#1 Washington, D.C. April 15 - April 17,1982

Thursday, April 15: The Class of 1950 started a pattern of mini-reunions when 39 classmates met in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., for its first "off-campus" gathering. The host was Ted Friend, who was ably assisted by class President Bob Smith. On this Thursday after Easter, the opening reception was held in President Smith's suite at the Washington Hilton and did due justice to the trunkful of good provisions which he had driven down from Philadelphia. This event instigated what was to become, as classmate Hank Rentschler wrote in his presidential message in the 50th Reunion directory 18 years and 15 mini-reunions later, "Without exception these have been widely enjoyed, and the programs copied by many other classes. W e have all remarked that the mini-reunions are a great time to renew and enlarge our dear friendships."

Friday, April 16: Attendees set off on their own to choose from among the many sights in the city. Washington, D.C., envisioned by French artist- architect Pierre-Charles L'Enfant, features broad boulevards and open expanses. Most did visit a number of the Smithsonian Institution's 14 museums and galleries, including the National Air and Space Museum which opened in 1976, covering the exhilarating story of flight; National Museum of American History where millions of items "in the nation's attic" are geared to telling the story of the American experience; the Freer Gallery of Art with its foremost collection of Oriental art (James Whistler's Peacock Room is a spectacular highlight); and the National Gallery of Art, constructed of pink Tennessee marble, which is one of the great art institutions of the world. After dining separately in various nearby restaurants, the attendees gathered at the National Theater, the city's oldest continuously operating theater, where they enjoyed a performance of William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. This two-act comic opera began successfully touring the United States in the spring of 1880.

Saturday, April 17: Again everyone chose their own sightseeing from the wide selection available, including the noble marble-and-masonry Capitol which is the centerpiece of the city; the White House, official residence of President Ronald Reagan, the country's 40th chief executive; the Washington Monument, dedicated in 1885, with its aluminum top bearing the phrase "Laus Deo"; the classic Lincoln Memorial, dedicated in 1922, with its 36 marble columns; the Library of Congress, repository of man's imperishable gifts to posterity (classmate James Billington is Librarian of Congress); the National Zoological Park established by Congress in 1889, its major attraction being the famous giant pandas from China; Georgetown with its trendy shops and restaurants; and Dupont Circle, the city's favorite neighborhood for evening entertainment. During the evening's dinner-dance in the Hilton's spacious ballroom, Julian Buxton rose to his feet and announced that he and Anne would host the second mini-reunion in Charleston, again the Thursday after Easter, thus assuring that minis would become a continuing tradition rather than a one-shot event.

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