Developments during the year illuminated personalities as varied and interesting as the events that brought them to public notice. An old Washington pol failed in his comeback attempt but rose above the political fray to call for unity. A computer error became an election issue. A former Atlantic City bathing beauty helped sell Washington to the nation. A fairy tale wedding brought one woman relief from public assistance, and hope to a depressed community. A local "Starsky and Hutch" anti-crime team helped bind a Southeast neighborhood together. A District lawyer completed his first century and a young woman launched her dream career.
Last January, local psychic Madam Freddie B. Jones predicted that unemployment would run high in 1982 but would improve toward year's end; President Reagan would realize his economic policies were not working and relax them, sending quite a few people back to work.
Madam Freddie said it would take a miracle to re-elect Marion Barry and predicted that a white, or "white-looking" mayor would be elected instead.
In retrospect, Madam Freddie maintains that although Barry won, the election was still very close and that she was on target about some things, including the drop in interest rates and difficulty in the schools.
For 1983, Madame Freddie said things will look dark around the first of the year until late in the spring when jobs will open up. She foresaw personnel changes in the Barry administration; a renewed fight between Congress and the President on jobs; an initial easing of tensions in the Middle East before new flareups, probably in Lebanon. Americans will begin going back to church and turn themselves toward God, she added.
Erstwhile City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker hummed and hawed about whether he would run for office, and for which office. Dismissing the idea of running for mayor a second time, he flirted with the thought of seeking an at-large Council seat then finally became a late entrant in the race for the council chairmanship. Despite early poll results that gave him the lead, Tucker lost to Councilman David Clarke but went out with a statesmanlike gesture, calling for racial, ethnic and political unity among the District's citizens.
In April, Mary Wade of Seventh Street NW, whose water bills had averaged about $28, received an invoice for $14,985.90. Wade's bill was used by Mayoral hopeful John Ray as an example of the mismanagement by the Barry Administration.
Wade said she received a corrected water bill for $105.74, but after paying it was informed that she had been overcharged. She received a credit for $39.79. Wade said she kept the $14,985.90 bill as a souvenir.
In the category of injuries in the line of duty, Ward 3 delegate to the constitutional convention Gloria Corn was grabbed by the shoulders by a fellow delegate, Richard Brunning of Ward 1, during one of the more acrimonious sessions. In the midst of a shouting match over a procedural move by convention president Charles I. Cassell, Brunning attempted to force Corn, who often played the role of gadfly in the convention, to sit down and be quiet.
Corn said last week that the incident exacerbated an existing back ailment, and made it necessary for her to wear a steel brace for six weeks.
Lenora Pennypacker, 79, a grey-haired former bathing suit model now a Georgetown babysitter, told America that "Washington is a Capital City," in the television ad campaign designed to promote tourism in the District. The ad was part of the $100,000 media blitz sponsored by the Mayor's Committee to Promote Washington.
Pennypacker, a native of Atlantic City, N.J. said last week that her featured role in the commercial has changed her life very little. She did receive numerous calls, especially from her "little friends," including one child who phoned at 7 a.m. saying "Mrs. Penny, I saw you on TV." Pennypacker said she has no plans for other commercials but will continue to "take care of a few children, and lead a happy life."
After a seven-year courtship, Willie Mae Brown, 52 and Luther Earl Bullock, 49, were married last July in a fairy tale wedding complete with 14 bridesmaids, 14 groomsmen, two ringbearers and two flower girls, among other attendants. The newlyweds, who have a combined total of 11 children, then moved into a yellow-shingled bungalow in Mt. Rainier.
Settled into contented domesticity, and with all but one of the children, Mrs. Bullock's youngest, living in their own apartments, the happy couple counted some gains, some losses for 1982. Mrs. Bullock said she lost her welfare benefits when District officials challenged their lottery winnings, telling her she "wasn't supposed to have no wedding like that." Nevertheless, she said the flamboyant wedding is still being discussed and it got her an appearance on a local radio talk show, as well as, most thrillingly, a mention in Jet Magazine.
Gary Hortch and Doug Atwell, known as Hayden's Raiders in the neighborhood of Hayden's Liquor Store on North Carolina Ave SE where they are employes, gained minor celebrity status by apprehending purse snatchers and muggers as part of the area's Crime Watch. Hortch said the neighborhood as gained a sense of community and shown more concern about crime. In a recent purse snatching attempt, cars were stopped in the street, horns honked and a group of passersby chased the culprit down the street.
Louis Rothschild Mehlinger, the oldest living graduate of Howard University Law School, and a founder of the Washington Bar Association and the Robert H. Terrell, Law School celebrated his 100th birthday December 20. Mehlinger, whose friends included Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, Carter G. Woodson, Charles Drew and Mary Church Terrell, said he plans to retire from his law practice next year.
The other side of D.C. Superior Court Judge Eugene "Mean Gene" Hamilton, known for handing out stiff sentences, was made public: over the years he and his wife, Virginia, have cared for 25 foster children while raising seven of their own.
Last week, Hamilton, who suffered a heart attack shortly after Thanksgiving, was recuperating from pulmonary bypass surgery at the Washington Hospital Center. He is expected to be home early in the new year.
Ballou High School salutatorian Lisa Howard became the first graduate of that school's special math and science track to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Howard chose MIT, where she planned to study aeronautical engineering, because of the attractive financial aid package it offered her, although she was also accepted by Harvard.
Uncertainty over where she would get the additional $3,000 to $4,000 needed to become the first member of her family to attend college was solved by a scholarship from the Tuskegee Airmen's Association and private local donations.
Home for Christmas, Howard says her courses are challenging, but, thanks to the intensive preparation she received at Ballou, she expects passing grades for the semester. CAPTION: Picture 1, Luther and Willie Mae Bullock relax with her son Norman at the home they've shared since they were married last summer in a fairy-tale wedding, By RKK REINHARD for The Washington Post; Picture 2, Louis Mehlinger, the oldest living graduate of Howard University Law School, commemorated his 100th birthday earlier this month. His grand-niece Marcia Ricks, his wife Gladys and his 90-year-old sister Mayme Mehlinger, right, joined in the celebration nd reacted with delight to the gift of a crisp $100 bill from the Crestwood Tenants Association; Picture 3, Gary Hortch, and Doug Atwell became minor celebrities in the Southeast neighborhood where they work, after they thwarted several crimes. Photos by FRED SWEETS -- The Washington Post