Complaints of kids gone wild detailed in a letter from club honcho J. Gordon Vap: “two pre-teen girls unloading the contents of a whipping cream dispenser along the salad bar; an eight year-old standing on the armrests of two chairs while her father [emphasis his] stabilized the chairs; two young boys breaking a sconce in the upper hallway with a football; goldfish crackers and crayons stuffed down our new heating vents.”
Vap reminded the parents of the ill-mannered tykes of the club’s bylaws that hold them responsible for all of their family members, and cautioned them that they could face sanctions — including getting kicked out of the club — if the rules are broken.
That’s no small threat, since membership in the 123-year old institution is a prized mark of social distinction. President William H. Taft and his wife were members, as are former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and veteran journalist Bob Schieffer. The New York Post’s Page Six reported in 2008 that even then-Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) had been trying for years to become a full-fledged member, a pricey privilege that can cost somewhere in the $80,000 range for initiation fees, with annual dues of $6,000.
Calls to club management were not immediately returned.
The letter underscores a tension simmering among members, some of whom complain that parents have taken to simply abandoning their children, who are left to run wild at the typically genteel environs. “People drop their kids off at the club — it’s like unsupervised day care,” says one longtime member, who is a parent himself. “It’s insane. It’s a bunch of bratty kids running around in golf and tennis attire.”
But the message from club brass underscores that it’s not just the kiddos who are at fault. Permissive and absentee parents are the problem, too, it hints. “Going forward into summer, all members are asked to follow our Club rules,” Vap writes. “Review them as a family. Stick them up on the refrigerator.”
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