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Bush Backers Caught Up in Inaugural Whirl

January 20, 1989|MARK LANDSBAUM | Times Staff Writer

Newport Beach psychiatrist Bob Amstadter ranks the inaugural activities "among the healthiest priorities" for himself and his family, according to his wife, Barbara, who is president of a real estate sales firm.

"My husband is a psychiatrist," she explained. "My husband is also a rabid Republican. "I'm so excited I can't tell you. It's just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

She added: "I have an 8-year-old son who thinks he is going to meet George Bush. He's told every kid at school he is going to shake George Bush's hand. I hope he is not disappointed."

Wieder, who no doubt has shaken the hand of George Bush, was a bit disappointed at the first inauguration she attended.

"Of course, we were starry-eyed and bushy-tailed," she recalled. "We had our ball tickets stolen out of our envelope. When we picked them up, it was an empty envelope."

Attending her third inauguration this year, Wieder said she has since learned "how to fight for our tickets."

This time, "everything is in hand," she said.

"What is so exciting is that this is turning out to be a bigger turnout than the previous Reagan inaugurations," she said. "Seeing the curtain rise on another Administration gives you a feel for the direction in which this country could be going."

It gives Don Hallman a patriotic chill.

"Just going back there is kind of a patriotic thing," said the 26-year-old field representative for Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove). "It's a 200-year-old tradition. I think it's something I am going to remember for a long time."

For Everett Kaplan, the arrival of this momentous event meant aging overnight.

On Tuesday Kaplan was 15 years old. After one high-speed day of formal functions in Washington, he awoke Wednesday morning 16 years old. OK, so it was his birthday.

Still, he was on a rigorous schedule. By midday Wednesday, Kaplan, a Newport Harbor High School junior, had attended a breakfast meeting and an orientation, visited the House of Representatives, listened to a speech by Congress' youngest member, had lunch at the Air and Space Museum, visited a Japanese exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution and was preparing to attend a black-tie affair at the Kennedy Center for the Arts. And the inauguration was still 2 days away.

Kaplan is one of about 500 high school students from around the nation in Washington as part of the 1989 Youth Inaugural Conference sponsored by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council.

Even with all the pomp and circumstance, for Kaplan "the most interesting thing . . . is I met a girl from Germany in the Air and Space Museum. We got to talking about high school and the differences between her and me.

"I'm hoping in the summer to spend some time abroad."

But for most, the pomp and circumstance holds center stage. Has all this hoopla grown out of proportion?

"I think it's quite appropriate," said 17-year-old Juan Carlos Zarate, student body president of Santa Ana's Mater Dei High School.

"The sense of history you get . . . engenders in me, at least, a real pride in America."

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