YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Social Vignettes From an Inauguration Vigil

January 22, 1985|ELIZABETH MEHREN and BETTY CUNIBERTI | Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Who was that Democrat I saw you with Sunday night? At Republican Sen. Pete Wilson's Super Bowl party, the tall, skinny guy standing at the rear of the long, slow-moving coat-check line looked oddly familiar.

No, said California's senior senator, Alan Cranston, the weekend of Republican bashes didn't made him feel especially sad about his own ill-fated run for the presidency. "I got quite a bit done, especially on the war issue," he said. Graciously, he said he came to cheer for the San Francisco 49ers and put partisan politics aside.

The crowd of 1,000 party guests, mostly Californians, did not join Cranston in both halves of that exercise. When Wilson introduced Cranston at half time, there was scattered but audible booing.

Jeers to Cheers The jeers turned to cheers when Wilson introduced the Beach Boys. With business interests picking up the $20,000 tab for the party, guests were surrounded by balloons in the 49ers' red and gold, and by every Bay Area creature comfort from California pitted prunes to copies of that morning's San Francisco Chronicle.

But maybe the best thing about the party, next to the 49ers' decisive victory, was the warmth inside the Hyatt Regency, contrasting with temperatures outside.

"I hope this makes you realize," Wilson told the crowd, "what a selfless act of patriotism it is to serve you back here."

Wilson's gathering was just one of many Super Bowl inaugural parties, others being hosted by Frank Sinatra, Vice President George Bush, General Electric, the black inaugural advisory committee, the Eagles (the GOP's megabuck donors) and the Jefferson Education Foundation, a conservative, youth-oriented group, to name just a few.

Blur of Parties For those willing to brave the cold, the long inaugural weekend became a blur of parties, a hazy collection of recollections, such as:

--Sixteen Californians crammed into a van wearing furs and yellow hats that read, "If lost, please return to Congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler." The Northridge Republican showed a group of Valley guests around, wearing a yellow hat that said, "I'm Bobbi." Maureen Reagan did her one better, renting a double-decker bus for her crew of guests.

--Miss National Teen-ager, Kimberley Norris, in her rhinestone tiara, at a youth brunch listening to Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tell the crowd, "Today we are engaged in a great civil war, an intellectual civil war," apparently refering to traditional versus modern values.

--About 4,000 people crammed into the Post Office Pavilion for a "Salute to Volunteer America": Paul Williams crooning, conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly mingling with the likes of football star Jim Brown, while 55 members of the Point Loma High School band contemplated how different Washington was from San Diego. "We're freaking out about the snow," said flutist Gailyn Throp, 16. "I've got on thermal underwear, wool socks, a wool uniform and a jacket, and I'm still cold."

--Karolyn Jensen, watching her son play drums with the Springville, Utah, High School Band on the snowy steps of the Sheraton-Carlton. "They're so cold," Jensen said, "their valves are freezing."

--Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, arriving at the presidential gala with 15 guests in black tie and ball gowns in a recreational vehicle labeled "Haigmobile" on the side.

--Animal rights groups picketing the gala, protesting the wearing of furs by Nancy Reagan and her friends. "She wouldn't want to make a coat out of her dog," one protester snapped.

--Chocolate-chili ice cream being scooped out by a staffer from Los Angeles' Hotel Bel-Air, for thousands of participants in the popular, three-day "Taste America" food fair, offering food from 50 top restaurants and 30 wineries from around the country.

--Jelly Belly portraits of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and, yes, Michael Jackson, at Washington's trendy Woodward & Lothrop department store.

--Rose Mary Woods, an assistant to then-President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate affair, mingling with Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and 400 others at a Decatur House reception hosted by Interior Secretary William P. Clark and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. At the same party, Jim Brady's wheelchair was adorned with a Reagan-Bush bumper sticker. "Show your colors!" he declared when someone complimented him on it.

--Hay-Adams Hotel concessionaire Fabian Wagner, telling customers he shines the President's and Mrs. Reagan's shoes, three bulging suitcases of them every two weeks. "I am the gentleman who shines his shoes," Wagner said proudly, flashing an autographed photo of the President in riding attire to anyone who would look. Reagan's riding boots looked like a wreck. "He wears them hard," Wagner said. "He really does."

--James Rosebush, Nancy Reagan's chief of staff, blushing during a rehearsal of the private swearing-in ceremony, after asking the Rev. Donn D. Moomaw how everyone will know when the benediction is over. "When they say, 'Amen,' " an aide whispered to Rosebush. "You haven't been to church, lately, have you, Jim?" the minister from the Bel-Air Presbyterian Church teased.

--Visitors snapping up the tacky inaugural souvenir du jour: A saucer-sized Reagan-Bush button that not only lights up but plays the National Anthem.

--U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick lecturing 450 women in politics on . . . women in politics.

Los Angeles Times Articles