I dearly love to puncture cliches about our home town. One of the most enduring is the "fact" that Capitol Hill staffers don't care about local life or local institutions.

According to legend, "Hillies" do Massively Important Things each day without knowing or caring where Annandale is. These creatures are more up on -- and more into -- North Dakotan politics than the local variety, word has it. As for local charities, forget it.

That whoosh you just heard was the air escaping from all of the above truisms. The folks who administered the pinprick were the members of the Administrative Assistants Association of the House of Representatives.

If you've been looking for a more undersung, underappreciated bunch, you can call off the search. These are the folks who do most of the work and get too little of the credit. Without them, the House would probably cease to function. At the very least, it would cease to function anywhere near on time or anywhere near sanity.

And without the AA Association, our 1990-'91 holiday-season fund-raising drive on behalf of Children's Hospital would be $1,452 poorer.

That's the total that the association discovered in the hat after it was passed to every member in late November and early December. The checks were presented to me at a luncheon last Friday. We haven't gotten larger gifts from too many groups this year. We have never gotten a larger gift from Hillies.

To the AAs, my great thanks for such great generosity. It's very gratifying to know that the web of good work that Children's Hospital has woven over the years is visible from Cannon, Rayburn and Longworth, too.

Today is the last working day of 1990 when all hands can be expected to be on deck. If you're the chief Children's collector in your office, or if you'd like to assume that title, please realize that more fellow-employee bucks are ripe on the vine today than you'll see for nearly two weeks. Many thanks in advance to all vine-pluckers (and fruit-providers).


Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.

Thanks to these recent group contributors:

Lucky Loafers Bowling League, Bowl America, Falls Church ($105).

Staff, Brandywine Elementary School, Brandywine ($20).

Central Information File Department, Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank, Laurel ($26.50 from the sale of diet soft drink cans, with a special salute to David Decker, who washed and crushed each one).

Accounting Department, Equitable Federal Savings Bank, Wheaton ($100).

Employees of The Michael P. Amann Companies, Alexandria ($500 on behalf of Michael P. Amann).

Lipnick Construction Co., Northwest Washington ($250).

Monday-Wednesday morning aerobics classes taught by Karen Wyzewski, Beth Tikva Congregation, Rockville ($105).

USDA/ERS/DSC Coffee Club ($150).

Staff, NVR Savings Bank, McLean ($133.30).

Personnel, U.S. Park Police Horsemounted Unit, based at H-1 stables on the Mall ($118).

Sosnik's Liquors, Northeast Washington ($200).

Wheaton Chowder and Marching Society ($125).

Herndon Reston & Tysons Corner Answering Service Inc. ($50).

Colonel Young Chapter 3, D.A.V.A. ($100).

Smith Renovations, Hanover, Md., ($50).

Fairfax County Public Library Technical Operations Division ($317).

Employees, Digital Voice Privacy Group, Frequency Management Group and PS/SOU Annex, Federal Bureau of Investigation ($50 from the coffee club).

O'Malley, Miles and Harrell, Upper Marlboro ($30 from Nancy Travers on behalf of Donna LaPlaca Sullivan, Dario J. Agnolutto and William J. Monks).

Kirby Quality Window Products, Inc., Annandale ($25).

Meat Department employees, Safeway store No. 1428, Alexandria ($100 in memory of Harry Potter, Lloyd Cornet and Norm Minnick).

Dining room busboy staff, Rosecroft Raceway ($50 in tips).

Fifth grade, Holy Redeemer School, Kensington ($55).

Staff, American Association for the Advancement of Science ($157 raised at a bake sale).

The Cheerios of Glenville Road, Silver Spring ($50).

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7757, Largo ($50).

Federal Home Loan Bank Board Tuesday Lunch Bunch ($150).

Division of Colors and Cosmetics, Food and Drug Administration ($169, this group's 11th consecutive donation).

The Metro Barber Stylists Inc., Southwest Washington ($200).

Association of American Foreign Service Women ($500 raised through the annual book fair).

Gate Technology Inc., McLean ($100).

Harry F. Duncan Foundation, Inc. ($1,000).

Carrie Thompson's fourth grade class, Haycock School, Falls Church ($45).

Organizing Committee, The Jocks Reunion ($600 raised at a November reunion of star D.C. athletes from the 1930s, '40s and '50s).

Lady Essences, Northwest Washington ($1,000).

United Order True Sisters, Inc., Potomac Chapter No. 51 ($25).

Lore Bergey's third grade class, Bren Mar Park Elementary School, Alexandria ($23).

The Woman's Club of Springfield, Inc. ($500).

Oakcrest Towers Funsters Senior Citizens Club ($115 collected at the Christmas party).

Wednesday Morning Glories, Kitchen Dropouts, Belcroft Ladies, Wednesday Knights of Columbus, Wednesday Kettering Mixed and Wednesday Classic Mixed Bowling Leagues, Crofton Bowling Center ($125 and a tip of the ten pins to Toots Hasson).

Air Force Retired Officers' Wives Bridge Club ($70).

Goodwill Communications, Springfield ($25).

Paul & Annetta Himmelfarb Foundation, Inc. ($5,000).