When you raise funds to help a hospital year in and year out, you get used to having checks pressed into your hands. Also money orders. Also $10 bills.
But I will never get used to being a hospital.
Helen Buzzell of Northwest inadvertently leveled this grave charge last week. She was attempting to mail her annual Children's Hospital contribution to me. She thought she was addressing the envelope according to the directions that appear at the bottom of this column each day.
However, Helen's mind went one way and her hand went the other. The envelope read:
"MR. BOB LEVEY, THE WASHINGTON HOSPITAL, WASHINGTON, D.C., 20071."
The Zip Code should have been enough to overcome the error, for 20071 is the whole Washington Post and nothing but The Washington Post. But a human being evidently read the address, and figured that Helen meant to send her letter to me at the Washington Hospital Center. So that's where the letter went.
It didn't stay long. The hospital sent it back to Helen, who immediately realized her mistake, wrote out a new envelope and mailed the check to me. Proving once again that all's well that ends well.
There's just one thing that worries me.
The Hospital Center stamped the word "DISCHARGED" on the envelope.
I have never been a patient at the Washington Hospital Center.
Nor am I aware of any other Bob Leveys running around who spell it the same way I do.
Nor does the hospital have any record of any Bob Levys, Bob Leenys, Bob Loonies or Bob Levitations having been patients over the last couple of weeks.
Perhaps "DISCHARGED" is the way the WHC mailroom washes its hands of all "mystery mail." In any case, thanks to Helen for "discharging" her responsibility to sick kids -- even if her check took a more circuitous route than most.
Wow, you groups are great! Donations from all sorts of aggregations and congregations continue to fill the mailbox. Here are the latest arrivals:
Swanson Intermediate School Pep Squad, Arlington ($50 raised through a bake sale).
The Oakton High School Graduate Band Members ($305, with a congratulatory toot of the clarinet to Mike McNiff, Kevin McNiff and Paul Keiser).
China/Silver Department, Seven Corners Woodward & Lothrop ($126).
Bus drivers and aides, New Dominion School, Manassas ($25).
Government Services Division, C&P Telephone ($60).
John S. Connor Inc., Dulles Airport ($247).
Staffers at the Small Business Administration ($155 raised through a pie-throwing contest).
The staff, Marco's Cafe and Andy's Raw Bar ($100 in honor of the boss, Abbis Saddegh).
FERC, OGC, Hydroelectric Licensing ($22).
Employees of Calvert-Jones Co. Inc., Alexandria ($415 in honor of the company's principals, Stanley L. Calvert, Alton S. Peregoy, Richard J. Dillard and Eric L. McAllister).
The "fourth floor residents" of the Chesapeake Complex, C&P Telephone, Silver Spring ($805.41 from a month-long bake sale).
Preliminary Design Division, Naval Sea Systems Command ($151.45).
Employees in the Reprographics Department and other departments, Vitro Corp., Silver Spring ($255).
Roadducks, Springfield ($100).
Democracy Travel of Northwest ($35).
Civil Service Retirees' Luncheon Group ($50).
Montana Double Car Wash ($450).
Quarterdeck Pub, Rockville ($660).
The Freeway Phantom Organization Inc. ($23 in memory of the Freeway Phantom victims).
Office of Budget/Comptroller, General Services Administration ($508).
Employees of Remco Business Systems Inc., of Washington ($287, which marks this group's 26th annual donation -- terrific!).
Employees of Lee Bord and Sons, Bethesda ($50 in honor of Bob and Bernie Bord).
Office of Engineering and Highway Operations Research and Development, Federal Highway Administration ($55 left over after the Christmas party).
Chesapeake Senior Citizens, Chesapeake Beach, Md. ($60 raised at the Christmas party).
Kirkland & Ellis ($500).
Employees of Building 213, Washington Navy Yard (a wonderful $3,148 raised through a model train raffle and a bake sale).
Special Computer Center and friends, Central Intelligence Agency ($261).
Employees of the Commercial Contracts, Legal Services and Sales Finance Departments, British Aerospace Inc., Dulles Airport ($130).
Silver Spring Duplicate Bridge ($32 raised at a charity game).
Alexandria Mini-Makers ($50).
Kids of Columbus Club, Sterling ($15 raised by selling desserts).
RAILINC Corp. ($687 in lieu of exchanging Christmas cards, the 15th consecutive year that this gang has made a contribution).
The Capitol Area North National Accounts Tyson's Branch, AT&T ($205).
Employees of LTS Corp., Advanced Systems Division, Manassas ($460).
Members of the National Association for Professional Saleswomen ($338).
Members of the Project Speckled Trout unit, Detachment 1, 4950th Test Wing (AFSC), Andrews Air Force Base ($250 in lieu of exchanging Christmas cards).
The Sunday School, First Baptist Church Chesterbrook, McLean ($50).
Becky's Favorite Things, Oakton ($100).
Montage of Georgetown ($247.54 from "Amen Corner").
Members and friends, Defense Communications Agency Joint Data Systems Support Center, C400 (a delicious $6,270, with special thanks to this bunch for its 11th annual contribution).
McKinley High School Tiger cheerleaders and coaches, Honolulu ($10).
Hogettes International ($232, and a full-snouted kiss to Boss Hogette Mikey T.).
The waiters at A.V. Ristorante ($25.20).
Springbrook High School faculty, Silver Spring ($492).
The staff, Mrs. K's Toll House, Silver Spring ($388 instead of buying gifts for the bosses, Richard and Paula Kreuzburg).
Cavalier Moving & Storage Inc., Fairfax and Herndon ($276 from the raffle of a painting).
Employees and associates of Holman and Stern ($205).
Naval Intelligence Command, CCPO, Suitland Branch Office ($85).
The Thursday Bridge Club ($15).
Measuring, Testing and Lamp/Discharge Group 260, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ($175).
AT&T Communications Information Management, Herndon ($700).
Administration Organization, National Security Agency, Fort Meade ($150).
American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 177, Fairfax ($50).
Wednesday Officers' Wives Bowling League ($106).
First class! Thank you very much. TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.
THE CAMPAIGN ENDS ON JAN. 22.