The answer has to be "No!" A let-down now could be disastrous. After yesterday's thrilling triumph of generosity from the U.S. Navy, our unofficial goal of exceeding last year's total suddenly looks very possible.
So, let me join all District Liners in once again silently thanking the participating Naval employees who have done so much year after year to help the children. Their 1980 total of $20,123.62 established a new annual high water mark, broke the previous record, and set the standard for next year's Navy effort.
Last year many of the same offices and "commands," along with a few strays, produced a satisfying Navy total of $19,662.24.
Yesterday's reported figure for total Naval contributions could have been even higher if I had known then what I know now. For instance, Bill always listed units of the Ladies Auxiliary Fleet Reserve Association within his Navy column. And one of the very first contributions I received for The Hospital missed the boat yesterday.
On Dec. 3, 1979, the first day of the current fund-campaign, a letter squeezed through the rusty and underused pipeline and into my waiting arms. But it was from a naval facility, something to save for later.
I goofed yesterday, but the future is now. That first day check for $16 came from the members of the Communications Center at the Naval Surface Weapons Center in White Oak. They raised the money by frequent swearing, at a penalty of one cent per cuss word.
Another Navy group, the bowlers in the NAVSEA Woodchoppers Bowling League, forwarded their gift of $22 just hours too late to make the Navy roster. If you want to add the keglers' total to your Navy figure, feel free.
The Ki-Wives of Prince George's County, a small organization of about 26 members, sent their first check ever to our fund-raiser -- $25 to initiate a perpetual tradition of providing funds so that children of every race, sex, or creed, regardless of financial status can have access to the finest pediatric care available.
The employees of S.W.A.T. sent a check for $25 to Children's via this column. The organization name translates to "Specialists With A Trade." The respondent suggested that I was doing a splendid job on the column, but what I really needed was another 40 years of experience.
Eleven checks totaling $70 represented the neighborhood spirit that exists along the 7900 block of 25th Ave. in Adelphi. Now that's a classic example of an "informal group."
"I am happy once more to send you a contribution from the customers, employees and executives of Dockside Sales Inc." began our next letter. Inside the envelope were two checks totaling $121.50 for the hospital.
Springfield employees of Tymshare Inc gathered their usual volume of support before settling on a figure of $177. The contributors hoped "that these checks will help in reaching this year's goal."
Runaway top honors for today go directly to the guys and gals at the U.S. International Trade Commission. They surpassed their previous record, and finally quit soliciting their friends a few days ago. Total value of the deal: $670.62.
These eight organizations arriving today, the final calendar day of our Children's Hospital fund-raiser, brought along $1,127.12 worth of medical help for needy children.
That total was nicely complimented by the unexpected appearence of 46 letters from anonymous District Liners seeking to aid the hospital.
Included within those letters was a total of $1,204.42. Contributions range in amount from $5 to $200, with a few odd amounts thrown in.
A check for $40.42 came from a very enthusiastic fan of the two columnists who appear on this page. She wrote:
"I love Bill and have enjoyed his District Line column for an unknown number of years."
"This year I love you, too, I especially like the name chosen for the column."
"My thanks to both of you come with this gift. The amount rounds off Saturday's total."
Saturday's total, you will recall, was $169,659.58.
The cordless abacus is still warm from yesterday's workout, so let's use it again. Organizations at $1,127.12 plus individual contributions equalling $1,204.42 adds up to $2,331.54 for today. Yesterday we jumped to $193,813.02 so right now the shoe box holds $196,144.56.
The letters tallied today were all post marked between Jan. 23 and Jan. 27. If you mail your contribution before noon on Thursday it will still be included in this year's fund raiser. Please make your check payable to Children's Hospital, and send it to: Scott Chase, c/o Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20071.
We still have mother Bell's legions to tabulate. They should push us very close to our goal. Help from District Liner's will carry us beyond it. v