Arkansas.
"It was the happiest time in my life," said Francis Moore, who lives in Chevy Chase and for the past 28 years has operated a cattle farm near Frederick.
Moore, who worked for 15 years as the secretary of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and then served for 10 years as vice president of the Savings and loan Foundation, was a sergeant in Company E and later served as a lieutenant in the Army during World War I.
He came to the reunion, he said, because it afforded him the opportunity of "being able to fraternizd with a wonderful group of men - men of fine character."
Another of the "men of fine character" was Charles Sidney Forbes, 87, a retired government lawyer who lives in Chevy Chase.
Forbes, who also was a private in 1909 and who has attended every reunion since 1914, put in only a brief appearance this year because his wife, Romona, a teacher at the National Cathedral School, had to sing in a concert at the National Cathedral that afternoon and he was one of the ushers.
But back to Jimmy.
Dulin left school the year of his victory because of illness in his family. He got a job as a runner for American Security and Trust, attended Georgetown Law School and received his degree in 1913. He stayed with the firm until 1940, serving his last six years as treasurer.
Being a cadet and the captain of a winning cadet company, played a very important part in his life, he said.
"It instilled in me leadership and personality. It told me that if you make up your mind to do something, you can succeed."
One of the things he hasn't succeeded in, though, is retiring. "I retired (from American Security) in 1940 and I opened a law office the next day . . . I've been trying to get out of it for the last 20 years," he said jokingly.
He still practices law and he also is on the national board of Goodwill Industries, a seat he has held since 1935, when he helped organize the Washington bureau of Goodwill. He served as local treasurer of Goodwill from 1935 to 1946 and as local president from 1946 to 1960.
He continues to hold the reunions, he said, because "I get a big lift out of them - it's a renewal of friendships."
Asked how the 70th stacked up to previous reunions, Dulin thought a moment.
"Typical . . . only there's less people," he concluded somewhat sadly. CAPTION: Picture, Leon F. Cooper, Charles Sidney Forbes and James Dulin telephone a former fellow cadet. By Vanessa Barnes - The Washington Post